The San Antonio Spurs are going after LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency, but to make his max salary fit with the other re-signings they have to deal with, Tim Duncan is probably going to help out by coming back for at least one more season and helping out his team with some hometown discount.
Duncan, 39, played very well last season, averaging 13.9 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. He actually missed just five games, all because of rest; that’s the most he has played in a regular season since 2009-2010. After the first round exit against the Clippers, his retirement (and Manu Ginobili’s as well) was up in the air, but the Spurs believe that Duncan is coming back for one more season.
At how much? That’s probably the first order of business. The Spurs have other issues to deal with. Giving Kawhi Leonard a new contract (he’s a restricted free agent), handling the Danny Green and Marco Belinelli free agency as well. Manu Ginobili might also come back, and maybe even leaning on returning for one more season, but losing him won’t be as big of a hit as losing Duncan, not to mention the Spurs could use the cap relief.
Duncan made $10 million last season (last of a three-year, $30 million deal), and will likely sign a one-year deal or a two-year with a player option. For how much? Maybe for $6 million a season? Hard to say exactly. A lot of players might be after short, one-year deals this offseason because of the nearly 33% salary cap raise in 2016. I don’t think Duncan is going to be part of that movement.
Aldridge is the big prize in this one for the Spurs, who seem to be in the lead to sign the Portland Trail Blazers power forward. There are conflicting reports regarding his situation in Portland, with some suggesting he has already informed the team he’s leaving, while others have said there is no truth in the matter, and that’s it’s far from over.
Either way, the Spurs, and other teams in the league, are moving their pieces in order to make Aldridge feel comfortable when he does decide on the team he signs for. There are other big names in the 2015 free agency period and who knows, maybe LeBron James will also join the list, but right now Aldridge is the big prize, and the Spurs are looking like a very good candidate to sign him and put themselves in excellent shape for another title run.