NBA Rumor: Tim Duncan Retirement

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With Duncan appearing to still be in great shape, Green speculated the Spurs could sign him to a “Romo deal” should they make the Finals, a reference to the Dallas Mavericks signing newly retired Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to a one-day contract. “He’s trying to stay in shape,” Green said of Duncan. “He’s still looking like we could sign him. He could come back for Game 6 in the Finals or something like that and collect a ring, if we make it. If we are up in Game 6, three (games) to two, sign him to a Romo deal.”

Popovich also had to pause to check his emotions as he told the crowd how Duncan set an example for every teammate with whom he ever played by allowing Popovich to coach him hard, including the occasional high-decibel tirade. “If your superstar can take a little hit now and then, everybody else can shut the hell up and fall in line,” Popovich said, before a pause that nearly forced him to reach for the tissue he had stashed in his suit coach pocket, just in case. “I’m really thankful, because you allowed me to coach the team.”

Michael C. Wright: Here’s New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry on San Antonio’s Tim Duncan: “I don’t know how many accolades you could ever put up on this guy. He’s just a tremendous guy, the best power forward that ever played the game. Probably, if you talk to anyone that knows him, he’s probably the most low-maintenance superstar that ever played the game; just a tremendous guy, a great person. This couldn’t come or happen to a better guy. There was no reason to wait. It’s not like they were gonna decide somewhere along the line his number was gonna be retired. It was gonna happen. So I think it’s great that they’re doing it early and doing it right now before he’s even a year out of the league.”
4 years ago via ESPN

Popovich, though, acknowledged that the famously media-shy Duncan had to be talked into Sunday night’s post-game ceremony after San Antonio takes on the New Orleans Pelicans. “It was a tough one,” Popovich said. “He knew that, in the end, he had to do it because he knows he owes it to the fans, more than anything, who’ve come out and supported him through all those years. But that’s really the only reason he’s doing it. He doesn’t want any of the accolades, he doesn’t want to sit there in a chair and listen to us talk about him. He’s dreading it.
4 years ago via ESPN

Duncan, though, has been a relatively frequently guest at Spurs practices this season, working out former teammates or new Spurs like center Pau Gasol or counseling younger players such as forward Jonathon Simmons. “He jumps in and out,” Popovich said. “A little bit of scouting [to] tell us what he thinks about this player or that player. Little bit of one-on-one here and there. Little bit of coaching, what we’re doing in pick and roll and what we’re doing here. Just hanging around. Just jumping in, putting a toe in the water, wherever he feels like it. It’s great.

The Spurs will raise Duncan’s iconic No. 21 to the rafters in a ceremony following the game against New Orleans. The commemoration will come before a sellout crowd — with lower-level tickets fetching more than $1,000 on the secondary market — and a television audience watching live on FSNSW. “What could be better than to honor Timmy, with what he’s meant to the franchise and the way he’s conducted himself?” coach Gregg Popovich said. “It will be a special night. We’ll try not to embarrass him too much.”

On Saturday night, however, Duncan will be forced to leave his comfort zone and deliver a speech in front of a sold-out crowd as his jersey is retired and raised to the rafters. “I just think he wants to get it over with because he knew it was coming at some point,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told The Undefeated. “The sooner, the better. The quicker, the better. He probably won’t say much. He probably wishes we wouldn’t do it. “But he owes that to the fans to go out there and let them applaud him for what he’s done. He understands that.”

“You knew that day was going to come,” Spurs guard Tony Parker told The Undefeated. “It’s already unbelievable that he played 19 years, especially with his knees. It’s a great honor. Well-deserved. He’s the best power forward of all time. I can’t wait for that day. It’s going to be a great night.” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said Duncan’s jersey retirement will be “emotional” for him. “A lot of flashbacks will come back to me because of what we went through. Most of his games were with me,” Ginobili said.

Tim Duncan’s retirement from the NBA this past summer not only left a void on the court and in the locker room for the San Antonio Spurs; it also left an emotional void for head coach Gregg Popovich. The pair spent two full decades together, winning five NBA titles along the way. And they had one of the strongest coach-player relationships the league has ever seen, which Popovich discussed Friday morning before taking on the Boston Celtics. “I miss him, of course, because I was with him for 20 years,” Popovich said ahead of the 1 p.m. tip-off at TD Garden. “It feels strange at times. He’s not on the bus. He’s not on the plane. I can’t joke with him or have him coach me and have him tell me what I’m doing wrong every day. So I miss all that.”

Duncan, however, is not completely out of the picture for the Spurs organization. While he may no longer be suiting up for San Antonio, he still visits the team regularly and makes his presence felt, especially with the Spurs’ younger players. “He’ll come in and maybe run the court,” said Popovich. “He’ll go into the weight room area and work out. He’ll peek in on practice here and there. He’ll come in and put his arm around (rookie) Dejounte Murray or some young guy and talk to him a little bit, which is kind of cool.”

