Manu Ginobili got himself a three year, $39 million extension with the Spurs yesterday. Thus ends and interesting drama. Ginobili was heading towards free agency, and was understandably upset that the team wouldn’t have extended him sooner – he was looking for a deal last summer. The Spurs were nervous about the ankle injuries that had limited the Argentinian in the playoffs the last two years and were playing hardball. I can’t imagine that he would have been happy going into the playoffs without a deal, and he has been playing so well recently that he is definitely needed if they stand any hope of a playoff run. Ginobili is 32 so he would have been very attractive on the open market – especially as a consolation prize for the teams that have cleared space but don’t land one of the big prizes.
It’s funny – Jimmy Clausen had his pro day yesterday, and thanks to Donovan McNabb no one really seems to care. First, Sam Bradford was so good at his pro day that the debate between he and Clausen for the Rams seems meaningless now. Next, with Washington having solved their problems at pivot (or so they think, at least) Clausen’s likely landing spot disappeared. Now Clausen has had a pretty nice pro day – even though he couldn’t run after his foot surgery in January – but he’s in a freefall through no fault of his own. It’s funny how things can work out – McNabb’s move probably cost Clausen millions as he could fall from fifth all the way to the bottom of the first round, and maybe further. Crazy. This may not have been the case if Clausen had been other-worldly at his pro day, but since he was only pretty good then anything can happen.
At the press conference announcing his 12 year extension yesterday Butler coach Brad Stevens dropped a juicy nugget – that the powers that be are working on a regular season Duke-Butler rematch next year. It won’t be quite the same because key players on both sides are likely to be gone, but it’s still a great prospect, and both teams deserve credit for the scheduling when they could easily hide from that level of competition. No matter who is playing that will be a fun one to watch.
The last of the major Kentucky Derby prep races go off today, so by tomorrow we’ll have a better sense of what the Derby field will look like on May 2. The two big races today don’t have particularly impressive fields since the stars have mostly already finished prepping. There are a couple of very nice horses going, though. In the Blue Grass the horse to watch is Interactif. He’s a wildly talented horse, but he has developed the bad habit of finishing second. He needs to show that he has a killer instinct, and this is a good spot for him to do so. If he’s not up to it the Odysseus is the one to watch. The Arkansas Derby doesn’t have nearly the strong field it typically has had in recent years. There is only one horse that stands out – Noble’s Promise. He was a strong second to Sidney’s Candy in the San Felipe, and that horse went on to dominate the Santa Anita Derby.