McDyess sticks to retirement decision

The Spurs had hoped a short post-lockout season might help them convince veteran big man Antonio McDyess he could play one more season, even at age 37.

On Monday they officially gave up the quest.

With a deadline for fully guaranteeing McDyess’ $5.22 million contract approaching at the end of the business day, the Spurs waived the 6-foot-9 forward from Alabama.

“When a player gets to a certain age and certain circumstances in his life, he knows when it’s time to do certain things,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who said he spoke with McDyess last week. “He’s had a long time to think about it, all summer and fall. He finally made his decision.”

The club gets to remove $2.61 million from its player payroll, a significant factor since the Spurs likely will be over the NBA’s new luxury tax threshold this season.

McDyess made it clear during training camp for the 2010-11 season that it likely would be his last. When the Grizzlies eliminated the Spurs from the playoffs in the first round in April, he reiterated he would retire, regretting only how his career ended.

“This was not at all how I wanted it to end, but signing here was one of the best things I did in my career,” he said. “I wouldn’t trade these two years for the world, one of the greatest times of my whole career. I just wish we would have gone farther.”

McDyess averaged 5.6 points and 5.7 rebounds in 150 games in his two seasons in silver and black. His buzzer-beating tip-in produced a dramatic 89-88 victory over the Lakers at Staples Center in February, a play McDyess called one of the most memorable of his career.

Popovich remembered McDyess’ selfless approach to the game.

“He’s one of the great teammates that we’ve had in the NBA for the last 15 years. Everybody who has coached him or played with him will tell you that. It’s not just my opinion. He’s a wonderful, polite, great individual; really a special guy. He leaves a heck of a legacy, a fine reputation.

“He’s a really unique player, the way he plays defense, can shoot the shot, can guard a four or a five. You don’t replace a guy like that.”

NOVAK WAIVED: The Spurs also waived 6-foot-10 forward Steve Novak, who played 23 games with the club last season. Novak had signed a non-guaranteed contract on Thursday.

It appears the Spurs were complying with a request from Novak, who has an opportunity to sign a fully guaranteed deal with the Knicks if he clears waivers, according to Yahoo! Sports.

NEAL HOPEFUL: Shooting guard Gary Neal will visit his doctor today, hoping for clearance to begin conditioning work to get back on the court.

Feeling good one week after undergoing an appendectomy, Neal has not been allowed any physical activity since the operation.

“Hopefully, the doctor will let me start running,” he said. “I’m anxious to get back to work.”

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