Duncan = The Big Discount?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Tim Duncan’s Hall of Fame credentials are set. His legacy needs no polishing at this late stage of his magnificent career.

And yet Duncan continues to shine.

He’s doing it this time without even touching the court. By taking a whopping 54 percent pay cut to remain with the Spurs, he abstained from the summer’s free-agent-palooza and allowed the Spurs to maintain their financial flexibility. That helped San Antonio keep its core group intact as it tries to mount one last championship run in the Duncan era.

As Jeff McDonald of the Express News reports, there was no need for a negotiating session:

“I’m an awful negotiator,” Duncan said, chuckling. “My agent was mad at me the whole time.”

Duncan was on hand at the Spurs’ practice facility Tuesday for the start of his 16th NBA training camp. That would have been surprising only if the notoriously casual dresser had arrived in something out of Craig Sager’s wardrobe.

Though technically a free agent for about a week in early July, the 36-year-old Duncan said he never seriously considered retirement and never remotely entertained the idea of playing elsewhere.

“I’ve been here for so long,” said Duncan, who took no calls from rival teams. “This is home for me.”

That’s a welcome statement for NBA observers who still cringe at the memory of Hakeem Olajuwon in a Toronto Raptors jersey or Patrick Ewing in Seattle SuperSonics green.

Taking that pay cut means Duncan instantly became The Big Discount. With his reported $9.6 million salary, Duncan moves from near the top of the league’s earnings list to a new spot behind the likes of Al Jefferson and Carlos Boozer, solid big men who will both earn $15 million this season but won’t rank anywhere near Duncan when their careers are over.

Two Gordons, Eric ($13.6) and Ben ($12.4), will both earn more than Duncan this season, as will Hedo Turkoglu ($11.8), Corey Maggette ($10.9), DeAndre Jordan and even former Spurs swingman Richard Jefferson ($10.1).

That doesn’t include the four amnestied players — Brandon Roy, Gilbert Arena, Elton Brand and Rashard Lewis — all of whom will earn between $21 (Roy) and $15 (Lewis) million for not playing with the teams that owed them that money. Arenas isn’t even on anyone’s training camp roster.

In an era when folks love to poke players for being all about the “Benjamins,” Duncan deserves some credit for being about everything but his own bottom line!


  1. venusdoom669 says:

    tim obviously had taken a lot from pop in terms of being a great interview. very direct, honest and hilariously funny (double jeopardy there!) but kidding aside, the guy’s all about winning and not about about the benjamins. more power to timmy and the spurs. hope yo meet the greens (CELTICS!) in the finals. now that would be one for the ages (no pun intended)!

  2. NY fan says:

    Duncan is the best Big Man that ever played in the NBA because he can post up and also shoot bank shots and hook shots effectivley, not to mention his amazing defense on the pick and roll and one on one post up defending skills.

    The spurs had an amazing team and I was always a spurs fan every since Duncan came even though I live in NY and love the Knicks. When the spurs and knicks made it to the NBA finals in 1999, it was one of my favorite NBA finals match up I ever watched because at the time NY knicks had the best shooting Guard during that year, Allen Houston put up better numbers than Kobe Bryant statisically and the big games that the knicks needed to win, Allen Houston shot over 50% from 3 point putting up many 40 and over 50 point games.

    But when it came down to who is the best player in the NBA Duncan won league MVP and Finals MVP shooting over 80% in field goal percentage and playing hard defense and showing his post up skills that nobody cant guard him.

  3. WaltLA says:

    I’m a Laker fun but I recognize greatness when I see it. Duncan a great player and worthy to be imitated.

  4. Lakers4Life says:

    I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say that he’s the greatest PF of all time.

  5. Damien says:

    I don’t really get it : making such a case of a paycut. Don’t get me wrong : it’s refreshing to see this kind of behaviour from the part of a veteran in a league full of greedy players and owners (remember the lockout anyone ?). But still, Duncan made hundreds of millions during his career and what can’t you do with 9 millions that you can with 19 or 20 ?
    That’s why I was very surprised by the whole Harden issue : if this guy is clever, he would take an extension for less than his market value… He’ll enjoy a hell of a team and will be part of a dynasty (and still be a millionaire…).
    The problem is that the AMerican mentality is all about having a lot, not for what you can do with it, but to show other people you have more than them… Nonsense.
    By the way, I’m not surprised Duncan did this : than ‘team first’ spirit is what should have given the Spurs the title last year and hopefully will this time around.

