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.
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.