Spurs’ general manager RC Buford echoed those sentiments during an interview with a handful of reporters Wednesday. “Whatever he decides it will be,” Buford said. “I think he’s learning about life after playing. He can impact us in so many ways. I think we need to sit back and get a better understanding of how he feels like he wants to fit in, and what works for his family, and then we’ll figure it out from there. The gym feels better when he’s in it.” Duncan spent his entire 19-season career with the Spurs, leading them to five NBA championships. Buford said when Duncan decided to retire, he had a private conversation with Popovich. “You tried to prepare for it, and you tried to be ready to transition, but you never wanted to hear those words,” Buford said.
4 years ago via ESPN

“I would have absolutely been interested in bringing him here. You always find a place for a guy like that, whose voice in the locker room is so strong, so clear, so impactful. “He’s such a great teacher in practice. He should start a course in leadership. The NBA should designate who the best player is on each team and then they could bring Kevin in and he could teach them how to be the best player and the best leader. Better yet, they could bring him and Tim [Duncan] in and they could teach it together and show people how it can be done in two completely opposite ways.”

Phil Jackson: He had some limitations — free throws and on the left block, we could trap his right shoulder — but he overcame those limitations and the Spurs were able to stop our fourth chance at another championship. When David retired, Tim had to carry a larger load, which initially affected him. But Tim took on the challenge. In the 2008 playoffs it was apparent he was trying to play with a knee issue. It impacted him. It was then that I thought the end might be coming for his effectiveness. But he continued to play with the same presence for the next seven years. I was amazed and completely taken by his dogged determination and his ability to overcome with grace and skill.

Sources told ESPN’s Marc Stein that the Spurs officially waived Duncan on Monday for salary-cap reasons. While the move was a mere formality, the club needed to do it to “waive and stretch” Duncan’s $6.4 million salary for the 2016-17 season so that it’s spread out over three seasons instead of one, which lessens the cap hit the team will take. Duncan exercised his player option for the upcoming season before the June 29 deadline, which means he’ll receive his full salary for the upcoming season despite retiring. Consider it a parting gift for Duncan, who gave so much for the NBA, the city of San Antonio and the Spurs organization.

Popovich said Duncan is “too smart” to try his hand at coaching in retirement, but he plans to reach out to the former Spur to keep him involved in some capacity. “I don’t think we’re going to see Timmy going up and down the sidelines much,” Popovich said. “But I have a notion he will at least listen to being involved, somehow or other, maybe even on a part-time basis. I’m certainly going to hit with everything I have to keep him around here as long as I possibly can because he means that much to everyone in the organization.”

“We walk into our houses and thank Tim Duncan,” Atlanta Hawks head coach and longtime Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer says. “You think about all the coaches and all the GMs and even the assistant video guys who are now assistant coaches, all the people who have climbed the NBA ladder — we all owe our success, our place in the league to Timmy. “The magnitude of that, the number of people in this league who have enjoyed opportunity or found fortunate spots in the league, you can trace it back to this one guy — to the way Timmy played ball and the conducted himself. The ‘culture’ is Timmy.”

On the day when Duncan announced his retirement after one of the all-time great NBA careers, Kidd revealed Monday that he actually told the San Antonio Spurs he would team up with Duncan when Kidd was the most sought-after free agent in 2003. Calling it “the biggest disappointment,” Kidd said he still has nightmares about his decision to stay in New Jersey and sign a six-year, $103 million deal with the Nets, who were shortly later broken up by new ownership despite having a roster featuring the key players from two consecutive NBA Finals. “I thought I was going to be a Spur,” Kidd, now the Milwaukee Bucks coach, said while watching his team during the Las Vegas Summer League on Monday. “I committed when I was down there on my visit (to San Antonio).

Dwight Howard: Tim Duncan. Man where do I start…. We have had some epic battles. I remember my first game against you in San Antonio. I tried to pull a you on you and I ended up shooting the ball over the goal. Lol. I will never forget that. Watching you play throughout the years inspired me to keep pushing. You’ve always been a class act on and off the floor. While it’s sad to see you go, the 19 years of work you put in will forever be in my heart and the hearts of many basketball fans around the world. Thanks Timmy.

Bill Herenda: #NBA statement on Tim Duncan retirement “Tim Duncan is one of the most dominant players in NBA history. His devotion to excellence and mastery of the game led to five NBA championships, two regular-season MVP awards and a place among the all-time greats, while his understated selflessness made him the ultimate teammate. For two decades Tim represented the Spurs, the city of San Antonio and the league with passion and class. All of us in the NBA family thank him for his profound impact on the game.”
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