New Yark, USA 4th July 2016: Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Golden State Warriors may have made another superstar’s decision to retire a little easier. According to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan is “strongly” leaning toward retirement. The Spurs, who met with Duncan over the weekend, were bounced out of the playoffs this postseason at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Duncan, who turned 40 in April, was selected No. 1 overall in the 1997 NBA draft and has spent the last 19 years with the Spurs, leading the franchise to five championships. Duncan is also a three-time NBA Finals MVP and two-time regular-season MVP, plus has been voted a member of the All-Defensive First or Second team 15 times. Slowed by knee problems, his offensive performance dipped last season, reaching career-lows in points (8.6), rebounds (7.3) and minutes (25.2) per game.
There was speculation that longtime Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich would exit the game at the same time as Duncan. Popovich has coached with the Spurs since 1988 and has since compiled a 1,574–1,089 win-loss record to go along with the five NBA championships. Popovich put some of those concerns to rest in an interview with ESPN’s Sage Steele in September 2015.
“Signing LaMarcus [Aldridge], I had to make a commitment,” Popovich told Steele. “I couldn’t say, ‘LaMarcus, we would love to sign you, see you later.’ So I committed to those guys, and I committed to LaMarcus. So, I’ve got to fulfill my promise.”
San Antonio has been aggressively pursuing free agent center Pau Gasol, who could perhaps fill in for Duncan if he does indeed decide to call it quits. Gasol averaged 16.5 points and 11 rebounds for the Chicago Bulls this past season.