Tim Duncan, predictably, has been a ghost since he retired this summer. He did one televised interview with a friend, and beyond that, he has been gone. No commercials, no TV appearances, he's not announcing his new venture capital firm or doing media appearances. He has just slid into the the enormous shadow his game left upon the NBA and probably hung out with his kids a lot.
That's for the public, though.
The Spurs, they get to keep him. Duncan has been around the team, the San Antonio Express-News reports, and many inside the organization expect him to take a personnel position with the team.
They still have him around, though. Duncan hasn't been in the Spurs' practice facility every day this summer, but he was there this week. He hits the weight machines, does some shooting, hangs around the guys.
Most in the organization think Duncan will eventually join the franchise in a full-time capacity. They guess he won't coach but will instead focus on personnel. Duncan has long been intrigued by the methods that Popovich and Buford use to identify talent.
Duncan has at times disagreed with their decisions only to be proven wrong. He's curious why.
This is what having a great player so tied to one franchise does for you. He becomes tied to the future even while he's a pillar of the past. Duncan just being around puts guys on notice. They'll have Duncan to learn from, to get advice from, and more than anything, to live up to his standard of excellence and professionalism. The Spurs built their culture around Duncan, now they can use his legacy and quiet presence to sustain it.
You walk in as a brash rookie and meet five-time NBA champion, former MVP, future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, Greatest Power Forward of All Time Tim Duncan, and that will show you where you stand in the ranks of the game right quick.
Duncan being around will make it easier for Gregg Popovich, too, to help him make the transition. It will make it easier on Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard. It'll be easier on the coaches, and when he's shown at games, it'll be good for fans.
Duncan's departure will not be easy, but he'll at least be there to help ease the pain of the separation, and if nothing else, this story tells something we all know but it's important to say: Tim Duncan will always be a Spur.