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The Sixers Were Apparently a Lot Closer to Signing Manu Ginobili than We Thought

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Manu turned own a 2-year deal in the summer of 2016, but how close was he to accepting it?

NBA: Boston Celtics at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Back in the summer of 2016, the Sixers had reportedly offered Manu Ginobili a two-year, $30 million deal to leave San Antonio for the first time. Manu said no, but the Spurs were forced to hand out a little extra cash to keep Manu, and that was that.

Today, Brett Brown’s newest appearance on Adrian Wojnarowski’s The Woj Pod went live, and it turns out the Sixers were a lot closer on Manu than we thought. Brown told Woj that he felt like he had a little “lipstick on his collar,” going after Manu and trying to steal him away from his old boss, Gregg Popovich.

“It was awful,” Brown told Woj. “The amount of respect I have for [Manu] is immense.” He went on to say that he knew Manu could help produce the culture he wanted in Philadelphia, and the whole situation led to some friction with the Spurs’ R.C. Buford, who Brown described as one of his best friends. “To this day, I don’t feel entirely, 100% comfortable about what happened,” Brown continued, “[but] yesterday I texted Manu and Pop and said ‘I knew he was worth the money we were offering after I see him break the Celtics’ back.’”

So that’s a nice story for Pop and Brett to tell, but how close was Manu to actually wearing the drop shadow?

Woj: There was a night, maybe more than one night, where you went to be thinking, “we’re getting him.”

Brett: No doubt, you know? And because it was sorta confirmed.

It made a ton of sense at the time that Manu would turn down the Sixers’ deal - while maybe using it to leverage more money from the Spurs - and retire in San Antonio, where he started his career. But maybe Manu in Philly was a lot closer to happening than any of us thought.

You can hear Brett on Woj’s pod below: