Tim Duncan, arguably the greatest power forward in NBA history, will take a call on his future by this weekend, according to a reliable league source.
If Duncan returns next year, he will become only the second player after Kobe Bryant to represent the same team over a span of 20 seasons.
Tim Duncan to make his decision soon…
According to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, the San Antonio Spurs are waiting to hear from Duncan on his decision before finalizing on their roster for next season. The five-time champions have acquired Pau Gasol on a two-year $30 million deal to potentially replace Duncan in the starting unit.
The Spurs expect to hear from Tim Duncan regarding his potential retirement by this weekend. That may change, but that seems to be the plan.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 6, 2016
Earlier this week, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical dropped by a bombshell when he reported that Duncan was ‘leaning strongly’ toward calling time on his illustrious career. Wojnarowski reported that Duncan “has left team officials, close associates and friends with a strong belief he’s preparing to make an announcement in the near future on his departure.”
Duncan, 40, averaged a career-low 8.6 points and 7.3 rebounds last season from 61 games. His overall production saw a major dip after excellent seasons in 2013-14 and 2014-15 when Duncan still looked like an all-star center from nearly 30 minutes per game.
Major dip in production…
While Duncan is still an elite rim protector, his production on offense is a major concern for the Spurs, as was evident during their 4-2 defeat to Oklahoma City Thunder in the conference semifinals.
During the playoffs, Duncan averaged just 5.9 points and 4.8 rebounds from 21.8 minutes. On many occasions, coach Gregg Popovich preferring rolling with LaMarcus Aldridge at center and Boris Diaw at power forward. During the previous playoffs, Duncan averaged nearly 18 points and 11 rebounds during the hard-ought seven-game series against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Even though Gasol would prove to be an able replacement, the Spaniard turned 36 on Wednesday and is entering the last phase of his career. Needless to say, Tim Duncan is irreplaceable. With Kobe Bryant also gone, it would be surreal to start an NBA season without Duncan and the Black Mamba.