The San Antonio Spurs are building their strongest team of the Tim Duncan era, and almost everyone is taking paycuts to do it.
Though Kawhi Leonard got his max contract, LaMarcus Aldridge took less money than he could get from Portland to sign with the Spurs (though it was technically still a max), Danny Green took a less-than-market-value deal to re-sign, David West gave up $US11 million to sign, and now Tim Duncan is doing the same.
Duncan, at 39 years old, was a free agent this summer, but his status was unknown after the Spurs lost in the first round of the playoffs.
According to David Aldridge, Duncan is holding off retirement and re-signing with the Spurs on a two-year, $US10 million deal:
Spurs housekeeping: working toward finaliIng two year deal for Tim Duncan ($US5M first year, player option for second year).
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 9, 2015
Even though players tend to take paycuts in the final stages of their careers, Duncan halving his salary from $US10 million last year to $US5 million next year is still significant. Duncan is coming off one of his best seasons in the last five years and rightfully earned an All-NBA Third Team spot. He is, amazingly, still one of the best big men in the NBA.
Duncan’s willingness to sacrifice money stands out, too, compared to other players who have gotten “legacy” type deals from their teams. Kobe Bryant is on the final year of a two-year, $US48 million deal he got from the Lakers, despite age and injury concerns. Dwyane Wade won his stand-off with the Heat and got a one-year, $US20 million deal this summer, even though next summer he’ll likely be forced into a paycut.
Age will be a concern for the Spurs this year. Duncan will turn 40 next April, Manu Ginobili (who will re-sign soon) will turn 38 this summer, West will turn 35 this summer, Tony Parker will turn 34 next May, and Aldridge will turn 30 this summer. Fatigue and injuries could be a real problem for the Spurs, despite the common notion that they’re ageless.
Still, the Spurs roster is stacked, and if Duncan and co. can stave off decline one more season, they immediately become title contenders again this season.
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