Tim Duncan has decided to opt-in to the final year of his contract, earning himself over $10 million and the love of basketball fans in San Antonio. There had been a worry that Duncan would decide to ride off into the sunset after winning his fifth NBA championship, but he’s still playing at a very high level and decided to return for his 18th NBA season.
Duncan has proven to still be one of the best power forwards in the NBA, and his game is so well-rounded that it only makes sense that he’s still this good at the age of 38. His passing is second-to-none for a big man, and he knows Gregg Popovich’s offense so well he’d be impossible to replace. Duncan’s retirement could have been the first of a few dominoes falling in San Antonio. Popovich has previously commented that he would also hang it up once Timmy retired, and Manu Ginobili can’t be far behind. The talented Argentinian will be 37 in a month. The problem for all three of them is that they’re all still good at what they do. Duncan has five titles and a solid team around him, why not go for #6? Same thing for Popovich, he’ll still have one of the best point guards in the NBA in Tony Parker, as well as a bright young star in Kawhi Leonard. Ginobili does just fine as the sixth man, even though he can be very streaky. With the possible implosion of the Miami Heat since LeBron James decided to opt-out of the rest of his contract, who is there to challenge the Spurs?
The city of San Antonio is definitely glad to ride out this dynasty a little bit longer. The Spurs are the only major professional sports team in the city, and they’ve only gotten more popular over the years. In contrast from when there were still tickets available from the box office the same day as tipoff of playoff games in the early 2000s, the average ticket price for Game 1 of the Finals was $402. San Antonio loves their Spurs, and these days that means Tim Duncan.
It might not be easy to move on once Duncan, Popovich, Ginobili and Parker hang it up, but it looks like that could still be a year or two away — and maybe another championship or two away.