  6. Tony says:

    I’ m not even spurs fan, but Duncan is best power forward in NBA history so far, don’t hate the player, hate the game

  7. smileylb says:

    I’ve always hated the “player” T. Duncan because in his prime, he was a force to be reckoned with. But, he has always shown this side of him off the court. One of few remaining NBA players left who plays strictly for the love of the game.

  8. If he did not take a pay cut would the Spur keep him?

  9. Kamote says:

    For LBJ fans trying to compare TD’s move with LBJ… I do hope you all considered that with the tax incentives in Miami and LBJ’s Nike contracts… he is still earning than most max players… so glorifying The Decision as “sacrificing money” is a lot of BS… Bottom line is LBJ wants to win, and his way is to quit the team built around him and team up with other superstars (though all of them still has to reach their prime)… and he won… so thats it… on to the next season

  10. Stu says:

    The fact that TD has taken a pay cut shows not all NBA players care about their salary and that winning is the ultimate goal.

  11. mario says:

    duncan is one of the alltime greats! an older version of durant

  12. big wild says:

    tim made 21$ million last year..remember he took a paycut on his last contract extension, gave the Spurs $10 million, which ultimately led to signing RJ (no return on that investment). TD is the ultimate professional athlete, no scandals, no legal issues, no sex scandals, great team player, excellent leader, humble, competitive, respectable family man. what did the fans get back? Since 1997, the Greatest Power Forward to ever play in the NBA, and in my opinion Top 5 Greatest of All Time.

  13. Butch says:

    Yeah, Jose. Hakeem and Ewing did not leave bec of “salary concerns but bec their former teams could not afford to pay their outrageous salaries when their playing careers are on the decline. They should know and be gentlemen, like Duncan, to take a pay cut when they know their playing times are shortened and almost over; and their talents are drastically reduced bec of age &/or injuries; and that there are younger, more talented teammates on their roster. Hooray to Tim for being one and his big sacrifice be emulated by athletes everywhere. Team loyalty is a rare thing among athletes today. All they want is money period.

  14. chris says:

    tim duncan took the same paycut that david robinson and sean elliot took before him

  15. chris says:

    kevin garnett should not even be in the same catagory with tim duncan he could not win with the wolves so he jumped ship tim duncan best power forward of all time kg a trader who cant make anyone better kg cryed about rasho and tim duncan won a championchip with him kg is a baby who blams everyone but himself

  16. MC Funk says:

    People say Tim is underated….i don’t think so…

    Everybody knows what a champion he is (he has 4 of them)

    Everybody knows he is a team player (continually sacrafices his own game for the players around him)

    The only difference between Tim and the likes of LeBron is that Tim doesnt make it all about Tim.
    He doesn’t need an advertising campaign to make you believe the hype, he just goes about it with a great attitude and takes everybody who wants to be a part of it along for the ride.

    He gets results, and doesnt tell you how good he is along the way

    When tims old and grey, he will look back on his career with zero regrets…

    I guess its no surprise that he is the work of David Robinson…
    San Antonio is blessed to have 2 Legends like them grace their town

  17. Terrence says:

    His game is worth what he gets payed. Duncan has been put on the back burner by the Spurs for the past like 3 seasons, i don’t know how people are not recognizing this. It’s going to be so sad seeing Manu and Tony go through this in like 6/7 seasons.

  18. Jeffx21 says:

    Yes many players have taken a cut, Lebron, KG etc etc, but how many stayed true to the team that drafted them. That list is a lot shorter. I think this puts Tim in a league of his own (with perhaps a few others). I think there are a couple of others in the league, (Durant and DRose) that may well follow in his footsteps, but harder to do all this in a small league city. Well done Tim, not that 9.6 million is to be sneezed at, sometimes honor is more important than money, and thinking about the people that support the Spurs and the other Spurs players in the team before financial gain is to be applauded. It is always important no matter who you are to realize that with Big money comes Big responsibility. I am a Bulls fan but have always enjoyed what Tim has brought to the game. Kudos to you Tim!

  19. Amused says:

    Tim Duncan is awesome, and his attitude and personality are always inspiring. More than any professional athlete in any sport over the past two decades, Tim is all about his team. This is, in fact, at least the second, maybe the third, time he has willing shaved off a chunk of his salary so the Spurs could remain competitive. What a great person, as well as a great basketball player.

    All of which brings us to a key player on another humble yet hungry roster who seems to care far more about his team than the money: that would be James Harden. For all the fear and uncertainty that seem to be surrounding Harden’s impending free agency, don’t be surprised to see the reigning Sixth Man of the Year emulate Timmy, and be willing to take far less than he could get elsewhere, in order to help the Thunder keep moving forward.

