Tim Duncan: ‘I’m a Spur for Life’

by May 28, 2012

Tim Duncan will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and not that there was ever any doubt about what his basketball future was, but Duncan wants the world to know one more time that he has absolutely no desire to leave San Antonio. It is home, after all. Per Yahoo! Sports: “I heard we were dead,’ Duncan said. Duncan laughed. He was sitting at the Spurs’ practice facility, two days before the start of these conference finals. Gregg Popovich walked past and chided him for sharing a private moment with a reporter. Across Duncan’s 15 NBA seasons, the only coach he’s known is Popovich. The Spurs’ All-Star guards – Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili – have played with Duncan for 11 and 10 seasons, respectively. This isn’t normal. Not in today’s pack-for-South-Beach NBA. So, yes, Duncan wondered. He wondered whether Ginobili would eventually want a bigger role. He wondered whether Parker, in what Duncan likes to call “his Hollywood years,” wanted a bigger market. And he wondered whether his own body would allow him to keep playing at the level he needed. ‘But we’ve all found a home here in San Antonio,’ Duncan said, ‘and we all love it here.’ They’ve stayed for one simple reason: ‘It works,’ Duncan said. ‘There’s no two ways about it. If something doesn’t work, you break it up and you do something else. We’ve all accepted our roles, we’ve evolved over the years and we’ve all been happy with it because we believe.’ […] The Spurs weren’t sure whether this would be Duncan’s final season, and neither was he. His left knee routinely ached a year ago, limiting both his minutes and his effectiveness. ‘I got to the point where I was depressed and pissed off that my body wasn’t doing the things that it used to do, and that I was deteriorating skill-wise,’ he said. ‘I’m a competitor. I want to be a staple on a team, I want to be a go-to guy on a team. When that changed, that obviously hurt a little bit. But I found ways to be a part of this team and be a big part of this team.’ […] While Kobe Bryant and Alex Rodriguez went to Europe to have platelet-rich plasma therapy on their arthritic knees last summer, Duncan stayed home – ‘I don’t think I’m cool enough,’ he said. ‘You have to be an A-Rod or a Kobe to get invited to Germany’ – and adjusted his offseason workouts. […] Duncan now says it’s realistic to expect him to play another year or two. Three or four years, he thinks, would be a stretch, even in his improved condition. This much is certain: He has little interest in testing the free-agent market when his contract ends after this season, negotiating leverage be damned. ‘Though I shouldn’t say that; I have to threaten them that I’ll leave,’ he joked. ‘No … I’m not going anywhere. You can print that wherever you want to. I’m here and I’m a Spur for life.’”