Tim Duncan won't be back on the bench for the San Antonio Spurs next season. Duncan is stepping down from his role as a full-time assistant with the Spurs after a single season, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. Though Duncan is leaving his current role, he won't be walking away from the Spurs organization entirely, as he is expected to continue in a player-development role with the team -- a role that he held before officially joining Gregg Popovich's staff on the bench last season.
Internally, the Spurs always expected Duncan's stint on the bench to be a short-lived situation, according to Stein. Duncan didn't accompany the Spurs to Orlando for the restart of the 2019-20 season. Instead, he remained in San Antonio to help LaMarcus Aldridge rehabilitate from shoulder surgery. Duncan walks away from coaching with a career 1-0 record, as he earned a win over the Charlotte Hornets in March. Popovich missed the game for personal reasons and Duncan served as the acting head coach.
Though Duncan will still be around the franchise, Popovich will likely miss having Duncan on his staff in an official capacity.
"It's good for players, for coaches, for staff just having him around," Popovich said of Duncan before last season's start. "He's going to contribute in ways that I don't even know about – kind of like a player that doesn't show in the stats but makes you better. I don't think he's going to ponder over seven hours worth of film or anything like that...(But) his presence will be invaluable."
Duncan played the entirety of his 19-year career with the Spurs, and he helped lead the team to five NBA championships. He was a 15-time All-Star, a two-time NBA MVP and is widely considered to be the greatest Spurs player of all time.