  20. AJ says:

    Duncan deserves some serious respect for that move. Imagine Latrelle Sprewell feeding his kids off of that …..

  21. vesko says:

    I am laker fan all my life….. but you MUST respect and love Duncan…. he is one of a kind… he does what is best for team…

  22. Jibi says:

    I hate Spurs but Duncan definitely shows something else. What a character. I hope young NBA stars still know the value of being loyal to the team.

  23. Chris says:

    Being a Spurs fan makes me happy enough, but hearing this about Tim Duncan inlight of all those cash grabbing self centre players makes me feel even better. There is a reason why he will be remembered as one of the best ever players. you cant beat Tim Duncan’s team Attitude…

  24. jebem jebem jebat cu ko procita i njega cu says:

    tim duncan 9 million , omer asik 8 million lol , but if duncan is really such a good guy and he cares about his team and he already made a lot of money for 10 good lifes why he didnt took 1 million and let them sign another ”superstar” and make them a lot better , and its obvious he couldnt get a contract that he had before because he is not that good now and hes a lot older so this is not modest move at all from duncan

  25. lou says:

    Rav..stfu loser

  26. karoLT says:

    So much RESPECT for a player like TIM. a rarity nowadays with stars.

  27. alas... says:

    The Big “Humble”?

  28. t-truth says:

    he took a pay cut and still getting paid well, plus he’s been in the league long enough to have a boat load of money stashed specially since he doesnt blow money on suits or jewelry or high end clothes for that matter, probably drives a rav4. tim duncan is all about the penny.

  29. Sam says:

    Tim duncan fan. Its fundamental to respect the big fundamental but this article is not justified at all. At this stage of his career, he is an injury away from disaster. I think they gave him his worth, I don’t know how people think Duncan is a max guy at this stage of his career, 54 percent cut! – really? ridiculous. So he was supposed to be earning 20 million while Lebron is earning 16 or 17. This is exaggerated too much to look dramatic. That being said Tim Duncan is awesome and well worth the 10 mil he is getting- nothing more!

  30. Yazzie says:

    Timmy doing it again and fitting so that he should because if tony n manu didnt do the paycut at first then there never would be the spur dinesty that was winning a trophy every other year duncan is one of the best player to show the younger generation how it needs to be done way to go Duncan next step for you wen you call it quits is the hall of fame TIMMY!!

  31. charles says:

    Tim Duncan always seemed like a guy that flows to the beat of his own drummer, is an independent thinker, and thinks more holistically than your “average joe”. The guy inspires amazing loyalty from the Spurs nation. They love him, and that is money too. Goodwill counts. After his playing days are over, he has a career in that area for life. If he starts anything, it will be gold. His reputation translates to goodwill and goodwill translates to real “benjamins” over a lifetime. Some people think hard about how much they made over their careers and forget about how much they make over a lifetime. But the bottom line is we can’t take it with us. We came in this world naked and we will leave it naked. The only thing we can leave is a lasting legacy. And in the end, what’s bigger and more important than that?

  32. bizzman23 says:

    Tim Duncan is a bonafide HOF, one of the greatest players to ever play the game. I just dislike when fans bring the talk of loyalty from a player. Why should a player continue to play in a city if the team stinks, they continually bring in abysmal talent to help the star sell tickets I mean win games, but when that player decides to go ie (Lebron and Howard), owners and fans call foul. Change the perspective of things and imagine the player doesn’t play up to his expectations, then what happens the player gets traded or the player will be cut. People scream loyalty about Tim Duncan uh the Spurs were NBA champs by his third year, who would leave that type of a team. Then went on to win 3 more titles, why would Tim Duncan have ever left the Spurs when they were always contenders, when compare the Spurs to the Magic and Cavs rosters you would still be confused on how those 2 teams were able to make the finals. Timmy D HOF.

    • Both the Magic and Cavs made it to the Finals. The Cavs had the best record in the entire league a couple of times, and the Magic were consistently a top 4 team in the eastern conference. Now I do agree that they didn’t get any superstars to complement James or Howard, but their teams were contenders. So in essence, what they could have done instead of taking a pay cut to go to another team; they could have taken a pay cut with their original teams so that they would have had salary cap space to sign superstars to help get them over the hump without them having remove themselves as the face of those franchises.

