The only way Tim Duncan will return for a 19th NBA season is if he believes the San Antonio Spurs have a shot at winning another title. Will the team have the salary cap flexibility needed to build the right roster?
If Duncan returns (and most people believe he will), Manu Ginobili will likely come back, too. Both players are currently unrestricted free agents, and the Spurs would like to retain them for as cheaply as possible so they can address other needs. Could Duncan help the team do that by agreeing to a “special” contract?
Here’s an interesting possibility that Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News shared:
There are several NBA player personnel executives who believe the Spurs will offer Duncan a two-year contract that begins between $6 million and $7 million, with a partial guarantee and a player option in the second season.
If Duncan doesn’t exercise the option, he gets, say, 50 percent of that season’s salary. In effect, his salary for next season would remain over $10 million, the partially guaranteed portion of the second season’s salary remaining on the Spurs team salary after the cap explodes with the NBA’s new TV money kicking in for 2016-17.
“You can call it a ‘wink-wink’ deal if you want to,” an Eastern Conference team executive said. “It’s what they did with (Antonio) McDyess, so why not for Duncan?”
Although Duncan is technically a free agent, NBA rules require teams to keep the salaries of 12 players in place for salary cap purposes. Duncan’s current projected number would be around $15.5 million, so a deal like the one outlined above would allow the Spurs to cut his cap number in half and make it up down the road. They could do the same with Ginobili.
As Brett Pollakoff of Pro Basketball Talk notes, the deal would only be illegal if there was a way to prove that the Spurs knew Duncan and/or Ginobili would retire after the 2015-2016 season. Obviously, proving that would be nearly impossible.
The Spurs were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs this season after pushing the Los Angeles Clippers to seven games. As long as Duncan feels healthy and this guy is still pulling the strings, it would be unwise to count them out.
All Steve Kerr did in his first year as a head coach was lead the Warriors to a franchise-record 67 wins during the regular season. Golden State then defeated the Cavaliers in six games to capture their first NBA championship since 1975.
Not surprisingly, Kerr received numerous congratulatory messages. One in particular from former teammate Tim Duncan had to make the Warriors coach chuckle.
That was even better than the great text Kobe sent LeBron in the summer of 2010.
Winning a championship is certainly nothing new to Kerr. He won three as a player with the Chicago Bulls. Kerr was also on two Spurs title teams along with Duncan. However, what the 49-year-old did this year with Golden State was quite impressive in his first season wearing a suit and holding a clipboard.
The Warriors’ 67 wins were the most for a first-year head coach in NBA history. Their 16-game improvement from last season was the largest increase ever for a team that won 50-plus games the prior season.
After the San Antonio Spurs won their fifth NBA championship since 1999 last season, many wondered if Tim Duncan would retire on top. Instead, Duncan returned for an 18th NBA season and looked like he discovered the Fountain of Youth along the way.
While the Spurs failed to advance past the opening round of the playoffs, Duncan averaged 17.9 points and 11.1 rebounds in San Antonio’s series against the Clippers. His 28-point, 11-rebound performance in Game 6 almost singlehandedly forced Game 7.
After a performance like that, former Spurs guard Antonio Daniels can’t see Duncan calling it a career.
“I would be very surprised if he retired,” Daniels, who remains friends with Duncan, told Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. “As long as he’s staying at a level where he feels like he’s relevant and competing, I can’t see it.”
Duncan, who turned 39 a few weeks ago, averaged 13.9 points and 9.1 rebounds per game during the regular season. He was also selected to his 15th NBA All-Star team, so it’s not as if Duncan simply turned it on for one final push in the postseason.
The guy can still play, and the Spurs can continue to compete for championships as long as they have Gregg Popovich running the show. Duncan will be a free agent this summer, but the Spurs would be more than happy to give him something like the $10 million contract he played under last season.
And when Duncan does decide to call it a career, Daniels insists there will be no retirement tour.
