As expected, Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs agreed to a contract that will keep him on the court through his 40th birthday. The Spurs announced Thursday the future Hall of Fame center inked a contract to return for his 19th season in San Antonio.
On July 10, ESPN's Marc Stein reported, per sources, "Duncan's new deal with San Antonio is for $5.25M next season, with $5.6M option for 2016-17 and fresh no-trade clause."
Duncan, who left his future up in the air following San Antonio's first-round loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, announced his intention to return in a July 2 interview with Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News: "Finally had a chance to talk with Pop. I'll be on the court next year."
Duncan's announcement came as little surprise, with head coach Gregg Popovich and former teammate Antonio Daniels publicly predicting a return before the announcement. The only area left to address was Duncan's contractual terms, which were largely dependent on San Antonio's free-agent chase.
San Antonio put on a full-court press for forward LaMarcus Aldridge, bringing Duncan, Popovich and Tony Parker into their July 1 meeting. Some considered the Spurs a favorite to land Aldridge, a Texas native who was pushing to leave Portland so he could contend for an NBA championship. Adding Aldridge, along with keeping Duncan, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili, required creative cap gymnastics entirely based on timing and everyone buying in.
The Spurs with Aldridge should compete again near the top of the Western Conference. They were within one game of being the conference's No. 2 seed last year and pushed a younger, more athletic Clippers team to the brink.
Winning a sixth championship is, frankly, all that separates Duncan from clinching the title as the best player of his generation. To some, Duncan has already surpassed Kobe Bryant for the mantle—although that's not a conversation Duncan would ever entertain.
For Duncan, this is one more chance at a ring. We'll have to see whether San Antonio did enough this offseason to put itself over the top.
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