Tim Duncan isn’t an ageless wonder, it’s just that his age doesn’t seem to show. Facing the best front line in the NBA this season — Memphis’ Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph — he was at the heart of the Spurs’ sweep of the Grizzlies.
We’ve marveled over the years as players such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant adapted their games as they aged — as their explosivness went away they improved their footwork, developed post games, figured out how to get to their spots on the floor, became better passers and basically made up for what they lost physically with their mind.
Duncan’s game was never about explosiveness and power, it was always about fundamentals and execution. He’s not as athletic now as he was in 1999 when he won his first ring, but his game doesn’t seem to have aged because it didn’t have to. Which makes it seems like he never aged.
Because of that, because of the sustained excellence, you get the feeling he will always be short-shrifted in legacy talk. He’s not flashy. Which is too bad, because his all-around game is something special to behold.
Fisher has done plenty since retiring as a player — getting hired by the Knicks, getting fired by the Knicks and in between being attacked by Matt Barnes and finding another controversy about player relations.
All the while, Fisher counted against the cap for the Thunder, his last NBA team.
Oklahoma City finally renounced him to sign Alex Abrines.
Albert Nahmad of Heat Hoops:
To create the cap space to sign Alex Abrines, Thunder renounced its Early Bird rights to former player and head coach Derek Fisher.
These are becoming fewer and further between, because teams are using cap room more frequently as the salary cap skyrockets. Gone are the days of a team operating above the cap for a dozen straight years.
There’s also even less utility in old cap holds now that a player must have played the prior season for a team to be used in a sign-and-trade. (Not that these holds were useful except the rarest of occasions prior, anyway.)
Fisher’s quick transition from playing to coaching helped make this an exception, allowing this weird (and trivial) transaction.
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