Report: Tim Duncan leaning toward retiring

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We spent the season celebrating the final season of an all-time great player, Kobe Bryant.

Meanwhile, an even better player — Tim Duncan — might have been concluding his career.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

One of the NBA’s all-time icons – San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan – is leaning strongly toward retirement, a decision that would end an illustrious 19-season NBA career, league sources told The Vertical.

Duncan has left team officials, close associates and friends with a strong belief he’s preparing to make an announcement in the near future on his departure, sources said.

Duncan opted into the final year of his contract, which is slated to pay $6,393,750. At some point soon, the Spurs will want to know whether that money is available to spend elsewhere.

If Duncan retires, look for San Antonio to chase Pau Gasol. A starting role and the Spurs’ culture would appeal to Gasol. Without Duncan on the books, San Antonio could make a competitive offer. (But that would mean not paying Duncan. If the Spurs want to pay Duncan’s salary as a parting gift, it’ll count against the cap.)