How Tim Duncan's Pay Cut Ensures San Antonio Spurs Remain Long-Term Contenders

Garrett Jochnau@@GarrettJochnauCorrespondent IISeptember 23, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - JUNE 06:  Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs boxes out against Kendrick Perkins #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Six of the Western Conference Finals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on June 6, 2012 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In what may have been the most hectic offseason in recent history, the entire league seemed to make numerous transactions—except for the Spurs.

The only new addition to the team was French guard, Nando De Colo, but aside from him, the only other moves that the franchise made were the re-signing of several key players.

The most integral signing was that of Tim Duncan, who entered the offseason contemplating retirement. Luckily for San Antonio—and NBA fans in general—he elected to extend what will go down as one of the most celebrated careers in history.

The Spurs hit big with their financial agreement with Duncan, as the big man signed for three years, $30 million, under half of his previous contract. By signing him for so little, the Spurs finished the offseason as winners, as the deal will allow them to be competitive for years to come.

The dynasty that for so long dominated the league has all but collapsed, making way for a new era of basketball to begin in San Antonio. While their roster in the post-Duncan/Ginobili chapter won't be quite the powerhouse that the city is used to, Spurs fans should not prepare for a decade of disappointment.

Tony Parker has already proved himself a viable leader, and Kawhi Leonard's rookie heroics have given fans hope that he too can help lead the future Spurs. However, the key to ensuring that their name remains in the upper echelon of teams was the re-signing of Duncan for a low amount.

Duncan's pay cut of over $10 million will give the team the flexibility that they never had. Last season, he was the league's third highest paid player, and with so much of the team's cap space being used on him, there was little room to make other acquisitions. 

However, the pay cut allowed the team to sign De Colo, while also maintaining free agents Boris Diaw, Danny Green and Patty Mills.

Green, in particular, was a vital move, as his breakout performance in 2012 proved that the young, 25-year-old has the talent to be a crucial component to the team for years to come. Mills also showed the makings of a star, and capped that off with an impressive Olympic performance. 

The signings were impressive, but perhaps more so was the Spurs' ability to do it all while remaining below the luxury tax threshold. Last year, the team exceeded the threshold, with Duncan's pesky contract being the leading cause.

Manu Ginobili now leads the Spurs' payroll, but the aging Argentinian star is due for a new contact next season, and he will presumably take a pay cut, as he has certainly showed a decline in his later years.

Stephen Jackson's $10 million contract also will be removed from the books, ridding the team of two of their three highest contracts.

The Spurs will then have flexibility that they haven't seen in years, allowing them to make the acquisitions necessary for them to remain relevant in the future. 

Depending on the magnitude of Ginobili's pay cut, as well as whether or not the Spurs bring Jackson back, will determine how much cap space they really have. However, whether their cap space allows them to pursue Al Jefferson or only JJ Hickson, there are definitely enough options that could one day help the Spurs remain contenders.

So while other teams were "winning" the offseason by making big transactions, Tim Duncan $11.5 million pay cut is enough to consider the 2012 offseason fruitful. 


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