Tim Duncan, grumpier with age


The wave of milestones keep rolling in, and so far as Tim Duncan is concerned, he’d rather they not be. In the San Antonio Spurs 95-78 victory over the Portland Trailblazers the Spurs longtime franchise player played his 1,000th game and took sole possession of 29th place on the NBA all-time scoring list, surpassing Walt Bellamy.

If Duncan had his way he’d rather not have just accomplished either, let alone be reminded.

“I was not aware, I would rather not be told that,” Duncan said after the game. “It just means I’ve been playing for a long time and am getting really, really old. I wish I’d only played 10 games and had 1,000 more ahead of me.”

Getting old is never fun. Teammates get a little bolder in taking shots at you, like when reserve big man Matt Bonner laughed about his beloved New England Patriots blowing out Duncan’s Chicago Bears while the game played in the locker room television.

“When my NFL team is beating his NFL team that bad,” Bonner joked, “he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.”

And at a certain age mentioning “Duncan” and “not having a leg to stand on” in the same sentence becomes a fearful thought in any context. But if you can roll with the punches, eventually there are some perks with advancing in age.

For one, everyone eventually stops trying to correct you, chalking up any stubbornness or slightly deviant behavior to being older and set in your ways.

For example, with the San Antonio Spurs cruising on their way to another blowout victory and a Duncan-less fourth quarter, Duncan took it upon himself to drift on towards the scorer’s table and reinsert himself into the game.

“He put himself in, he ignored me. I told him to sit and he said, ‘to hell with you, I’m playing’,” said San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. “He’s been hard to coach for a long time and it’s finally starting to slip out bit by bit.”

Between sarcastically rooting for Devin Hester falling down in the open field (the Bears still had a chance Duncan quipped), and talking about the fourth quarter, Duncan warned (in jest, obviously) it was a moment that will only repeat itself in the near future.

“Oh, I’m very hard to coach, very hard,” Duncan reiterated. “And it’s going to get tougher. As the minutes continue to drop and I’m not in the fourth quarter I’m going to become unbearable on the bench and pretty much annoy him to the point that he has to put me in. That is my goal.”

But even at 1,000 games in, Duncan is still no grouch when measured up to his head coach, who views holding a Blazers team to 78 points as “70-something reasons to complain”. Fortunately, Duncan is still up to the task of butting heads.

“I think his philosophy this year is to try to not play me in the fourth quarter at all, whether we’re winning or losing,” Duncan said. “I think he thinks our team is better off without me out there. I just try to disprove him at some point.”

  • Nadeem

    Another reason to love Timmy! Wish the whole NBA world knew of his sense of humor.

  • jwalt

    Funny comments between Duncan and Pop. Too bad we all know the true respect and love they have for each other.

    Now if Pop ripped Manu like that….well, how about Parker? Would you believe Drew Gooden?

  • http://www.bpifanconnect.com Alix Babaie

    This team is so loose and free wheeling right now, it totally reminds one of the last couple of title teams here…..doesn’t “one for the thumb” sound great Timmy?!

  • SpurredOn

    I do love these guys. Total pros, friends and colleagues. Life is too short, NBA careers even shorter, yet a season too long to not enjoy yourself.

  • rkfan1012


    Well said.

  • Nick

    Never a bad time to watch this.


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  • Czernobog

    To go along with the teammate love theme, I just wanted to make sure that everyone Saw Manu’s tweet about retiring Obero’s Jersey:


    (On a sidenote, “ginodome” just makes me think about his bald spot.)

  • Czernobog


  • Bushka

    Love Timmy

  • Vaughn Grisham

    You know, I said, out loud, to my completely sports-ambivalent wife during the Blazer’s game yesterday, “What the hell is Duncan doing in this game, up umpteen points in the 4th quarter?” That is simply awesome that he put himself in. I hope he has a major mid-life crisis this season and kicks ass from here on out.

  • http://www.operaforthemasses.com David G

    Good ole Duncan. Hopefully after another 10 great years or so and another 6 or 7 championships we’ll see more of Duncan’s funny side on the half time show on TNT.

    “Ernie, Kenny, Timmy…that’s terrible” Charles Barkley

  • Reev

    hahaha. go timmy! go pop. go spurs go! :)

  • Phife

    Duncan is the man!! I read something every week (day, almost) that reassures my fanatical love for the Spurs

  • blueguy

    Just wanted to note we had some friends who lost much of their house in a fire (here in SA) a few weeks ago – and somehow Timmy found out where they were staying and bought new clothing items for the entire family. I don’t have all the details of what he got them though…He personally delivered it and it made their day….really good to know there are just good people out there like Timmy.

  • JustinFL

    Not Cool Man!

  • JustinFL
  • DorieStreet

    @ David G

    20/12/ 3 Blocks/ 7 assists = 5th Title /leave the game but still will not get his due/1 more season—get the 6th title (2006 – we would have beat Miami

  • Flavor

    I’d love to see Timmy on TNT with Ernie, Kenny and Barkley… I bet anything he’d steal the show with all his funny comments.

