Spurs' Duncan to stay in San Antonio

S A N   A N T O N I O, July 11, 2000 -- San Antonio Spurs forward TimDuncan, the NBA’s most sought after free agent this year, saidtoday he had rejected overtures from the Orlando Magic andwould stay in San Antonio.

Duncan, a 24-year-old All-Star who led the Spurs to theirfirst NBA championship last year, said his new contract wouldcommit him to San Antonio for at least three more years. Underleague guidelines, he is expected to make about $9.5 million ayear.

He cannot officially sign the new deal until Aug. 1.

Duncan said the Magic, who reportedly offered him amulti-year deal worth $67 million, made his decision difficult.

“Orlando had a lot to offer,” Duncan told a packed newsconference at a San Antonio hotel. “I had a good time and I metsome great people down there, but I decided to stay here andkeep going for another championship.”

Orlando ‘Had A Lot to Offer’

Orlando wined and dined Duncan and fellow NBA superstarGrant Hill for a week earlier this month. Hill has announced hisplans to leave his current team, the Detroit Pistons, and signwith the Magic.

Duncan was the Most Valuable Player of the 1999 championshipseries against the New York Knicks, but because of a knee injurywatched from the sidelines this year as the Spurs bowed to thePhoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs.

He said San Antonio was well positioned to win anotherchampionship in the upcoming season.

“I think we have a great opportunity, with (center) David(Robinson) and myself, and I think with free agency we’ll beable to pick up some great free agents, and go out there and doit again,” he said.

In the past few weeks, signs and billboards proclaiming“Stay, Tim, stay” have sprouted around San Antonio in anoutpouring of support.

Duncan called the campaign “overwhelming” and said itcontributed to his decision to stay.

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