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Tim Duncan took a serious pay cut to get Spurs under tax line

Jul 26, 2012, 12:11 PM EST

San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan spreads his arms during a stop in play during their NBA basketball game in San Antonio, Texas Reuters

Last year, Tim Duncan was the third-highest paid player in the NBA at $21.5 million.

Next season he is going to make $9.65 million. Three other guys on the Spurs will make more than Duncan. And he’s good with that. He signed a three-year deal with raises from that level.

In an age where Andrew Bynum says he will play anywhere they have a bank, Duncan did the old school, very Duncan thing of taking a serious pay cut to help out the organization. Mike Monroe of the News-Express breaks it down on his Spurs blog.

By accepting an $11.5 million cut from the $21.15 million salary he earned last season, Duncan enabled the club to re-sign its most coveted free-agent players, add 2009 draftee Nando De Colo and still drop below the NBA’s projected luxury-tax threshold for next season….

A two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, the 36-year-old Duncan will see his salary rise to $10.36 million for the 2013-14 season. The team captain is guaranteed $10 million for the 2014-15 season, but he has an opt-out clause.

All of it was done quietly. Without fanfare. It was all very Duncan.

By the way, before you say “why doesn’t Kobe/LeBron/Howard/whoever do this to help out their team?” know that they cannot. Under the terms of the CBA, players cannot renegotiate existing contracts downward. You can’t do what you see quarterbacks in the NFL do and rework a contract to take less in the short term so the team can sign a decent receiver. NBA rules prohibit that.

But Duncan was a free agent and could sign whatever deal he wanted. And so he chose to do something very Tim Duncan. We are going to miss having this guy in the league in a few years.

  1. skids003 - Jul 26, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    What do you expect from him? He’s all class, and puts winning over the money. He’s a throwback athlete, not like all these divas nowadays.

  2. aboogy123456 - Jul 26, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Yea he isn’t getting paid $21 million a year anymore but if he got $21 mil a year for his new 3 year contract then that would be overpaying him IMO. He’s making half that, but considering his age and that he got a three year contract, I wouldn’t call it a pay cut, that’s right around what he should be making, good deal for both sides.

    • spellingcopfather - Jul 26, 2012 at 12:36 PM

      Are you kidding man, teams over pay R.Lewis, Boozer, Brand & you say Duncan contract now is about right!!! crazy i am pretty sure Houston, Dallas & Sixers would pay Duncan close to 21 mill atleast with Duncan you know he will bring his best game, every night unlike the 3 names i mention early in this comment!!

      • aboogy123456 - Jul 26, 2012 at 2:03 PM

        Read my comment, I said good deal for both sides. The list of contracts you just mentioned were good deals only for the player, not the organization.

        My argument is that this is not a pay cut, Duncan is still really good, but he’s not great, and it’s also nice for him to get a 3 year deal at his age. The contract is good in that it reflects what he’s worth NOW, which I understand is not very common in the NBA.

      • drunkenjunk - Jul 26, 2012 at 2:17 PM

        lol gtfo, the Mavs, Rockets and Sixers would not pay Duncan now 21 mil a year.

  3. geo91 - Jul 26, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Class act

  4. wildo05 - Jul 26, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    I believe that Kevin Garnett did the exact same thing for the Celtics?

  5. badintent - Jul 26, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    He isn’t putting up his old numbers , but he’s still a force. Thought the Spurs stop giving him his touches in the fourth quarters, went to too many 3 attempts and lost for that reason some games in playoffs.You could see on his face he was really upset that he was not getting the ball on the block. Got blame Manu and Tony for that.Just pay the man.

  6. miamatt - Jul 26, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    One of the all time greats, a class act, maybe the best power forward of all time.

  7. ajpurp - Jul 26, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    LeBron and the other two did take pay cuts for the heat when they initially signed. You really think LeBron is only worth 16 million when he’s the best player in the league and Kobe is making mid 20’s, I mean think about how many lesser players make more than him. Same with Dwyane and bosh, although they didn’t take quite as steep a paycut as they are not worth as much.

    • bougin89 - Jul 26, 2012 at 1:47 PM

      While I agree when talking about monetary value, Lebron should be the MVP/MPP(most paid player) but comparing Kobe’s contract and Lebron’s is more about a lack of understanding the CBA than anything. Lebron still took more money overall than what he could have gotten on the open market because the Heat and Cavs worked out a sign and trade. Same thing with Bosh. Kobe is allowed to make much more than Lebron. If Lebron could make 25 million a year I highly doubt he or any other player for that matter would turn it down.

      • bougin89 - Jul 26, 2012 at 1:54 PM

        I should restate that last sentence:

        If Lebron could make 25 million a year I highly doubt he or any other player in their prime earning potential would turn it down.

      • danglestaad - Jul 27, 2012 at 12:06 PM

        dude he took a pay cut.. he could have gotten way more in Cleveland and elsewhere

  8. sageandjudahsdad - Jul 26, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    C-L-A-S-S. plain and simple!

