Tim Duncan took a serious pay cut to get Spurs under tax line

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Last year, Tim Duncan was the third-highest paid player in the NBA at $21.5 million.

Next season he is going to make $9.65 million. Three other guys on the Spurs will make more than Duncan. And he’s good with that. He signed a three-year deal with raises from that level.

In an age where Andrew Bynum says he will play anywhere they have a bank, Duncan did the old school, very Duncan thing of taking a serious pay cut to help out the organization. Mike Monroe of the News-Express breaks it down on his Spurs blog.

By accepting an $11.5 million cut from the $21.15 million salary he earned last season, Duncan enabled the club to re-sign its most coveted free-agent players, add 2009 draftee Nando De Colo and still drop below the NBA’s projected luxury-tax threshold for next season….

A two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, the 36-year-old Duncan will see his salary rise to $10.36 million for the 2013-14 season. The team captain is guaranteed $10 million for the 2014-15 season, but he has an opt-out clause.

All of it was done quietly. Without fanfare. It was all very Duncan.

By the way, before you say “why doesn’t Kobe/LeBron/Howard/whoever do this to help out their team?” know that they cannot. Under the terms of the CBA, players cannot renegotiate existing contracts downward. You can’t do what you see quarterbacks in the NFL do and rework a contract to take less in the short term so the team can sign a decent receiver. NBA rules prohibit that.

But Duncan was a free agent and could sign whatever deal he wanted. And so he chose to do something very Tim Duncan. We are going to miss having this guy in the league in a few years.