Duncan, Ginobili not looking at exit

VIDEO: Duncan talks about his future, closing out the Heat

SAN ANTONIO — Maybe it’s human nature. We like to write endings to other people’s stories.

But just because it might fit into a neat narrative, don’t think that the chance to raise another NBA championship trophy over their heads sometime in the next week should automatically mean Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will walk out the door and bring an end to the era of the Spurs’ Big Three.

“I don’t have any plans on doing anything,” the 38-year-old Duncan said Saturday. “I’m going to figure it out when it comes. I’m not saying I’m retiring. I’m not saying I’m not retiring. I’m not saying anything. I’m going to figure it out as it goes. I’ve always said if I feel like I’m effective, if I feel like I can contribute, I’ll continue to play. Right now I feel that way, so we’ll see what happens.

Duncan, who is finishing his 17th NBA season, just passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and has now played more playoff minutes (8.869) than any player in history. His 10 points and 11 rebounds in Game 4 of The Finals also moved him ahead of Magic Johnson with 158 double-doubles for the postseason record.

“I don’t have a time frame,” Duncan said. “I don’t think about it. Whatever people are saying or who has insight on whatever, they’re getting it from somewhere else because I haven’t told anybody anything nor have I thought about it in any respect.”

Ginobili dismissed the rumor out of hand.

“You have no data to support that,” he said. “You haven’t talked to any of us to support that. It’s just irrelevant. At this point we are focused on the next game.”

Their 32-year-old partner Tony Parker said he has had no indication that the gang is on verge of breaking up and that he’s looking forward to being on the court with Duncan again next season.

“I know he’s got one more year on his contract, and he loves being with us, loves playing basketball,” Parker said. “Either way, whatever he decides, I’ll support him. But if I have to choose, obviously, I would love him to keep going. I love playing with him.”

For what it’s worth, coach Gregg Popovich has said that he expects Duncan will one day just decide the game is no longer fun and then — “probably in the third quarter of game” — will just walk off the court. Popovich said he’d be “10 minutes behind” Duncan.

But the only coach that Duncan has ever had in the NBA did not sound like he was expecting it all to end, no matter what the outcome of The Finals.

“I don’t feel tired,” Popovich said. “I mean, I’m tired today, but I mean in general. I’d like to continue to coach.”

Beyond this year?

“Sure,” he said. “I didn’t think I was going to have to answer those kind of questions today.”

The questions have been swirling for at least five years as the outside world mistakenly viewed the Spurs’ time as past.

“We’ve been on our last run for the last five or six years from how everyone wants to put it,” Duncan said. “We show up every year, and we try to put together the best teams and the best runs possible because what people say doesn’t matter to us.

“As I said, as long as we feel we’re being effective, we’re going to stay out here and we’re going to play. We feel like we can be effective, and we have been.

“With the front office putting the teams together that we’ve had and us playing smaller roles and our roles changing over the years, and us happy to accept the roles that we’re in, I feel we can do it until we feel we don’t want to do it anymore.”

VIDEO: Popovich addresses the media before Sunday’s Game 5


  1. edlaing says:

    at least two of the factors in the press treatment of SA are: a) ‘reporters’ are drones who repeat what they are told by their information suppliers (in this case, the NBA), and b) the NBA is interested in promoting the league as a whole, so they hype various ‘stars’ around the country (if you are honest, you’ll admit that LBJ is nowhere as great as the ink/pixels lauding him) and downplay smaller markets like San Antonio.

  2. Carlo says:

    During the last 4/5 years, media kept talking about how ‘Melo was huge, about how James was great, about how Durant was awesome and… about how the Spurs were old.
    This, during the regular season(s). Then, at the end of each regular season, media looked astonished by the Spurs being always there at the top of all rankings and in the playoffs and often well deep into them. Oh, yes, when they were out of the playoffs immediately the “Spurs are old & finished” mantra started again.
    Ok, we all know that most of the media guys have to make a living delivering at least a few written lines every day, wether they can think a clever thing or not but… Why ALWAYS the same, lame thing?
    I mean, why not – for example – comparing players’ dress code? (I’d suggest life imprisonment for Westbrook’s dressing consultant, if he has one.) Or food preferences? These silly issues would be at least more originals than “ageing Spurs” blah-blah.
    Why media do not speak about how well Ray Allen is ageing? Why they don’t say each year “He’s retiring! No, wait. Almost. Yes! No. Ops! Ok, next time…”

    Egoistically, I’d like to see these palyers getting along well at least another 30 years. But that’s fairly unrealistic, I’m afraid.
    Rationally, I think Spurs’ biggest (future) problem won’t be replace Duncan or Ginobili but Popovich, while keeping his coaching style and culture alive. That’s what makes the Spurs the Spurs.

