Report: Tim Duncan to opt in to final year of contract for $10 million

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UPDATE 4:04 pm: Didn’t take long for that rumor to die.

Tim Duncan is going to opt into the final year of his contract, for $10 million, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. The idea floated below that he might opt out to take less money may have been discussed but now has been blown out of the water. That he opted in isn’t really a surprise.

While we have talked about it for years next year may actually be the last year of these Spurs as we know them — Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green and Marco Belinelli all will be in the last years of their deals. Only Tiago Splitter and Kawhi Leonard — up for a contract extension — would be the key guys left on the roster.

Then again, these guys could all just do one year deals after that until they’re 50 and just keep on winning.

3:30 pm: I’m not even going to make a Kobe Bryant comparison right here…

Tim Duncan is set to make $10 million next season (the last year of a reduced contract he took with the Spurs) but that year is a player option. It is possible that he decides to retire on top and just walk away from the game. That is also unlikely. Nobody around the team thinks it and when Duncan was praising Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard after Game 5 ended that series, Duncan said he hoped to hang on with the youngster as long as he could.

But he might still opt out, not to leave but rather to re-sign for two more years — and at a rate that saves the Spurs money.

It could happen, tweets Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News.

https://twitter.com/Buck_SA/status/481104118497308673

That would be very Duncan, to opt out then re-sign for two years at $8 million per, giving the NBA champs even more flexibility this summer to try and re-sign Boris Diaw and make other roster tweaks. The Spurs are essentially bringing back the same roster next season but now they could add to it.

What is interesting about two years is that both Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili’s deals are up after next season (as are the contracts for Danny Green and Marco Belinelli). The Spurs would have Duncan, Tiago Splitter and an extended by then Leonard on the roster and have to re-sign everyone else. Does everyone want to go that route?

Still, don’t be surprised if Duncan does this. Quietly. Without fanfare. Just like he does with all his contracts.

Report: Enes Kanter not yet permitted to travel to Mexico, where Thunder scheduled to play

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Remember when Turkey revoked Enes Kanter‘s passport?

That looms over the Thunder’s Dec. 7 game against the Nets in Mexico City.

Fred Katz of The Norman Transcript:

Without a valid passport, he is unable to travel to another country other than Canada, which allows entry from U.S. residents who have a Green Card. There is no such agreement with Mexico.

Kanter could receive a re-entry permit, a special document issued to citizens of other countries whose passports have been canceled for reasons the U.S. government deems unsuitable. The permit would allow Kanter to leave the U.S. for another country, such as Mexico, and still return. And the plan is for Kanter to acquire one before OKC’s game in Mexico City. Still, he is yet to receive a re-entry permit, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. There is, however, still ample time for that process to complete.

Kanter is a high-profile millionaire working for a billion-dollar company that has a vested interest in getting him to Mexico. He likely works this out.

Rumor: LeBron James and Kyrie Irving met in Miami

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LeBron James denied wanting to fight Kyrie Irving, but wanting to meet with his for-now Cavaliers co-star? That might be another story. Likewise, Irving – in light of his trade request – might not be eager to meet with LeBron.

But…

Tony Rizzo of ESPN Cleveland, as transcribed by Jackson Flickinger of King James Gospel:

“From very reliable sources. Plural. Kyrie and LeBron were in the same room over the weekend in Florida…Apparently these guys were in the same room and here’s the deal. I don’t know if there’s a thawing out process. All I do know is LeBron didn’t punch Kyrie the way Stephen A thought he would. I can report that. As for what they talked about or discussed…it was very cool. They didn’t get into any heated discussions.”

Did LeBron and Irving actually meet? Both were spotted in Miami, but maybe someone is just connecting dots that don’t belong connected.

Whether or not LeBron and Irving met, they might need to soon. Cleveland will have a tough time getting its desired return for Irving before the season, and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert discussed the possibility of Irving returning. LeBron isn’t getting traded.

No matter the disconnect between the two, LeBron and Irving might have to figure out how to work together a while longer. It’d be nice if that process has already begun.

Are Bulls and Dwyane Wade moving toward a buyout?

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About a month ago, the Bulls said they hadn’t discussed a buyout with Dwyane Wade.

Have the two sides progressed since?

Nick Friedell of ESPN:

Dwyane Wade isn’t long for the organization’s future and is expected to reach a buyout agreement at some point in the next few months.

Expected by whom?

People with direct knowledge of momentum toward a buyout?

Or everyone who can see that a 35-year-old earning $23.8 million fits poorly on a rebuilding team?

For the Bulls to now drop their biggest name and a large expiring contract that could prove useful in trades should require Wade surrendering a large portion of his salary. He doesn’t sound like someone inclined to do that yet.

A few months is a long time. As long as Wade gets bought out by March 1, he could join another team’s playoff roster. It’d surprise nobody if he gets bought out after the February trade deadline, which we already knew. I don’t see strong indication of something more imminent.

LeBron James’ camp already shooting down leaving-Cavaliers rumor

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LeBron James has done a terrible job shooting down rumors about him leaving the Cavaliers

Except this one from Chris Sheridan, who cited a source saying LeBron would “100 percent” leave Cleveland next summer due to a rift with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Sheridan’s source saying LeBron is leaving doesn’t make that true. But other anonymous sources denying it doesn’t make the denials true, either.