Over the past few seasons, San Antonio Spurs veteran Tim Duncan has repeatedly taken small contracts in order to help his team save cap space and pursue other players around the league.
This off-season, the Big Fundamental chopped his salary in half and took a $US5 million pay cut. As a result, the Spurs went out and nabbed LaMarcus Aldridge and David West in free agency, and were able to sign Kawhi Leonard to a max deal. Even in the brutal Western Conference, the Spurs are once again expected to make a deep playoff run.
Dan Favale of Bleacher Report shed some new light on just how valuable Duncan’s contract is by showing how many players in the NBA will make more money than the 5-time NBA champion. Although his original calculation listed two players twice, the results are still crazy: 153 other players — 153! — will make more money than Duncan this season.
Think about that for a second.
36-year-old Kobe Bryant played only 35 games last season and will make $US25 million this year on a Lakers team that will likely miss out on the playoffs. Duncan, on the other hand, earned an All-Star bid, averaging 13.9 points and 6 rebounds in 28 minutes over the course of the entire season. He may be 39 and on the verge of retirement, but as Byrant’s contract shows, age doesn’t necessarily correlate to smaller deals.
Plus, Duncan remains extremely valuable to San Antonio even if his minutes are cut severely. Simply by having 18 years of experience in Gregg Popovich’s system, Duncan will help Aldridge adjust to San Antonio and help build the team for the future.
And yet, Zaza Pachulia and Dion Waiters will both make more money than Duncan.
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