Back around mid-January, there was much speculation about Spurs forward Tim Duncan’s shelf life as a member of the San Antonio Spurs coming to a close.
He looked like he was continuing to deteriorate and had become slower and less effective. Then, in late February and early March, Duncan found another gear and spectators saw layups become powerful dunks. While most expected that to be just one throwback game, Duncan started stringing together more and more strong games and he hasn’t stopped yet.
The Tim Duncan that looked to be on his last legs and likely in the last year of his career, found more than another gear, he may have discovered a few more years.
Duncan recently spoke to former Express-News beat writer, and current Yahoo Sports editor Johnny Ludden about adjusting to a role change with the Spurs.
“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.”
Ludden also asked Duncan about possibly signing likely his last contract extension.
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.”
While Duncan does have a few years left, you have to wonder if he might opt for an exit similar to David Robinson’s if Duncan wins his fifth championship this season.
But then again, the chance of a repeat could be enough to keep number 21 on the court and off the rafters.