With five championships to his name, it would be easy for Tim Duncan to walk away now.
In his 15-year career, the British Virgin Islands native has kept the San Antonio Spurs in title contention while becoming a legend of the sport. The eventual retirement of Duncan, 38, may signal the end of his Big Three partnership with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili but for many basketball lovers, it will not be the end of the Spurs. While the majority of residents in the Cayman Islands are Miami Heat supporters who feel gutted over this year’s finals defeat, there are some San Antonio fans like Patrick Brendel who see nothing but bliss in Texas.
“The victory is redemption for 2013, legitimizes the franchise’s moves since 2007 and puts an exclamation point on the careers of Duncan, Ginobili and (head coach Gregg) Popovich,” Brendel said. “I feel pretty good about it. Because of his consistency, Duncan in my mind is the Spurs’ MVP for the regular season and playoffs as a whole. Duncan has officially entered Kareem Abdul-Jabbar territory; hopefully, he can play as well and as long.
“His retirement will be huge, especially because Ginobili and Popovich may step aside around the same time. But the retirement of Duncan’s and Ginobili’s contracts will also free up an unprecedented amount of money for the Spurs to play around with in free agency and the draft. Given the team’s history of doing a lot with a little, who knows what they’ll be able to do with a lot.
“The Spurs will pretty much keep the same players and should be competitive in the West again. I think the opportunity to “repeat” will be a major motivating factor. I don’t know much about the Heat. From what I’ve been hearing and reading, it seems it’s up to James to commit to trying for a fifth Finals in a row in Miami, demanding a change in supporting cast or taking his talents elsewhere. Any team that has James, particularly in the East, will be competitive for a championship ring.”
San Antonio clobbered the Heat, with many victories being lopsided – including last Sunday’s 17-point win in the fifth and final game of the series. The Spurs showcased a sensational offense and big performances from role players like Kawhi Leonard, the Finals MVP. Miami now faces an uncertain future with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all eligible for free agency this summer.