When 37-year-old Tim Duncan decides to retire, you can expect Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich to follow suit, writes Dan McCarney of Spurs Nation. Before last night's Game 2 win against the Lakers, the 64-year old coach told reporters about his commitment to the franchise star's playing career:
“When he doesn’t think he can, he’ll stop. It might be in the middle of a game. I can see him walking off the court saying, ‘Nah, I’m not pulling my weight anymore. I’m gone.’ And he’ll walk. And I’ll be right behind him, like this. No pride, no nothing.”
McCarney adds that Duncan's retirement could still be a few years away, considering the former number one overall pick's return to All-Star form this season. In 69 games, Duncan averaged 17.8 PPG, 9.9 RPG, and 2.7 BPG in 30.1 MPG, marking the first time he's reached a 30-minute per game average since the 2009-10 season. His season scoring average represents a progressive two-point improvement each season since 2010-11, and his blocks per game average this year is nearly double the average from last year (1.5) .
ESPN's Marc Stein was on ESPN Radio in Dallas today to discuss all things Mavericks. The Dallas hosts made note of Stein's positive relationship with Dirk Nowitzki, and pressed him on the power forward's mindset six games into his return. Stein said that, amidst the team's 13-20 start, it will be hard to judge how Nowitzki feels about what has transpired in Dallas until after this offseason when, in theory, the Mavs still have the space and motivation to add a Dwight Howard should he or a player of similar stature be available. So while Dirk will play nice for now, Stein says the activity in Dallas will again be a big storyline this offseason.
Here are some additional Southwest Division notes from Stein and other writers around the league:
The latest news and notes from around the NBA on Sunday evening:
While the NBA's collective bargaining agreement includes certain scenarios in which a team needs a player's approval to trade him, it's rare that an actual no-trade clause is negotiated into a deal. Heading into this summer, only Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki had official no-trade clauses in their contracts.
However, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports, the number of no-trade provisions in the Association doubled this offseason. Deeks tweets that both Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan have no-trade clauses in their new deals with the Celtics and Spurs, respectively. Both players inked three-year contracts this summer, so they can't be included in trades until those deals expire in the summer of 2015 (or 2014, for Duncan, if he declines his third-year player option).
Of course, it's unlikely that either Garnett or Duncan would have been in danger of being moved even without the no-trade provisions. Duncan has been a Spur for his entire career, while Garnett recently reiterated that he intends to retire as a Celtic.
With the early-July flurry of activity having died down, we have the opportunity now to look back at many of the free agent deals signed earlier this month and see how exactly they'll affect teams' caps for the next few seasons. Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News has the salary details for the handful of contracts signed by the Spurs this month, so let's take a look at what San Antonio will be paying its recent signees....
SUNDAY, 7:11pm: The pact is for 3 years and approximately $30MM according to Yahoo Sports' Marc Spears on Twitter. Spears credits his colleague Johnny Ludden for the report.
WEDNESDAY, 1:53pm: The Spurs officially announced in a press release that they have re-signed Duncan.
TUESDAY, 12:39pm: The contract also includes a no-trade clause, tweets Spears.
12:21pm: Duncan's three-year deal is fully guaranteed and includes a third-year player option, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.10:51am: Tim Duncan will re-sign with the Spurs on a three-year deal when the moratorium ends, according to Johnny Ludden of Yahoo! Sports. Duncan and the team are finalizing a few details, but have agreed to the structure of the contract, says Ludden.
That Duncan will return to San Antonio isn't surprising -- the two-time MVP said himself earlier this year that he was a "Spur for life" and that he wasn't going anywhere. What's a little surprising is the length of the contract. There was some speculation that the 36-year-old Duncan would consider retirement this summer, so three more years is an unexpected commitment.
We're still waiting for the salary details of Duncan's agreement, but Ludden suggests the contract will be in the same neighborhood of Kevin Garnett's three-year, $34MM agreement with the Celtics. The Spurs have also committed to new deals with Danny Green and Boris Diaw in the last couple days, so it seems the core of the team that was eliminated in the Western Conference Finals this season will remain mostly intact.
Tim Duncan is having good contractual talks with the Spurs about re-signing and it's very unlikely that he will consider another team, sources told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). Then again, it seems like Duncan never thought about leaving San Antonio to begin with. In the middle of the team's postseason tear, the big man admitted to reporters that he had little interest in testing the open market. Here's tonight's look around the Association..
Jameer Nelson decided yesterday to opt out of his contract, which will make him an unrestricted free agent this summer. However, turning down his player option with the Magic doesn't mean Nelson doesn't want to return to Orlando. According to Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld, signing a long-term deal with the Magic is still Nelson's number one goal, and the point guard confirmed as much on Twitter today
"Like I have said over and over," Nelson tweeted. "I'd love to stay a Magic and I would love to play for the best fans in the NBA. And I still have faith that it can happen. So again thanks you guys for all the support."
Here are a few more updates on some soon-to-be free agents....
The Thunder found out on Saturday evening that they'll be taking on the Heat in the NBA Finals beginning on Tuesday in Oklahoma City. The Lakers and Spurs will look to the Thunder to continue an over decade-long trend of Western Conference dominance that began during the 1998/1999 season. With a series victory over Miami, the Thunder will bring the streak of the West winning the Larry O'Brien Trophy to four seasons in a row and 11 of the last 14 overall. Let's catch up on the latest rumors and stories making headlines from around the Western Conference...