Spurs general manager R.C. Buford wholeheartedly agrees. He recently joined The Vertical podcast to talk about Duncan’s decision to call it quits. And according to Buford, Duncan likely would have come back next season if it had been physically possible.
Duncan’s December injury lingered into January, with his health becoming an open question as the Spurs geared up for the All-Star break and the final stretch of the regular season. He posted the lowest per-minute averages of his career in minutes (25.2), points (8.6) and rebounds (7.3), as well as his second-worst field-goal percentage (48.4).
The whole podcast is well worth your time, given how close to the vest Buford keeps most things. In the end, the typically stoic Buford even broke down emotionally. Duncan meant the world to the Spurs, the NBA, and sports fans everywhere. It is a much different landscape going forward.