Tim Duncan will return to San Antonio Spurs next season

The reigning NBA champions San Antonio Spurs will not lose their star man.

The San Antonio Spurs have announced that Tim Duncan has exercised his $10.3M option for next season, as expected.

In July 2012 he signed the $30M, three year contract which lasts until next summer, a contract which was below market value, enabling the Spurs to keep a talented group together.

The 2014-2015 season will represent Duncan’s 18th year with the San Antonio Spurs, equalling Reggie Miller’s 18 years with the same franchise (Indiana Pacers). The 18 years is one behind John Stockton’s career with the Utah Jazz and what will be Kobe Bryants 19th year with the Lakers.

Barring injuries, there is no reason to expect anything other than another title challenge from Duncan and co next season. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili each have a year left also, so the Spurs big three will remain intact for at least one more campaign.

History is against them because while they have had an incredible run of 5 championships in 17 years with Tim Duncan they have never retained the championship the following year.

Ginobili has confirmed he will take part in the FIBA basketball world cup with Argentina so Spurs management will have to keep a close eye on him throughout next season to prevent fatigue settling in.

Beyond next season the Spurs have no one but Tiago Splitter tied down to a contract. At that point the Spurs will work out how many more years - if any – they want to keep the big three at San Antonio. But the Spurs are living in the moment, and at the moment they have Tim Duncan.