After 19 seasons with five NBA championship titles, three NBA Finals MVP, and two NBA MVP titles to his name rumors are swirling that Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs is set for retirement this summer.
The 40-year old out of Wake Forest is reported to be contemplating on retiring due to health and family reasons, despite his awesome performance this season that had the Spurs back in the playoffs and eventually losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder in their first-round of the offseason. Duncan has until June 29 to weigh things as he still has a $5.64 million contract extension that he can exercise to get back on the Spurs roster.
Duncan’s former college coach, Dave Odom, stated that he has been in contact with his former player since the Spurs ended their campaign this season and he noted that although they have been in close contact with each other he does not have any clue of Duncan’s decision of whether to exercise his option or start the paper works for his impending Hall of Fame nomination.
“I know when he’s ready he will make the right decision. Because he will have thought it out like Tim Duncan does. He knows more about what he’s going to do than he lets people know. But he will not be hurried,” Odom said.
Among the factors that are seen to contribute to Duncan’s retirement is his longing to stay at home and be with his family, especially with his youngest son and daughter; and there are the health issues stringing from his knee injuries, which could also go with his age.
Duncan tore cartilage in his left knee on April 11, 2000, as he fell awkwardly after a dunk attempt. He missed the final four games of the Spurs’ regular season because of the injury then missed all of San Antonio’s playoff games. The injury has since then been recurring and has oftentimes been a consideration for coach Gregg Popovich to rest him in the early goings of a season and heading towards the offseason, which often time earns a negative reaction from fans and critics.
However, Duncan’s closest friends think that he still has more playing years in him. Former Spurs guard Antonio Daniels, who played with Duncan from 1998 to 2002 and remains one of his closest friends, stated that Duncan has always depended on what his body tells him, but to think that he would retire this summer sounds odd for him.
“Tim has always said it depends on how his body feels. Your mind will tell you one thing, but your body will tell you different. It’s weird for me to even think about that possibility [retirement],” Daniels explained.
Even Hall of Famer David Robinson would still want to see Duncan play more years and noted that his presence inside the paint is still a threat to any team.
If Duncan really opts retirement this season, the Spurs will have to look deep into its roster if they could withstand another run next season. Rumors are swelling states that if Duncan chooses to retire, he will be an active recruiter to land Thunder star Kevin Durant to their roster.
Though it would be strong possibility that Durant will re-sign with the Thunder and go for another title run next season, but the fact of having a Durant-Kawhi Leonard- LaMarcus Aldridge trio could also play in the sideline, not to mention Spurs playmaker Tony Parker and the rest of the solid Spurs roster. This might have Durant think of a possibility of a more achievable goal of winning a championship ring after all.
But first things first, the question remains is what is going through the mind of Duncan now having that player option in his contract that could also spell retirement.
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