If the San Antonio Spurs run as NBA champions concludes, Tony Parker does not believe it will be soon. Further, he said he expects 18-year pro Tim Duncan to be on board for another title run in 2014-2015.
“It will come to an end, but I don’t think next year,” Parker said after the Spurs beat the Miami Heat Sunday in the NBA Finals for their fifth championship in 15 seasons. “I think everybody’s gonna come back.”
Parker said Duncan, a sure-fire Hall of Famer, will join him, Manu Ginobilli and NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard as they try to defend their title.
And Spurs owner Peter Holt did not disagree.
“Tim and Manu are going to play until they die, so I think we are in pretty good shape,” Holt told reporters. “Tim and Manu want to play until they die, somewhat sincerely, actually.”
The 38-year-old Duncan, who holds a player option to return next season for $10.3 million, said during the finals that he would continue to play if he is still effective.
He averaged 15.1 points and 9.7 rebounds during the regular season, and was slightly better during the team’s run to the championship (15.4 PPG, 10.0 RPG). Add to that coach Gregg Popovich’s ability to rest his big man — Duncan averaged 29.2 minutes per game this past season.
“I don’t see any reason, watching him play, why he can’t continue to be a great player,” Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said during Sunday’s celebration. “He’ll make that decision.”
And if Duncan returns — and even if he doesn’t — Ginobili expects the Spurs to continue what they’ve become accustomed to doing.
“I think I said it many times. There was not one season since I’m in the NBA that I really didn’t truly believe that we could have won it,” said Ginobili, who will turn 37 in July. “Every year we were up there. Sometimes we were No. 1, and we lost in the first round. Some other times we were seventh, and we had a shot at winning it.
“But playing with the teammates I’ve always played [with], coached by the guy that is coaching us, I always felt that we had a shot, and I truly never believed it was the last shot.”