Duncan, Spurs OK new deal
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The Tim Duncan era isn’t over yet.
The San Antonio Spurs announced Wednesday that they had re-signed Duncan, bringing back the 36-year-old forward for at least a 16th season. Terms were not disclosed, though Yahoo Sports cited anonymous sources in reporting it was a three-year, $36 million deal.
The first overall pick in the 1997 draft, Duncan in 15 seasons has led the Spurs to nine division titles and the playoffs every year, including four NBA championships. The Spurs are 830-352 in the regular season during his tenure, the highest winning percentage over any 15-year span in NBA history, and Duncan has two league MVP awards to go along with three NBA Finals MVP honors.
“Tim Duncan has established himself as one of the best players in NBA history,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He is an unselfish superstar who loves to compete and has only one goal when he steps on the court — to do whatever it takes to help his team win. We are all thrilled that he’ll spend his entire career as a San Antonio Spur.”
Duncan, a 13-time All-Star, has averaged 20.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.22 blocks per game over his career.
The Spurs have other questions headed into the offseason.
He experienced a bit of a renaissance this season after injuries and age led some observers to speculate his career was nearing an end. Duncan averaged 15.4 points and 9.0 rebounds in leading the Spurs to the Southwest Division title and a league best 50-16 record.
“I think (his health) probably had as much to do with solidifying in his mind how long he wanted to go into the future,” general manager R.C. Buford said. “He played well throughout this whole season and he even felt better than he ever had. I think in his mind, that was what was important. We’re going to play him as long as he says he can play and then probably a couple of days longer. We’re hoping he’s going to extend us.”
The signing was expected, especially after Duncan told Yahoo Sports, “I’m here and I’m a Spur for life,” during their Western Conference playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“You’re never confident that is going to happen until it’s done,” Buford said, “but he made it clear he wanted to be here. We laid out what our realities were and here’s how we thought we could accomplish the best team we could put around him and he said, ‘I want to be a part of it.”’
To that end, the Spurs also announced restricted free-agent Danny Green had re-signed with the team.
Buford said there was nothing to report about whether forward Boris Diaw re-signed or if 2009 second-round pick Nando De Colo would join the Spurs, because there are “logistics involved” with signing international players. De Colo and Diaw are both playing for France’s Olympic Team along with Spurs point guard Tony Parker.
De Colo played the past three seasons with Valencia of the Spanish League.
With the possible exception of De Colo’s addition, the Spurs are expected to return virtually their entire roster from this season.
“I was going to announce that we traded for Steve Nash, but the Lakers beat us to it,” Buford said. “I think we won’t go into the season with the exact same team as we had a year ago. (But) we think there is a lot of opportunity for internal growth, especially this summer when we have our gym and our players and the opportunity to get our coaches with them.”
But the Spurs have other questions headed into the offseason. The Spurs lost in the playoffs to Oklahoma City, blowing a 2-0 lead. They don’t have many glaring needs, with the bulk of the roster on track to return.
Parker has apparently healed from a bizarre eye injury in time to play for France in the Summer Olympics. He got a shard of glass in his eye, damaging his cornea, during a New York City night club fight involving Chris Brown and members of hip-hop star Drake’s entourage.
The 30-year-old Parker has two years remaining on a $50 million contract. He is coming off averaging 18.3 points and a career-high 7.7 assists.
Manu Ginobili is also in London this summer playing for his native Argentina, a moonlighting stint that always makes the Spurs anxious because of the 34-year-old playmaker’s propensity for injury.