WEDNESDAY, 1:28pm: The Spurs tentatively expect to hear from Duncan regarding his retirement decision by this weekend, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).
MONDAY, 12:34pm: While one longtime Western Conference star changes teams, another may be close to calling it a career. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, despite picking up his player option for the 2016/17, Spurs big man Tim Duncan is “leaning strongly” toward retiring.
[RELATED: Manu Ginobili to play next season]
Duncan hasn’t finalized that decision or made any sort of announcement at this point. However, Wojnarowski reports that the longtime Spur has left team officials, friends, and close associates with the “strong belief” that he’ll make a retirement announcement sometime in the near future.
The future Hall-of-Famer saw his production decline this past season, as he averaged a career-low 8.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 blocks in 25.2 minutes per contest over 61 regular-season appearances. He also shot just 48.8% from the floor, his lowest mark in 10 years.
Duncan’s player option had been worth $5,643,750, but he reportedly earned $750K in incentives based on the Spurs’ win total, meaning his 2016/17 salary is now in the $6.4MM range. As Wojnarowski notes, San Antonio may still pay that money to Duncan even if he decides to retire — the club could waive him and stretch his salary over the next three seasons.
With Duncan potentially headed for retirement, and Kevin Durant off to the Bay Area, the Spurs are “lasered in” on signing Pau Gasol, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein (Twitter link). Gasol was one of the club’s top free agent targets headed into the offseason, and would be a nice fit in San Antonio if the club has to replace Duncan’s production and role.