“He’s not going to be like Kareem and go out on a big retirement tour,” he said. “He’s going to wake up one morning and say, ‘You know what? I don’t have it anymore. I’m done.’”
Let’s hope that morning doesn’t come in the near future. The NBA needs at least another season of Timmy and his awesome girlfriend.
H/T Pro Basketball Talk
Tim Duncan isn’t much of a 3-pointer shooter, but he made sure to hit one from downtown on Wednesday in order to win a bet with a friend.
Duncan drained a 3-pointer during the third quarter of San Antonio’s blowout against the Oklahoma City Thunder and made sure to hold his pose. That’s probably because he wanted to gloat for a second after winning a bet with his college best friend.
Timmy is now 2-for-6 on threes for the season thanks to that big one. But he’s still just an 18 percent shooter from long range for his career, so he shouldn’t let that one get to his head. The more important question is: What will he do with the $100? He should probably take his girlfriend out with the extra cash.
H/T CJ Zero
For several years, Charles Barkley has been mocking the women of San Antonio and calling them fat. Tim Duncan’s girlfriend, Vanessa Macias, is a woman of San Antonio. She is not fat by any stretch of the imagination, which is why she has defended her hometown against Barkley’s criticism.
On Thursday night, Macias made a peace offering. Of course, she made churros for Chuck.
Churros are a popular treat in San Antonio, and Barkley once infamously imitated the way the women of San Antonio stuff them down their gullets. If you haven’t seen the video, you will want to check it out here.
When Duncan’s girlfriend showed up to an NBA Finals game last year wearing this shirt, Barkley said she must have been flown in from Dallas or Houston. He was wrong. We’re glad to see everyone has made nice.
Does Tim Duncan look like the kind of guy who would be bothered by some trash talk? If your answer is “no,” then you would be right. And we have Draymond Green as proof.
Chris Ballard wrote a cover story for SI on the Golden State Warriors, and one of the nuggets is about Green’s role on the team’s defense.
From the article:
Still, Green is the heart of the defense, banging and bodying and talking trash (Tim Duncan is the only forward Green says he won’t jaw with, partly out of respect and partly because, “You say something to Timmy, he just look at you with that Timmy face like, ‘Wow, you’re talking to me!’”). And yet, Green disappoints himself daily. “I feel like each possession is a battle and you never want to lose a battle,” Green explains after a recent practice. “And if somebody scores on me, it really bothers me. It doesn’t make me feel any better if it’s Kevin Durant and he hits those shots on everybody. Well, I’m not everybody.” Green leans forward, getting fired up. “People say, ‘That’s great offense, there’s nothing else you can do.’ No, I could have done something else, because he scored.”
That excerpt is mostly about Green’s pride in his defense and includes one quote Green offered about Duncan. The real money detail was described in a tweet Ballard sent Tuesday that was left out of the article:
That is awesome. Don’t even bother with trying to smack talk Duncan. He challenges you to “come at me, bro” any time you want. And that is why the Anton Chigurh comparison is so perfect, too.
Tim Duncan is suing his former financial adviser for $1 million in damages after realizing that the adviser was benefiting off investment deals where the San Antonio Spurs forward was losing big money, according to a report.
WOAI in San Antonio reported news of the lawsuit and says Duncan is suing financial adviser Charles Banks for $1 million in relief. Duncan supposedly has lost $20 million of about $27 million he’s invested with Banks.
“This is a case to recover monies Duncan lost while and after he was betrayed by Banks, who committed egregious breaches of his trust relationship with Duncan – breeches drive and fueled by self interest, self dealing, and greed, to Duncan’s substantial detriment and disadvantage,” Duncan’s attorney alleges in a suit filed in San Antonio.
Duncan met Banks in 1998 and invested millions of dollars according to Banks’ advice. It wasn’t until Duncan began going through his finances to divide assets during his divorce that the issues were discovered.
