Tim Duncan coming back for Spurs in 2014-15
Tim Duncan has resisted the temptation to retire on a title-winning high and at age 38 has signed on for another season with the San Antonio Spurs.
Duncan has decided to exercise the option on his contract for 2014-15 and will return next season, the team announced Monday. Since he was drafted No. 1 overall in 1997, Duncan leads all NBA players in wins and has won five titles, two MVP awards and three NBA Finals MVPs.
Duncan will make about $10.3 million next season in the final year of a two-year agreement that was drawn up specifically to allow the Spurs the financial flexibility to surround Duncan with top-shelf talent.
“He feels a responsibility to his teammates,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after the team won the championship. “He enjoys them. He wants to hang around as long as he can while he’s useful and while he’s having an impact on the game. He takes care of his body. He works out all summer long with a variety of different things, boxing, swimming. He’s very careful about what he puts in his body, so he does everything he can to maintain a level of play.”
Duncan’s return gives continuity to a team that next season will aim to win back-to-back titles for the first time.
He will return along with longtime teammates Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili plus Popovich, and with some rising stars reaching full NBA maturity in Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills.
“With the front office putting the teams together that we’ve had and us playing smaller roles and our roles changing over the years, and us happy to accept the roles that we’re in, I feel we can do it until we feel we don’t want to do it anymore,” Duncan said two weeks ago.
This season, Duncan averaged 15.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in just 29.2 minutes per game, playing in a system expertly devised by Popovich to limit the wear and tear on his body. He shot almost 57 percent in the finals and dismantled Miami star Chris Bosh, who grew up with a Duncan poster on his bedroom wall.
“We’ve been on our last run for the last five or six years from how everyone wants to put it,” Duncan said. “We show up every year, and we try to put together the best teams and the best runs possible because what people say doesn’t matter to us.
“As I said, as long as we feel we’re being effective, we’re going to stay out here and we’re going to play. We feel like we can be effective, and we have been.”
Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski