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George Karl says he heard “whispers” this could be Tim Duncan’s last season

Feb 18, 2014, 1:49 PM EDT

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Tim Duncan wasn’t an All-Star this season mostly because he didn’t want to be, the other coaches around the NBA knew that and went with younger faces. But he is still as solid as ever — 15.6 points a game, 10 rebounds a night, a true shooting percentage of 53.6 and a PER of 22. He’s still elite.

But after 17 years he may be done. Check out what George Karl said on ESPN (video below, hat tip to Project Spurs):

“You know over the weekend, that was the whispers that I got. I got a couple of phone calls, one from San Antonio that said that Tim Duncan’s thinking this is going to be his last year. The best, most fundamental big guy ever to play in the NBA, and he leaving would make me very very sad. The San Antonio Spurs without Tim Duncan would be very difficult for me to watch.”

Duncan signed an extension back in 2012 for three years at $30 million, and this last season is a player option.

It would be very Duncan to just decide to leave, but the Spurs have him, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker all under contract for this season and next, the idea that they would make a couple more runs at it with this core plus Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter, then the Spurs would rebuild.

He’s not a public person, he’s not going to talk about what he’s thinking. Maybe after the disappointment of last playoffs and the long grind of this season he’s considering retirement. That said. Duncan may be tired but I’m not sure he walks away from his teammates and organization like that (not that they would hold it against him). I would think he’d finish out his contract.

However, Karl is connected and this would not be totally out of the blue.

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