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Pop's plans for Ginobili: 'Use him like a bar of soap until there's nothing left'

SAN ANTONIO -- At age 39, Manu Ginobili knows his NBA career is winding down.

But if San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich gets his way, Ginobili will play with the Spurs well into his 40s.

Ginobili has said that his decision to retire will be easier to make when Popovich finally tells the guard his services are no longer needed.

Good luck with that.

“I don’t want him to ever retire,” Popovich joked. “I want to squeeze every last ounce of juice I can. I’m going to use him like a bar of soap until there’s nothing left for his family or anybody else in the world ... just done. I’m going to squeeze it until then.”

In his 15th season, Ginobili is averaging the fewest minutes per game (18.8) of his career, while producing 7.7 points, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game, in addition to shooting 38.1 percent from 3-point range.

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, a former teammate of Ginobili’s, expects the Spurs veteran to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer once he finally decides to call it quits.

“He’s one of the most unique players ever to play the game; one of the great teammates that I had. I know that,” Kerr said. “And he’s still playing at a high level at his age because of his intelligence and his feel, his knowledge of the game. He’s a beautiful player to watch.”