Tim Duncan, the San Antonio Spurs stalwart, could return for another season despite rampant speculation that the legendary center could call time on his career.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, Duncan has informed the Spurs of his decision to exercise the 5.6M option for the 2016-17 season. But that is still not a guarantee that the two-time MVP would return for his 20th season.
Tim Duncan could play his final season…
Wojnarowski reiterated that there is no guarantee if Duncan would return for a 20th season. “Duncan, 40, is still seriously contemplating his desire to continue playing, as well as judging how his body feels, league sources said. The Spurs are allowing Duncan to make a decision on his own timetable, but there’s no question that this offseason is the most seriously he’s considered retirement,” read the Yahoo report published on Tuesday.
Last month, Spurs general manger R.C. Buford reiterated that Duncan and Manu Ginobili were free to make their own decisions as San Antonio prepare for a busy offseason which includes the pursuit of Kevin Durant starting Friday. “We’ve been building scenario planning, not just for this season but for every season,” Buford said after Spurs lost the western conference semifinals to Oklahoma City Thunder.
“You have a variety of scenarios you hope you can execute on that are sequenced and need things to happen along the way. We’ll be ready to answer the questions that are posed to us to hopefully find pieces within our abilities within collective bargaining that will help us build a competitive team,” added Buford.
Tim Duncan averaged a career-low tally of 8.6 points and 7.3 rebounds from 61 regular season games last season. During the playoffs, Duncan became an afterthought with LaMarcus Aldridge playing a lot of minutes at center. Duncan is still an efficient rim protector but his overall production has significantly waned in the last few seasons.
Last year, Kobe Bryant became the first player in history to spend 20 seasons with the same franchise. Tim Duncan could achieve the same feat if he decided to return.