The Spurs would probably scoff at us for talking about this already, but with a 3-1 lead in the series, some of the attention has turned towards the future of Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan. If the Spurs do complete the task of eliminating the Heat in these Finals, it will be the duo’s fifth championship together, for a coach and superstar whose relationship has spanned decades.
According to reports, while the two may be enticed to walk away on top, the expectation within the Spurs organization is that both will return next season. Duncan has a player option on his contract for 2014-15 and because he’s playing in the Finals, will have a short turnaround to decide. The deadline for opting in is June 24th. Duncan, of course, took a pay cut with his most recent contract in order to give the team the financial flexibility to continue building a contender around him even in the latter stages of his career. His option for next season would be approximately $10.3 million.
The rest of the core group — including Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Tiago Splitter, Kawhi Leonard — are all under contract for next season, so barring a change of heart from Pop or Duncan, the Spurs look like they’ll be back for another run next season.
But first order of business will be closing out this series. Everyone’s eager to jump the gun and move into the off-season stories given the fact no team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA FInals. But, Duncan and the Spurs are not looking ahead, especially given how last year’s Finals ended. The Spurs star said after their Game 4 win, “As I said, we know the caliber of team they are, and we have a lot of respect for what they’re able to do. They’re able to throw it into another gear, and they’re going to do just that. They don’t want this to be done. They feel they can — they already won on our home court, so they feel they can do it again, and we don’t want to give them any life. So we’re going to use these two days to really get rested up, come out on Sunday and lay it on the line.”
Game 5 is in San Antonio tomorrow night, and if the series wraps up, expect the questions to turn towards the future of the Spurs.
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