Once the Spurs were eliminated from the playoffs by the Clippers in an absolute war of a seven-game series, it began to set in that we may have seen the last of one of the game’s all-time greatest players.
Tim Duncan finished up his 18th NBA season, and showed plenty of times throughout it that he’s still capable of playing at an extremely high level. But he’s no longer contractually obligated to do so, and has a decision to make this summer as to whether or not he wants to return to continue to compete for one or more seasons.
Duncan wasn’t in any rush to decide his future immediately following the Game 7 loss, and it may be a while before his intentions are known. But for Spurs fans hoping for a positive sign, a friend of Duncan’s who happens to be a former teammate doesn’t feel like Duncan is ready to hang ’em up just yet.
From Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:
“I would be very surprised if he retired,” said Antonio Daniels, Duncan’s friend and former teammate with the Spurs. “As long as he’s staying at a level where he feels like he’s relevant and competing, I can’t see it.” …
If this summer goes the other way, and this turns out to be it for Duncan, Daniels has a feeling how that will play out, too.
“He’s not going to be like Kareem and go out on a big retirement tour,” Daniels said, referring to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Lakers Hall of Famer who retired at age 42. “He’s going to wake up one morning and say, ‘You know what? I don’t have it anymore. I’m done.’”
Duncan’s decision will not only force a reshaping of the San Antonio franchise, but it will also have a strong effect on a similar decision weighing on one of his teammates.
Manu Ginobili seems like he may be ready to retire, but the commitment to the franchise and the relationship he shares with Duncan makes it seem like if Duncan returns, he will, as well.