      • chigchig says:

        those franchises never made any moves to show they wanted to be contenders though.. if not for howard and james they dont sniff playoffs much less having hte best record in the league or make finals.. you cant say that aobut the spurs with manu and parker there killing it..

        compare casts and history and u can easily see the spurs have a defined culture and always making moves to keep them in the hunt.. (bring in RJ (didnt work out but he was a boss in his day) bringin in capn jack who is doing well for them..
        the best they gave bron was mo will and an old as antwan even tho they had a chance to get amare and didnt..
        the magic are even worse.. they had a good team.. let one of there top players that played well with howard go (Hedo) then when he came back he wasnt the same.. besides that what else did they give him?

      • bizzman23 says:

        Taking a paycut they paid big dollars to Turk and Richardson.

      • bizzman23 says:

        exactly chigchig you know basketball, if you could have some how got Amare and didn’t still confuses me. You would have paired Lebron and Amare on the same team would have been very nice as Lebron would have had a good 2nd option and then a 3rd with mo. Lebron may have been able to make a run with those 2 as his suporters. I don’t buy into the media bashing stud he’s still one of the best PF in the game and Mike Woodson will have him playing defense this year.

  33. Realistic says:

    I hope that many of you know that the neither the spurs nor any other team would have ever offered him the previous contract that he had because he is not nearly as good as he use to be. One of the best bigman of all time but is not that good any more.

  34. Rav says:

    Timmy D’s a great player, but we’re showing a bit too much love here. Plenty of NBA players have taken ‘pay cuts’. To begin with, Duncan’s salary would have to be at least a bit lower than on his previous contract, because he’s not worth $21 million a year any more.

    Who else has done the same? Kevin Garnett took a pay cut (in the same set of circumstances) this off-season of 45%. And these two are players who have been with the same team for a while (which sort of adds in a ‘hometown discount’), and are veterans who have been paid the maximum salary for most of their careers (both have collected over $200 million in salary; endorsements and investments probably double that). Taking a reduced salary does not affect them one bit, except for allowing them to stack their team for another title run. You know who else took a salary cut to help his team? Lebron James. One could make the argument that not paying players their salary worth (i.e. players taking discounts) is an unfair advantage, tantamount to cheating (I wouldn’t say so myself though).

    I have more appreciation for those who take lower salaries in their prime. Courtney Lee rebuffed higher offers from other teams to play for the Celtics (yes, I’m a Celtics fan, that’s why I have a bunch of Celtics examples). Marquis Daniels signed with Boston some years ago for the Bi-Annual Exception ($2million per year, 2 years), when he could have probably got an $18 million/4 years contract somewhere else. Now, after career-threatening injuries, he’s without an NBA contract. That’s somebody who actually gave up something when he took a pay cut.

    P.S. I’m not hating on Duncan here (love him as a player), but credit should go where credit is due. And really, there’s nothing special about what TD has done here.

    • Rav, for once in all the time I’ve ever blogged here I’m compelled to easily agree with someone. But you must admit, the man is a genious. Firstly, he got some publicity from this stunt, he gets the fans on his side, and is trying to make a statement. However to your point unlike others i.e. Lebron that chose to do it at his prime, not when one of his feet is already out the door does kind of make you pause and chuckle. Tim did a “good” deed and he should receive some recognition, but the question that I’m trying to figure out in my mind is “who” did he do the good deed for? the fans are feeling great and all honored, but how did he help them? This guy still banks millions while we the fans still pay to see him play…And, at the end of the day, all he helped was himself, his step isn’t the same, can’t contend with the futre fast paced style league, so how do you keep yourself in the game, you market yourself for what your worth. All goods depreciate, he just followed basic economics, blended with some common sence. Aged player, used to a system doesn’t want to start over anywhere else, maybe buy a new house in a new place, no more free Burger King, gotta close down the oil rig, all this adds up to about the same he would either lose or pay to play somewhere else, so he figures I’ll just stay here and take the pay cut straight up and save myself the headache. FYI, Rye I used LBJ as the example becasue well obviously I’m a heat fan…btw, sorry we took Ray from you guys…NOT REALLY! GO CHAMPS…I SMELL REPEAT!

    • sshhh says:

      But Sekou didn’t write about KG or Courtney Lee, and no writer would choose to write about Lebron’s pay cut because there’s more to write about him.

      This article is for Tim.

      When they write article for KG, then maybe well give some love too.