  • Hobson13

    The night just got much better. Bucks 103-Mavs 99. That breaks their 12 game winning streak, but should be a warning for us. Let’s not take the Bucks too lightly. They have the talent to be a serious EC playoff team, but just haven’t gotten it together so far this year. Good win Milwaukee, but the Bucks stop here on Wednesday night.

  • http://searchingforslava.blogspot.com Dave M

    Felix and Oscar, live again.

  • http://dawnoftheweak.com Wes

    In one paragraph you to use “And” & “But” to start sentences. It was a two sentence paragraph. lol, just poking ya!

  • http://dawnoftheweak.com Wes

    “And” I managed to not even grammatically come correct. “But” I blame you for giving me the blooper bug.

  • Ravi

    I will go out on a limb and say that “Duncan will retire, if he wins the 2010-11 title”….
    He will follow David’s footsteps and if you remember his conversation with Bill Russell, Duncan mentioned, he wants 1 more title before he retires……

  • r.l.manuel

    go SPURS go

  • miggy

    I wonder where Timmy Ranks on the fastest to get to 100 wins, 200 wins, 300 wins . . . . We always here about fastest to get to x amount of points, rebounds, assists. I was wondering about the stats that really matter, wins!

  • JCS

    Didn’t know Timmy liked the Bears, I love him even more now. Bros for life <3

  • Bito

    miggy – I don’t know about speed to amount of wins, but I do know that Timmy has the 2nd most wins of any player in their 1st 1000 games. Duncan’s 707 wins in 1000 games is only behind Scottie Pippen, who won 715

  • ITGuy

    Go Spurs Go!!

  • spursfanbayarea

    Here is a trade proposal that wouldn’t require us giving up any of our players and bringing in a big man who can defend in short term. We could trade the exceptions from ratliff and jerrells for Kurt Thomas. Thomas knows the system. Doesn’t need a lot of playing time and can play good solid defense on players bigger than him. What does everyone think?

  • Tyler


    I love the thought of getting a guy like Kurt Thomas, but I’m almost positive you can’t trade exceptions. You can only use the exceptions to take back more money than you send out in a trade. Therefore, we have to give up something of value, whether that’s a player and/or a pick.

    Also, you have to consider the Spurs roster – are we serious about only carrying 13 players? In that case, trading only a pick for Thomas might not appeal to the Spurs’ FO.

    However, we could trade either Chris Quinn (not before Feb. 5) or Ime (not before Feb. 24) straight up for Thomas. But again Chicago will probably need a pick for doing us this favor.

    And interestingly enough, Ime is eligible to be traded on Feb. 24th, which also happens to be the trade deadline. Foreshadowing of a potential move at the deadline?

  • DorieStreet

    @ spursfanbayarea

    I don’t know. He did ok during the 1 1/3 seasons here but that was 2008-09. Even though these pickups are for situational defense against certain teams, I’m not a fan of these acquistions. Players such as Thomas and Theo Ratliff have spent the last 4 seasons going from roster to roster (1/2 dozen teams for each). It’s as if GMs/coaches see they are still in the league, then remember how very good they were in their prime & say “let’s sign him.” While I’m sure they provide a positives in some ways (longtime professionals whose presence can influence younger players), how much on the court impact do they really provide-especially for a deep playoff run? Maybe there is an up & coming young big (who has talent) but is stuck on the wrong team-can those exceptions you mentioned ( and some future draft picks) can acquire?

  • Tyler

    Clarification, I believe exceptions only last 1 year. In that case Ratliff’s exception expires Feb. 18th. So if we trade for Thomas (or anyone else) after that date, Jerrel’s exception is the only one we can use.

  • GiterDun

    The BEST trade/trading deadline acquisition for the Spurs is Tiago Splitter. Just think – he comes with half a season of training in the Spurs System under his belt. Since he hasn’t been playing much his “acquisition” into the regular rotation will bring fresh legs and skills far beyond anything we can trade for.

  • SG

    i can’t wait to see this team once Tiago and JA find their game. They can add so much to a team that is already pretty good.

    I see Tiago and JA as key players off the bench. Hope they get more minutes (JA gets healthy). I’d rather have JA off the bench at the 3, than Ime. Not a big Ime fan…the dude cannot hit a shot to save his life.

  • lvmainman

    I hope Tiago Splitter gets more playing time.

    To me, Semih Erden of the Celtics and Omer Asik of the Bulls look just as good as Tiago Splitter at this point of the year for 1/3rd the cost.

    Dec 28th – Lakers, Dec 30th – @ Mavericks, Jan 5th – @ Celtics are the measuring sticks for this team.

