Focus will undoubtedly still be on the NBA Finals with the Spurs needing one more win.
San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan reportedly has until June 24 to notify the team on whether or not he intends to exercise his player option for next season.
The usual date for such opt-in decisions is June 30, just ahead of the free agency market opening, but the Spurs are understood to want to be in a position to first find out where the 38-year-old plans to be next season before then making arrangements for free agency and the draft.
While the Spurs hold a commanding 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals over the Miami Heat this year, there has been speculation that should they go on to win a fifth championship, both Duncan and coach Gregg Popovich would be tempted to walk away on a high.
However, both have a contract through to the end of the 2014/15 season, as do point guard Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, and it is suggested that the four pillars of the franchise will all remain for another season.
Nevertheless, Duncan has regularly deflected questions about his retirement, and insists that he doesn’t know when it will happen and just wants to focus on the more immediate future.
“I don’t know when I’m going to retire,” Duncan said at a news conference before Game 1 of the Finals, as reported by ESPN.
“I don’t know what the factors are going to be. I don’t know any of that and I don’t care about any of that stuff right now. It will happen when it happens.”
Duncan averaged just 29.2 minutes through the regular season as part of Popovich’s effort to rest his veterans for a long playoff run, and it appears to be going according to plan with the Spurs just one game away from avenging their heartbreaking loss in the Finals last year.
However, Malik Rose, a former team-mate and close friend of Duncan’s, believes that both the veteran forward and coach Popovich will leave the game together and it will spark a new era in San Antonio, but he isn’t sure that Duncan is ready for it all to end just yet.