Welcome to the Daily NBA Fix for Saturday, June 14, one day before the Larry O’Brien Trophy makes its first appearance at the NBA Finals.
The San Antonio Spurs are one win away from clinching the franchise’s fifth NBA title, returning home for Game 5 on Sunday with a commanding 3-1 lead.
But the business of basketball is already rearing its head in San Antonio, as reports out of South Texas say venerable Spurs star Tim Duncan is facing a June 24 deadline for his decision to pick up his $10.3 million option for 2014-15.
The way it looks, the Spurs are set up for one more run with their core—as the contracts of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, as well as coach Gregg Popovich and Duncan, all expire after the 2014-15 season, provided Duncan opts in.
The early deadline could be important for San Antonio, as they would know Duncan’s status before the June 26 NBA Draft, as well as having the ability to plan for free agency.
The 38-year-old Duncan played just 29.2 minutes per game this season, a career low, but was still productive, averaging 15.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, three assists and 2.2 blocks per game and shooting 49 percent from the floor and 73.1 percent from the line.
His workload has increased to 32.7 minutes so far in the playoffs and he is averaging 16.4 points 9.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 blocks, shooting 52.4 percent.
Duncan is finishing up his 17th NBA season and still appears to have plenty left in the tank, particularly with Popovich so adroitly managing his minutes.
And I admit I’m finding myself rooting for Popovich and Duncan to go out together—Pop is the only coach Duncan has played for in the NBA and it almost seems fitting that they have a concurrent end.
The Daily NBA Fix will focus on the happenings around the Association. But first, a video celebrating the Spurs and their teamwork, set to Coldplay’s new hit, “A Sky Full of Stars”: