Few players are more identifiable with one franchise than Tim Duncan is with the San Antonio Spurs. Now in his 15th season, the 36-year-old future Hall of Famer is still playing great basketball, averaging 15.4PPG and 9.0 RPG this season. While remaining an above average offensive option in the post, and one of the game's most intelligent, underrated defenders, Duncan is an unrestricted free agent this summer, bringing the type of experience that makes his value a difficult one to quantify on the open market.
He's making $21.3MM this season, but that number will surely go down. He's far from an elite franchise player, but is still capable of playing a major role in what would be a truly remarkable fifth championship for the Spurs—their first since 2007.
With Danny Green and Gary Neal coming off San Antonio's books, it'll be interesting to see how much money the team looks to invest in the two players who've played well above their salary this season. Boris Diaw will also become a free agent, and a player of his skill—when motivated (as he appears to be alongside Tony Parker)—could be worth another contract.
What makes this situation so intriguing is the player in question. Duncan doesn't even have an agent right now, and claims he hasn't even begun thinking about his future, but it wouldn't be a shock to see a non-tax-paying team throw a full mid-level in his direction, which could net him over $20MM over the next four years. Still, it'd be hard to imagine him leaving the one franchise he's ever known. A player of Duncan's stature doesn't appear to be in it for the money at this point. He's won four championships and is arguably one of the 10 greatest overall players the league has ever seen. There's little to prove, and less to chase. The team he currently plays for is a title contender, and should continue to find success for the next few years.
Duncan has been known to sign "team friendly" deals in the past, taking less than the maximum deal for which he was eligible after extending his contract in 2007. But to see him sign for the veteran's minimum ($1.35MM for next season) might be asking too much. Due to the fact that he remains an important part of the Spurs vaunted system, if I had to guess, the team will make re-signing Duncan a serious priority this summer.
The Spurs cap figure for next season currently stands at approximately $49.2MM. Because they own Duncan's Bird Rights, any maximum contract within the CBA's limitations is possible. But due to his age, something around two years for $20MM could be expected.