Manu Ginobili had a simple message for his teammates during an emotional team meeting Tuesday.
Let’s do this again.
With six potential free agents headed by Tim Duncan, the message was made clear: The San Antonio Spurs would like everyone back for a run at a sixth NBA championship.
“I’m pretty sure most of the team is going to come back,” Ginobili said.
San Antonio met as a group for the first time since beating Miami 104-87 on Sunday night to close out the NBA Finals in five games. Coach Gregg Popovich used the meeting to take one last playful dig at his players.
“He did show us a couple of clips that we sucked at” in Game 5, guard Patty Mills said, laughing.
All the same, free agency, which begins July 1 could alter the team’s close-knit roster.
“Manu spoke to us,” Spurs guard Danny Green said. “He was really emotional, he’s proud of us. In a short amount of words, [he said] ‘Obviously I had fun, I don’t know if you guys did, but I had a good time. You guys want to do it again?’ ”
Duncan has a player option, but his teammates expect him back and the 38-year-old forward did not give any indications otherwise throughout another resurgent season.
“It will come to an end, but I don’t think next year,” guard Tony Parker said of the team’s run under the Big Three. “I think everybody’s going to come back.”
The future for Mills, Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner and Aron Baynes is less certain. Mills, Diaw and Bonner are unrestricted free agents.
“I haven’t sat down with R.C. [Buford, Spurs general manager] and talked about what we want to do, but one would think it’s logical to not make major changes with the group,” Popovich said. “Usually we don’t make major changes anyway, so, I wouldn’t anticipate any.”
The Spurs made minor changes following their previous title in 2007.
Those under contract include Ginobili, Green, Tiago Splitter, Marco Belinelli and finals most valuable player Kawhi Leonard, who turns 23 on June 29.
Texans name Fitzpatrick starting quarterback
New Houston Texans Coach Bill O’Brien named Ryan Fitzpatrick the starter at quarterback, an announcement overshadowed somewhat by receiver Andre Johnson’s absence Tuesday on the first day of a mandatory three-day mini-camp.
Johnson hasn’t participated in any of the team’s voluntary off-season workouts and said last month that he wouldn’t attend these workouts either.
Fitzpatrick signed with the team in the off-season a day before Matt Schaub was traded to the Raiders and O’Brien made him compete with the three other quarterbacks on the roster for the starting job.
“He definitely earned it,” O’Brien said. “He earned it with his preparation. He earned it with his accuracy. He earned it with his command at the line of scrimmage.”
A former starter for the Buffalo Bills, the nine-year veteran started nine games last season for Tennessee after Jake Locker was injured. Fitzpatrick threw for 2,454 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.
The start of the San Francisco 49ers’ three-day mandatory minicamp was overshadowed more by the players who were absent than the ones in attendance.
Two-time Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis and right guard Alex Boone skipped the first day of San Francisco’s minicamp in Santa Clara, Calif. Both starters are seeking raises despite two years left on their contracts.
Coach Jim Harbaugh also said cornerback Eric Wright was not with the team because he’s contemplating retirement.
Pro Bowl pass rusher Justin Houston was a no-show on the first day of the Kansas City Chiefs’ mandatory three-day minicamp.
Houston, who is entering the final year of his contract, also skipped three weeks of voluntary workouts. He is due to make about $1.4 million this season.
Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback Kyle Orton was a no-show for the first mandatory off-season practice.
Orton missed all the voluntary workouts amid reports that he is contemplating retirement. Dallas Coach Jason Garrett has said he expected Orton to show up Tuesday.
The 31-year-old Orton has one year remaining on his contract. He can be fined about $70,000 for missing the minicamp.
Brandon Weeden, a first-round pick by Cleveland in 2012, is the No. 2 quarterback in Orton’s absence.
The Oakland Raiders and the Cowboys will participate in two joint training camp practices this summer.
The Raiders said they will practice with Dallas at the Cowboys training camp base in Oxnard on Aug. 12 and 13.
The Raiders used to hold training camp in Oxnard before moving it to Napa, Calif., in 1996.