Among the issues, Duncan discovered that a $7.5 million investment he made in a company called Gameday was headed by Banks. Banks allegedly kept 20 percent of the money for his “fees.” He also allegedly forged signatures on loan documents.
Investing comes with the risk of losing money as well as gaining, but to have an adviser recommend clients invest in companies that support the adviser is more than shady. Depending on how much of his career earnings he’s lost, we might actually see Duncan doing media work after his playing career like many other athletes who have lost their fortunes.
Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan will have very similar resumes when their careers are finished. Both are sure-fire Hall of Famers, and both have won five NBA championships. Duncan has been selected to 14 All-Star teams and Kobe has been named to 16. You get the point, so why would Kobe be “jealous” of Duncan?
In a recent feature that explores Duncan’s and Bryant’s phenomenal careers, Kobe said he envies the fact that Duncan has played for one coach and with many of the same players throughout his career.
“I can’t express to you how much I’m jealous,” Bryant told Mark Medina of the LA Daily News. “I’ve been up and down.”
Kobe has played for seven different coaches throughout his career. Duncan has only played for Gregg Popovich. It’s no coincidence that all five of Bryant’s championships came with Phil Jackson coaching the Lakers. Had Jackson remained the coach in LA throughout Kobe’s entire career, Kobe might have more championships than Michael Jordan right now.
Duncan realizes he is fortunate to have had such consistency surrounding him.
“I’m in a system that allows me to play well,” he said. “With the kind of teammates I have and players we put together, it’s not just on one person’s shoulders. We can spread it out and continue to win.”
It should be noted that Bryant is probably more difficult to coach than Duncan. While Kobe has had some bad luck with coaches coming and going and the Lakers front office crashing and burning on multiple occasions, he has likely run one or two coaches out of town during his NBA career.
Still, there’s little arguing that Jackson was able to get the most out of teams that were led by Kobe. That has to leave Bryant wondering what could have been.
H/T Pro Basketball Talk
The San Antonio Spurs are considered to be a model NBA franchise, even for players who aren’t even on the team. Such is the case for Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert, who says he texts Tim Duncan for advice.
At the Pacers’ media day on Tuesday, Hibbert revealed that he watched the Spurs in the NBA Finals last season and looks to them for inspiration.
“You just watch how they play and I watched them close,” Hibbert told the Indianapolis Star. “I’m close to Tim (Duncan). We were texting a couple days ago. I’m asking him for advice, just the way they go about their business but yeah, I watched them closely.”
If there’s a team whose model you want to replicate, it’s definitely the Spurs. Their incredible teamwork highlighted by their impressive ball movement led to enormous success last season and a championship.
Not everyone can do what they do, but it’s worth trying your best to see if you can. And if there’s anything Duncan might say to Hibbert, it’s don’t go from an All-Star to non-factor in the same season.
As expected, LeBron James informed the Miami Heat on Tuesday that he will opt out of the final year of his current contract. Tim Duncan, who could have retired at the age of 38 with five NBA championships under his belt, decided to opt into the final year of his deal with the San Antonio Spurs.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. LeBron could very well end up staying in Miami, but it only makes sense to sign another max contract while he is still in the prime of his career. Duncan may only play one more season anyway, so exercising his $10.3 million option for the 2014-2015 season makes sense. Don’t tell that to the people who paid for the billboard you see above.
Duncan has played his entire career with the Spurs, whereas LeBron left the Cleveland Cavaliers to chase championships. He has won two thus far. But Duncan got his first ring when he was in just his second NBA season, so his situation is far different from LeBron’s.
The truth of the matter is anyone with a brain would have opted out in LeBron’s situation. If you can secure more money over a longer period of time (even if it is from the same employer), why wouldn’t you? You can’t really compare a 38-year-old’s free agency decision to a 29-year-old’s, but we all know how much fun it is to rag on King James.
H/T Eye on Basketball
Photo: Twitter/Ryan Frazier