West, Ginobili team up to help Spurs reload
David West desperately wants his first NBA championship. Manu Ginobili couldn't resist going for his fifth.
Both proud veterans likely will have to take some pretty big pay cuts to do it. They hope joining together in San Antonio with a Spurs team that has been uncharacteristically busy and aggressive on the free agent market will make it all worthwhile.
West chose to leave some $11 million on the table to join the Spurs, while Ginobili shrugged off an injury-plagued season for one more run in San Antonio.
West agreed to terms on a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum of $1.4 million, a person with knowledge of the agreement told The Associated Press on Monday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.
In choosing to align with the Spurs in the powerful Western Conference, West left a $12 million payday he was due from the Indiana Pacers, and several opportunities to make millions more from other interested suitors on the open market.
Ginobili was considering retiring after injuries contributed to him playing in just 70 games last season.
But after the Spurs won the bidding for star free agent LaMarcus Aldridge and also locked up Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green with lucrative deals, Ginobili decided to return to the only NBA team for which he has played.
''Happy to announce that I'm coming back next season,'' Ginobili announced on Twitter, adding the hashtag ''gospursgo.''
Franchise centerpiece Tim Duncan announced his decision to come back for a 19th season last week, giving the Spurs a powerful mix of veteran experience with Duncan, West, Ginobili and Tony Parker combining with in-their-prime starters Aldridge, Leonard and Green.
Ginobili also joked on Twitter with a hashtag ''TDwouldvemissedmetoomuch.''
Ginobili averaged just 10.5 points per game last season, his lowest since he was a rookie. He made $7 million last season, but likely will have to take far less to play in 2015-16.
The Spurs agreed to terms with Aldridge on a four-year, $80 million deal, Leonard for five years and $90 million, and Green for four years and $45 million in a frenetic opening to free agency. But the unusual expenditures have forced the Spurs to say goodbye to some mainstays as well.
They traded Tiago Splitter to Atlanta to help create the cap space for Aldridge, and had to let valued backup point guard Cory Joseph and swingman Marco Belinelli leave in free agency for bigger deals than the Spurs could afford. The departures have created a need for more help on the bench, especially for a Gregg Popovich-coached team that likes to rest its veterans as much as possible during the regular season.
West averaged 11.7 points and 6.8 rebounds in his fourth season with the Pacers. He is among the most respected veterans in the league and will bring some toughness, defense and shot making to the Spurs bench. He was a two-time All-Star with the New Orleans Hornets before moving on to the Pacers.
West said last week he opted to become a free agent and leave all that money behind because he wanted to win a title. The Pacers were in the Eastern Conference finals in 2014, but disintegrated this season thanks in large part to an injury to star Paul George and the regression of center Roy Hibbert.
''Thanx Indy for giving me a chance...Thanx for the support over the last 4 years,'' West tweeted. ''Luv is Luv....''