  9. ccshocktalk - Jul 26, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    And this is one way you can tell Duncan is from the old school and isn’t like these demanding young d-bags like Douche Howard and Andrew Whinum. Duncan had more game on both ends of the floor than either one of those two clowns will ever have combined.

  10. detroitrollin22 - Jul 26, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Im pretty sure Tim Duncan isn’t suffering because of this “serious pay cut.”

  11. raysfan1 - Jul 26, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Regardless, just another reason why Tim Duncan > Dwight Howard and always will be.

  12. charlutes - Jul 26, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Tim Duncan = Most awesome athlete of all time.

  13. malcom1985 - Jul 26, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    I don’t understand the hate people have for players getting paid. There’s life after the NBA. If you’re in a position to make more money than you could hope to spend in a single lifetime, why shouldn’t you? There isn’t one person here who would turn down the opportunity to make 20 million dollars a year. No one.

    Tim Duncan took a pay cut, big whoop. He’s made a lot of money in this league. He isn’t going broke any time soon. This is business, as owners/general managers like to remind players all too often, so don’t be surprised when players begin to conduct themselves accordingly. If it’s just business, get the best deal you can, negotiate. That’s all a part of business. People keep complaining about players attempting to get the most money they can out of each contract they sign, but I guarantee you if they were the one signing the contract, they sure as hell wouldn’t settle for pennies because it’s the “classy” thing to do.

  14. memphistigers311 - Jul 26, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    He is and stands for what every fan and every team dreams of having 5 of.

  15. 20dollardinners - Jul 26, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    I lived in SA for 11 years and TD really is the backbone of the team – even now. You have to look at players in the context of the system that play in. He is the inside presence that provides stability and enabled Parker and Ginobili to shine. He played less minutes so he could be fresh for the playoffs. Managing your game an season minutes is SMART basketball.

  16. tommyshih - Jul 26, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Kevin Garnett took a similar pay cut with the new $34MM/3yr contract he signed with the Celtics this summer. Last year he made $21,247,044. And by most advanced metrics KG was equal to or more effective player than Duncan was last year over 200+ more minutes played. Is this not worth mentioning or does it just not fit the narrative because Duncan is a “classy guy who sacrifices” and KG is a guy who “runs his mouth”? In reality both Duncan and KG just signed contracts approximately worth the value of their current level of basketball contributions (maybe slightly less), and last year’s salaries were just part of contracts paying for higher levels of play in previous years. That’s pretty much it, not this massive sacrifice narrative Monroe is pushing that Kurt has bought into.

  17. dysraw1 - Jul 26, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Timmy for president

  18. ajpurp - Jul 26, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Um all LeBron had to do was not sign? Look at what Dwight Howard and Bynum are going to make, look at what DWill just took. LeBron could have made way more than he’s making if he had chosen to, granted it isn’t as much as it would have been had he stayed in Cleveland but he had the choice to make much more exactly because he was a free agent? How do you think he’s taking more than he could have if he had shopped himself as a FA???

    • bougin89 - Jul 27, 2012 at 9:57 AM

      Lebron sacrificed 2.5 million a year. He could not have gotten the same amount if he didn’t do a sign and trade because teams can pay more resigning their own player than paying a free agent. Not only did he get an extra year guaranteed than he could have gotten as a free agent he also was able to get raises of 10% annually by resigning where as a free agent can not get quite as big of raises every year.

  19. ajpurp - Jul 26, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    I mean he wouldn’t have gotten the amount of years total but his per year average could have been much higher and actually earned him around that 70 mil over less years, he resigns at 30-31 whatever it would have been and he’s making more per year again. How does that not equal more total money unless u think LeBron would have fallen of a cliff by 31?

    • bougin89 - Jul 27, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      What are you even talking about? 70 million over less years? BTW Deron Williams, Howard, and Bynum will be getting roughly the same amount(plus the 2.5 million/yr Lebron gave up) except 1 year shorter due to the new CBA. Also Deron Williams re-signed with the Nets(he would not have gotten as much if he walked as a FA).

  20. bowwserr - Jul 27, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Can we please not turn a Tim Duncan post into a LeBron. argument? I love LeBron, but this is supposed to showcase how classy of a man Tim Duncan is, the hero he is to so many of us Spurs fans. Seein a post about one of our guys on here, especially Timmy, is awesome, because they never are the center of national attention. So can we at least try to keep all these big name stars out of the conversation?

  21. gsdubs1213 - Jul 27, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Well I don’t think lebron cares about taking pay cut to $16 million NBA Salary because he makes over $35 million per year in endorsements. And now he has a ring.

  22. xjokerz - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:27 AM

    Lebron makes over 50 million a year. I think he can afford to take a little pay cut to help the organization … But that’s just me ….

  23. xjokerz - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:27 AM

    Lebron makes over 50 million a year. I think he can afford to take a little pay cut to help the organization … But that’s just me ….

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