Tim Duncan could retire this offseason and nobody would be shocked. He turned 40 in April, he’s accomplished basically everything that you can accomplish during a career as an athlete, and we saw him show really serious signs that he is getting old during the 2015-16 season – especially in the playoffs.
But the NBA without Duncan would be super weird, and on Tuesday night, Duncan did something to ensure his place on the Spurs should he decide to go for another run at one last title. While it’s not a sure-fire sign that Duncan is coming back for one more year, he opted into his 2016-17 deal with San Antonio, according to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan has elected to exercise the $5.6 million player option on his 2016-17 contract – but that is not an indication that he’s planning to return for his 20th NBA season, league sources told The Vertical.
Duncan, 40, is still seriously contemplating his desire to continue playing and judge how his body feels, league sources said. The Spurs are allowing Duncan to make a decision on his own timetable, but there’s no question that this offseason is the most seriously he’s contemplated retirement.
Duncan is famously hard to read about everything, and while it’s probably not wise to take this news as a sign that he’s coming back for one more year, it’s encouraging that he’s at least taking out this safeguard of sorts. The Spurs would probably be fine without Duncan should he decide that he’s done, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t want to see The Big Fundamental go after one last championship.