Tim Duncan finally got his fifth ring, and now he apparently wants one more. Duncan recently decided to opt into the 2014-2015 contract year, where he is expected to earn $10.3 million.
Spurs fans were left wondering what direction their franchise would head in next season after their team won the championship this year against the Miami Heat, and now they have part of their answer. The other part rests on the decision of Manu Ginobili, who is also facing the decision of whether to retire or to return for one more year. Duncan's decision will likely impact that of Ginobili's, and if they both returned, then the Spurs big three would remain intact.
The Spurs would likely remain favorites to win the championship again next year if they were to keep their team intact, as they proved that they have everything they need to beat anyone.
The competition that they will face, however, will only get harsher, as young teams such as the Clippers and Thunder are looming in the Western Conference.
Duncan will likely still be an effective part of Popovich's system, but it is unlikely that he will log as many minutes as he did this season. Duncan will turn 39 next season, and when interviewers asked him about his coming decision, he made it clear that he only wanted to play if he would still be effective in the league. Clearly Duncan believes that he has one more season left in him, and will soon be playing his 18th year in the league.
The Spurs will also focus on resigning guard Patrick Mills, who they relied on heavily in the last couple of games in the Finals, and would bring a young spark to their bench behind Parker. The Spurs also have youngster and rising star Kawhi Leonard to rely on in the coming season, and he will likely be assuming a larger role in the Spurs system.
Duncan will be chasing after his sixth championship, which would give him as many rings as all-time great Michael Jordan. If he were to repeat as champion next year, he would further solidify his legacy and gain ground in the conversation for one of the best players to ever play the game. After dominating the league for almost two decades, we will see how effective he can be next season against a league that is only getting more talented across the board.
The Spurs age was apparent at times in this year's Finals, and this was occasionally exploited by the Heat. However, behind their mastermind coach, they have a perfect balance of experience and youth and are heavy favorites in the Western Conference.