  • spursfanbayarea

    You can trade exceptions for players. That is the whole purpose of the trade exception. The trade exception allows you to take back a player at that exception value. If you do not use the trade exception it expires and you do not get any value from it. You also can take a trade exception and trade it in for salary cap space. But the trade in salary cap space is much smaller than the trade exception. The raptors and cavaliers received trade exceptions because they did a sign and trade with the team that had cap space. So they each have 16.5 million trade exceptions they can use to acquire players. But if they want cap space, then they will only get about 5 million in cap space.

  • notasgoodasoncewas

    I can see it now. San Antonio Spurs Just Won Its 5th Tittle! I check 48minutesofhell and what will I find. Someone will be talking about trading. Give it a rest.

  • McShane

    I hope you didn’t copy and paste this from The Onion’s website; I’m sure they don’t take kindly to plagiarism.

  • Tyler


    No, you can’t trade exceptions. Trade exceptions only allow you to take back more salary than what went out. You have to actually trade something of value, not just simply swapping an exception for a player.

    This is from HoopsWorld, CBA 101: Trade Exceptions –

    “People commonly refer to teams trading their trade exceptions. This doesn’t happen. A team never acquires a trade exception from another team. However, in the same trade a team might use their existing trade exception, while the other team generates a new trade exception of their own, which they then have a year to use.”

    So, while you can’t trade exceptions, when a team uses a trade exception in a transaction, many times it will create an exception for the other team, giving the illusion that the exception was traded. But no, you can’t simply trade exceptions for players or cap space.

  • spursfanbayarea

    From hoops world
    “The second part would be Vujacic out to the Nets. In return, the Lakers will get a $5.48 million trade exception which can be used to trade for a player (or players) who makes up to $5.58 million.

    The exception will expire in a year’s time, although there’s no true guarantee that it will have value in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The latest the Lakers can use it under the current rules would be June 30th.”

    The lakers just traded vujacic to get an exception which it clearly states can be traded for a player. From your own reference of hoops world.

  • Tyler


    Maybe we’re getting into semantics here, but in the example you give above, the trade exception is not being traded in any way. NJ isn’t handing LA a trade exception. It’s being created for LA’s books to fill the hole in salary that went out. It’s essentially an accounting method that balances the books for all sides.

    LA can’t turn around and trade the exception for a player making $5.58M. But, if they were to trade a draft pick for another player, the trade exception that was created in the NJ deal would allow LA to take back a guy making up to, but not more than $5.58M (+ another $100,000 I believe). Now for the team receiving the pick, the transaction triggers the creation of a trade exception (for their books only) in the amount of money that went out the door. The trade exception used by LA and the new exception created for the other team are two totally different exceptions, neither of which change hands.

    I have a headache….

  • Tyler

    Just found the reference you sited. This is from the first paragraph:

    “The Los Angeles Lakers are on the verge of trading Sasha Vujacic and a first round pick to the New Jersey Nets for veteran forward Joe Smith and a sizable traded player exception.”

    Here’s where the confusion is I think. Hoopsworld makes it sound like the trade exception is something NJ is sending LA. If that’s what Hoopsworld intended, they’re wrong. NJ is not sending a trade exception along with Joe Smith to LA. But I guess having to explain the nuances of the NBA CBA would just put readers to sleep, so they put it in terms that readers can wrap their brains around…..

  • spursfanbayarea

    “As for the trade exception, though, that can make things really interesting, really quickly for Toronto’s ballclub. A trade exception is basically a dollar amount (in this case, roughly $16-million) that the Raptors can use to complete lopsided financial trades. For instance, if the Raptors wanted to acquire a player worth $15-million, they could absorb that whole salary without sending a single player back to the other team. Not only that, but whatever money they don’t spend on that transaction, they keep and can use on another transaction.”-Tim Chisolm

    One mistake I did make was thinking that you can combine trade exceptions. I found out that is not allowed. I admit to that error. But I have not found anything that states you must take back a player in a trade for the exceptions or that you must include a draft pick. Trade rules allow for players to also be traded for cash. Now generally teams typically do not want to give up a player for nothing, so teams throw in second round picks. Which typically have a very low value. Anyhow this is giving me a headache as well and we can agree to disagree on this topic.

  • Tyler

    The rules allow a team to send up to $3M to another team in a trade, but I believe that money has to be accompanied by something else, like a pick or player, although I’m not 100% positive.

    The reason you can’t simply trade an exception for a player is that would essentially be trading money for a player, or thought another way, simply buying a player. I think that’s the reasoning.

    I’ll try to find the exact rule in the CBA. If I find anything, I’ll post it.

    (And yes, I am a nerd)

  • spursfanbayarea

    You can trade for cash. No rules against it in the CBA. You may have to trade a pick for a player when using the exception. That part I am not sure about. Maybe a trade with exception requires at minimum a draft pick. But if you trade a draft pick for a player, it has no monetary value in the trade. So in essence you are still gaining a player without giving up a player or salary. The clippers just acquired rasual butler this year for the trade exception and a second round pick. When draft picks are added to trades they equal zero dollars on the trade transaction.