Tim Duncan is known as one of the best players ever to step on the basketball court. He brought home five titles to San Antonio and has elevated the Spurs to an elite franchise in the NBA. But did you know that a free agent decision back in the 2000’s could’ve altered his career and legacy?
In the turn of the century in the 2000’s, the Orlando Magic were courting three marquee free agents in Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, and Tim Duncan. It was an exciting period in the franchise’s history as the Magic were an up-and-coming team and their cap space is cleared to sign big names from the free agent pool. Duncan and Hill were both clients of agent Lon Babby and they all visited Orlando together.
Big banners, five-star hotel treatments, pool parties and a tour to Disneyland were part of the recruiting process to woo them to play for Orlando. Hill and Duncan were reportedly blown away by the team and things are looking bright for the Magic.
However, the Magic aren’t winning over Duncan’s ex-wife Amy Sherrill due to a team policy commonly practiced across the NBA. At the time, Sherrill asked Magic coach Doc Rivers if she would occasionally be allowed to join in team flights. Rivers informed her that only players and team staff can be on the team plane. This did not sit well on Sherrill, knowing that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich would occasionally agree to her request. As Duncan flew back to San Antonio, the Spurs brass went all in and the rest is history.
What would’ve been if Duncan went on to Orlando? The Magic, at the very least, should get a couple of the Spurs’ titles given how their recruitment turned out.