  3. Kobe-James-Melo-Love-Nash says:

    Even Spurs are an international team, they still manage to be united and full of team work.. Keep it up Spurs.. Get it on Game 5..

  4. dave500 says:

    Im think they want to ewin this sunday and then make trhe back to back the next year to compesate the mistake from 2013 againts lebro and 2012 againts ock,

    go spurs go, i wish to see all the team and fans happy with that “jugo bonito basketall”its justice


    Spurs have succeed due to their coaching to play team basketball. players that constitute at this moment their bench will continue this legacy even when the 3 big retire.

  6. vince gomez says:

    Tim, manu and tony are anomalies in the basketball world. If kawhi will join in, they will the beatles of the nba. I predict the big 3 will be playing until tony call it quits or maybe another 3 or 4 seasons more. The 3 guys can do since kawhi will be man who will carry the load for them. THIS IS THE ONLY TIME WHEN YOU CAN SURELY SAY THAT A NUMBER OF CHEFS REALLY MAKES A VERY GOOD BREW. GO SPURS GO. Sunday is Spurs Trophy Day.

  7. ernst says:

    The longest BIG THREE ERA 0f NBA plus Unique and Great Motivator coach. CONGRAT’S SPURS!!

  8. nofilter says:

    how about LJ, D-wade, CB 8 years from now? they are not going to play like timmy and manu this days. im sure of it.

  9. prahumac says:

    i think the trio of spurs presence it self is enough to boost their bench and start winning games for their team!

  10. LeChoke says:

    i’ve been a spurs fan since TimmyD came into the league, sure he doesn’t need to win another championship to prove anything, but if he does come back next year. it might the be the best chance for the Spurs to finally REPEAT.

  11. Michael says:

    I’m still trying to figure out how Duncan didn’t make All-NBA or All-Defensive teams this year. The Spurs had the best record in the league, ranked 5th offensively, and 4th offensively. Parker made All-NBA 2nd team, and Leonard made All-Defensive 2nd team, but I think Duncan deserved a place on both teams as well. His numbers were only slightly down from last season, when he made All-NBA 1st team and All-Defensive 2nd team, and the Spurs won more games this year.

  12. SPURS Fan from the Philippines says:

    Greatness is not about how many rings/accomplishments you’ve had. It’s how many respects you’ve gain over the years. All respects and credits goes to a TEAM who’ve not shown arrogance for once, a team built with so much COMPOSURE and HUMBLENESS…that’s the LEGACY the SPURS have built in the history of NBA!!!…go SPURS go!!!..
    Pop, the big 3, and the rest of the roster might retire sooner or later, but their legacy will live forever in the NBA…
    ..STAY on your FEET..

  13. LARRY MURDAUGH says:


  14. MACKOY says:

    5 more contract for Tim Duncan in Spurs…

  15. Gillsy says:

    The Spurs are lucky. They build the team around the Robinson. Timmy came in and has been the glue to the team with Manu and Tony. Now they have found Leonard who will be their next franchise player. They great part is that Timmy and Manu can play for the next few seasons cause Pop doesn’t make them play big minutes and looks after them so well. How many times have you seen Timmy play 5 minutes in the second half of games cause they are up by 20 and they have such a deep bench.

    • Mike says:

      Luck has nothing to do with it.

      • crazygirl888 says:

        luck as in, if the pingpong balls had landed on any other team that year… no ducan on the spurs, or if ducan had left for Orlando in FA all those years ago

  16. Unkle Daddy says:

    I’m hoping for a few more years, I don’t see why not. Call me if Miami’s big three are still together and been this effective for 12 seasons.

  17. Willy Spurd says:

    Timmy can’t retire until they get another BIG to fill his shoes. One or two more seasons they will shatter all the records, or set them even higher, tough to beat them, but thats not important is it? Can’t believe the press is asking questions like this.

  18. Mahmoud Radfar says:

    All of Spurs are in the best possible shape. For sure they are wise enough not to break this strong bond. It is extremely tough to build a championship team! Spurs have made it and will continue their journey into the future.