In a league of constant change, one thing we could count on was the San Antonio Spurs.
Tim Duncan was always going to be the Big Fundamental, effortlessly banking in shots while dominating the boards and protecting the paint. Manu Ginobili was the balding Argentinian guard with the quirky game who knew how to keep defenders off balance and drove coach Gregg Popovich crazy with his shot selection, even when they went in. Tony Parker was the speedy French guard who knew how to get into the lane and had endless tricks for making shots over taller defenders.
The Spurs’ Big Three have rewritten the NBA history books in their combined 48 years of service. They helped bring five titles to San Antonio, although only Duncan was there for the first one. They set a league record for the most career wins by three teammates. They made the Spurs a postseason fixture, with a run of playoff appearances that dates back to Duncan’s rookie season. They played the game the right way — sharing the ball, helping on defense, making the extra pass — and became an example that coaches across the world could point to. They were called boring, but the fans in San Antonio never got tired of watching them. They were classy in victory and defeat. They were dependable. They were always there.
But now they may not be.
After 67 regular-season wins, the Spurs saw their playoff run end in shocking fashion Thursday with a one-sided loss to the Thunder in Game 6 of their Western Conference semifinal series. There will be no sixth title coming to San Antonio this year and no dream matchup with the 73-win Warriors. As the younger, more athletic Thunder raced past the Spurs, it felt like not just the end of the series, but the end of an era.
Duncan and Ginobili both said they will wait to make decisions on retirement. Duncan, 40, has a player option for next season worth nearly $6.4MM, including incentives. Ginobili, 38 with another birthday looming in July, has a player option at a little more than $2.9MM. Parker’s situation is more complicated, as he is signed for the next two seasons at $14,445,313 and $15,453,126. He will turn 34 this week and the Spurs may want to start rebuilding if Duncan and Ginobili don’t return. There are already rumblings that San Antonio will make a run at Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley when he hits free agency in July.
That brings us to tonight’s question: Have we seen the last of the Big Three in San Antonio? Do you expect Duncan and Ginobili to end their careers or will they take one more shot at another title? And will the Spurs try to find a taker for Parker and go in a different direction at point guard?
Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the topic. We look forward to what you have to say.