San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan, one of the NBA’s all-time icons, is leaning strongly toward retirement after a 19-year career, league sources told Yahoo’s The Vertical.

Tim Duncan Reportedly ‘Leaning Strongly’ Toward Retirement

Duncan has left team officials, close associates and friends with a strong belief he’s preparing to make an announcement in the near future on his departure, sources said. The news of his possible retirement comes shortly after Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant signed a two-year deal with the Golden State Warriors.

The Spurs, who met with Duncan over the weekend, were bounced out of the playoffs this year by the Thunder after losing to them in six games in the Western Conference semifinals.

Duncan, who turned 40 in April, was selected as the first overall pick out of Wake Forest in the 1997 NBA draft by the Spurs, with whom he has spent his entire career. He led San Antonio to five championships, and is also a three-time NBA Finals MVP and two-time regular-season MVP. He has also been voted a member of the all-defensive first or second team 15 times.

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Hampered by knee problems, Duncan’s offensive performance decreased last season, and he reached career lows in points (8.6), rebounds (7.3) and minutes (25.2) per game in 61 games.

There was also speculation that longtime Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich would exit the game at the same time as Duncan. Popovich has coached with the Spurs since 1988 and has since compiled a 1,574–1,089 win-loss record to go along with the five NBA championships. Popovich put some of those concerns to rest in an interview with ESPN’s Sage Steele in September 2015.

“Signing LaMarcus [Aldridge], I had to make a commitment,” Popovich told Steele. “I couldn’t say, ‘LaMarcus, we would love to sign you, see you later.’ So I committed to those guys, and I committed to LaMarcus. So, I’ve got to fulfill my promise.”

The Spurs recently reached agreement on a two-year, $30 million-plus deal with free agent center Pau Gasol, who could perhaps fill in for Duncan if he does decide to retire. Gasol averaged 16.5 points and 11 rebounds for the Chicago Bulls this past season.

Duncan recently chose to exercise the $5.6 million player option on his 2016-2017 contract– a payment the Spurs could still make to Duncan regardless of whether he continues to play or not.

In his career, Duncan has averaged 19 points and 10.8 rebounds. He is considered one of the best center/power forwards in the NBA.

PHOTO: OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – MAY 12: Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs waits for the Oklahoma City Thunder to bring the ball down court during the second half of Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 12, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

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