Although Tim Duncan is in the twilight of his career, he’s still one of the centerpieces of what the Spurs do at both ends of the court. They need him back in the 2014-15 season but he’s got a player option on the table at $10.3 M. If he exercises it, the team heads in one direction. If he decides to end his illustrious career and retire, the franchise could go in a different direction.
The Spurs have some decisions to make this offseason but as per usual, General Manager R.C. Buford has the team in good shape. Of the key contributors, only Boris Diaw and Patty Mills are free agents (other than Duncan, potentially), which means the Spurs will retain their core. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Mills sign a free agent deal elsewhere as he’s had a coming out party in the Finals but only earned $1.13 M last season. He’ll be looking for a raise and might be looking at something like the $3.25 M Gary Neal signed for in a similar position. As for Diaw, he made $4.7 M this season and could probably be brought bought for a team-friendly deal in that neighborhood. The Spurs have enough cap space to bring those guys back if they want to but the question is whether or not Diaw and Mills will look for a bigger contract elsewhere or try and stick with a winning franchise.
The team’s other free agents include Matt Bonner, Shannon Brown, Damion James and Othyus Jeffers. They also have a team option for Austin Daye and can provide Aron Baynes with a qualifying offer.
One More Kick At
With head coach Gregg Popovich saying that he would like to continue coaching, it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see Duncan back and the Spurs taking one more kick at the can. After next season, Duncan is fully expiring, Parker’s contract is up, as is Manu Ginobili’s and Danny Green’s.
With Tiago Splitter in the fold and burgeoning superstar in Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs can continue to adjust. They won the most games in the regular season with Duncan, Parker and Ginobili playing less minutes and they could surely do it once more. They proved that they’re the deepest team in the league already and they could very well make that point once more in 2014-15.
The Spurs have won at least 50 games in every single season since 1999. With the same cast returning, it’s hard to envision them doing any worse than that. The only question is whether or not they’ll be as hungry as they were this year when they’re on their quest to repeat.