Tim Duncan picked up a $5 million contract option, but it doesn’t mean he’s definitely returning to the NBA

Tim DuncanMark D. Smith/USA TODAY Sports

The San Antonio Spurs may have gotten a boost Wednesday as Tim Duncan picked up his $5.6 million player option for the 2016-2017 season.

However, the move doesn’t necessarily mean that Duncan will play next year.

June 29 was the deadline for Duncan to pick up his option. If he hadn’t, he would have become a free agent. By picking up the option, Duncan ensures he has a place to return (and on a reasonable deal) if he decides to play next season, but it also gives him more time to think.

According to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, this offseason is “the most seriously [Duncan has] considered retirement.” A legend and a surefire Hall of Famer, Duncan is still an imposing presence but he’s starting to show that his time in the NBA might be coming to an end.

The Spurs and their fans might want to exercise caution when it comes to expecting Duncan to come back this season. Last season, he averaged eight points and seven rebounds per game, well below his career averages of 19 points and 11 rebounds per game.

Tim Duncan has been the heart and soul of the San Antonio Spurs for nearly 20 years, so anyone would miss him if he were to hang it up for good. However, the Spurs have enjoyed unparalleled regular-season success, making the playoffs in each of the 19 seasons in which Duncan has played, and the future looks just as bright for the team.

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