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San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has revealed that his “guess” would be that veteran star Tim Duncan will return for one more season next year.
Duncan is currently playing in his 18th NBA season and as he continues to keep in shape and avoid injuries, he has been able to extend his career and continue to perform at a high level.
The 38-year-old is averaging a double-double for the first time since 2010 with 14.5 points and 10.0 rebounds per game, and due to the fact that his performances on the court have not declined, Popovich is confident that his most dependable star will be back for another year.
“No matter how (the season) ends, I think Timmy is going to look at (retirement) again,” Popovich told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday. “And if you ask me, my guess is that he’ll go for another one because he has been so consistent this season.
“It’s just consistent stuff: another double-double, over and over and over again. Because of that, I think in his mind that if it continues through the rest of the year, I think he’ll say, ‘I’m going to go another year and see what happens.’ Because what he has told me is that the minute he feels like he’s a hindrance to his team or he’s not on the positive end or helping him, he’s going to walk right off the court. It might be during the third quarter of a game.
“He’s not going to hang on to finish a contract or make the money or have the notoriety that you know he doesn’t give a (expletive) about. So the way he’s playing now, he’s going to look in the mirror and say, ‘Hey, I’m doing all right.'”
Duncan is currently in the final year of his contract along with Manu Ginobili and Danny Green although he has not suggested that any talks have taken place yet over an extension. With San Antonio expected to commit a lot of money to secure Kawhi Leonard’s future, the trio may well be expected to take less money in order to keep the current roster together.
Given that they have been adopting that strategy for years, it is unlikely to be an issue, and it will certainly be news that is welcomed across the league should Duncan continue to play.