Cuban said during the playoffs last season that he hoped the Spurs would win the NBA championship, meaning Duncan would be tempted to call it quits then. The Spurs did win it, but Duncan elected to return for an 18th season, leading Cuban to joke he hopes he gets to honor Duncan sometime this season.
“If we get word that it’s his last year here, we’ll do something special,” said Cuban, who would similarly honor former Mavs Steve Nash and Jason Terry if they make it clear they plan to retire at the end of the season. “We did the same thing for David Robinson. I’m hoping Tim will bless us with those words."
What kind of farewell prize might Cuban offer Duncan? The possibilities are practically limitless.
“Probably worth a salary-cap violation,” Cuban joked.
Duncan, who's won five championships with the Spurs, will turn 39 in April. The future Hall-of-Famer has made the All-Star team 14 times in his career, posting career averages of 19.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.
With head coach Gregg Popovich attempting to keep Duncan and the Spurs' other veterans fresh for the playoffs in recent seasons, Duncan has averaged 30 minutes or more per game just once in the last four years, but he still posted averages of 15.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks last season.
Duncan has averaged 21.1 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 59 games against the Mavericks in his career.
The Mavericks and Spurs open the regular season against each other Oct. 28 in San Antonio.
- Ben Estes