    • artifex says:

      Good point, fascinating how differently sports fans can look on the same situation. For Duncan it’s admirable devotion, for LeBron it’s cheating. Admittedly, the circumstances are not the same – Tim to stick with his team, LeBron putting the back on his’. But nevertheless…
      Though I feel that enough is dicussed about The Decision, that would be an interesting topic of a phychology thesis… Nowitzki fits as second example in the “Tim-category” (took less in 2010 to stick with Dallas, good thing he did). Anyone thinking of an upset-take-less-goer (EXCEPT RAY ALLEN – why did he do this? – and HEAT AGAIN!!, or Kidd, whatever he would have gotten in Dallas this year…)

    • Califan says:

      I don’t necessarily agree, but still this is a great comment.

    • NHbleedsGREEN says:

      Not showing too much love friend just giving mad respect which he deserves!
      You hit the nail onthe head with KG though…

  35. arshdeep toor says:

    wow duncan is a true basketball player that stuck with his team from day one and alot of basketball players are selfish for their money he knows hes getting older took the lesser money that is what i call a good person and a hall of famer

  36. julius says:

    this is the reason why your my idol not just as a player but also as a person… quiet, humble, you play the game plain and simple and had a very productive nba career…

  37. jayd says:

    jord, last season was shortened because of money.sure he got enough money for playing what he loves but a lot of players doesn’t do what timmy just did.and that’s one thing about timmy that defines his decorated career.,

  38. TIM DUNCAN thank you for puttin san anto on the map…..—————————–you made great memories for my mom and me …something that no one can take away……………………..thank you.

  39. android 10000000 says:

    i love you timmy,beat okc this season and win the title back to san antonio

  40. Rich says:

    At this point of his career, I think the fair offer he would get is between 12-13M, or at best $15M. I don’t understand where the 50%+ discount came from. Nevertheless, this guy for me has the best player character/demeanor all-time.

  41. mo says:

    WOW, even if he is making 10 million this year, to take a 54 percent cut truly speaks volume. I can’t imagine anyone else doing this, including us average joes. Who would go to their boss and say “hey so I decided to take a cut so I could continue working here.”

  42. lalalalala says:

    What has NBA come to? DUNCAN, I respect you dearly….Players now a day are heartless and selfish

    • artifex says:

      For many you are unfortunately right. But even in this big money business there are several that give a lot to others, some maybe for good publicity but several give not only money but also their time and effort. I think of Mutombo, Sam Dalembert, Zo Mourning, Chandler and Pau with UNICEF. Reading their stories makes me know, it’s not all bad…

  43. EJ says:

    Much respect for a player like Tim Duncan.

  44. shelpoke says:

    who in the world can dare to do this ? Mainly when you have a career like Tim D. People out there are sooo focussed on negotiating on every penny.
    He is really a true champion and lover of his own team. If they win a championship this year, thet better give him all that money.

    • lbj says:

      LeBron did. He did not leave cleveland for money he left cleveland bec he wants to get a ring like duncan stayed in spurs bec he thinks spurs can still win championship so they are both the same attitude and good player too!

  45. Joe Miller says:

    There will never be another as him, who in this Money league would do what he has done

    Sent from my iPhone

  46. Jose says:

    Just for the record, Ewing and Olajuwon did not left their respective teams because of salary issues.

    • Oldenn says:

      I also wondered why they made a point out of Ewing and Olajuwon. Its easy to understand why reporters and fans wants a player to stay loyal with his franchise to the “bitter end”. But there are some valid reasons to leave sometimes, and not every player is as lucky as Duncan who was draftet into a not only a good franchise, but a very good situation with David Robinson as a mentor.

    • D man says:

      Yeah, they were old and washed up. All players decline at the end of their career and if they want to keep playing they take garbage time on a garbage team.

  47. LUCAS says:


  48. netsurfer says:

    with what he just did, tim duncan is a basketball player by heart. the spurs are lucky to have a player like him.

  49. jord245 says:

    as if he’ll struggle at 9.6 million

    • Belizeboy says:

      Don’t be jealous.

    • sshhh says:

      He’s worth more than $9.6M and he won’t struggle with $9.6M.
      Whether he struggles with $9.6M, that’s beside the point of the article.
      Please don’t read an article, try to understand it.

    • sshhh says:

      He’s worth more than $9.6M and he won’t struggle with $9.6M.
      Whether he struggles with $9.6M, that’s beside the point of the article.
      Please don’t just read an article, try to understand it too.

    • Imad Akel says:

      I feel for his agent lol. 9.6M for duncan? That’s a frigging steal.
      I wonder what SA will do with the cap space…