SAN ANTONIO (NBA/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Another summer with Argentina is officially in the books for Manu Ginobili.
The veteran guard has turned his attention back to the San Antonio Spurs.
Ginobili, 35, has played for the club since the 2002-03 campaign.
He launched his NBA career shortly after helping his national team reach the Final of the 2002 FIBA World Championship in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The bad taste from last year’s play-off exit in a 4-2 defeat to Oklahoma City in the Western Conference Finals is on everyone’s mind in San Antonio.
But Ginobili says for him, it is not a constant source of angst.
“We played a great season last year, a great run, winning 20 games in a row, took a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals, and we played a team that made more shots than us, they beat us and that's how life is,” he said.
“Sometimes you are going to win, sometimes you are not.
“Now, we have the same group, plus Nando (De Colo) and we'll see how it goes.
“We're all excited and ready to go for a full 82-game season.”
It’s important to live in the present and not the past.
“We know we let a huge opportunity get away, but now, in my head, I have to start building a new opportunity like that,” he said.
Happy in San Antonio
If Ginobili has his way, San Antonio is where he’ll play for the rest of the his career.
He is in the last year of his contract with the club.
If there is a general perception that players are under pressure to have big seasons when they are in the final year of a deal in order to receive a lucrative extension, Ginobili doesn’t think like that.
“Money is not my focus,” he said.
“If I am going to play next year, it's highly likely it will be here so I don't care.
“I don't even think (about) it's my last year of a contract.
“There is a 95% I will be here.”
Still in good shape
Ginobili has not arrived at the Spurs training camp tired and haggard after a busy summer with Argentina.
He had to put everything he had into helping his national team reach the Semi-Finals of the Olympics in London, yet he feels relaxed and ready to go with San Antonio.
“This year has been great in that regard,” he said.
“The Olympics were a little earlier.
“It helped me, not losing shape in training camp (from the 2011-12 NBA season) with Argentina and it helped me a month and a half (off) afterwards.
“So, best of both worlds. I'm good, healthy and excited to be back. I think I'm fine.”
Staying in shape all year round is essential for Ginobili.
It’s why after the Olympics, which ended in August, he did not shut everything down.
“I practiced two or three times a week with a couple of teams in my city (Bahia Blanca),” he said.
“If I do nothing for a month and a half at 35, it's not good.
“I just tried to be in a little bit of shape, not to lose everything because I felt really, really good at the Olympics.
“A few years ago, if I didn't do anything for a month or two months, I didn't care. I could pick it up in a week.
“(But now) My body starts to get weak, my joints, so I have to keep active and doing stuff so it's not hard to feel good in training camp.”
Ginobili hasn’t decided yet if he will play for Argentina next summer at the FIBA Americas Championship, or at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
His focus is on having another strong run with the Spurs, a team he has won three NBA titles with.
“(It’s) Exciting as always,” he said.