Parker: Lockout won’t hasten Duncan’s retirement

It’s long been considered the apocalypse scenario in San Antonio: The NBA lockout devours the entire 2011-12 season, and then Tim Duncan retires.

Duncan’s contact is set to expire after this season. If the NBA labor impasse winds up cancelling the entire schedule, would the Spurs’ franchise icon simply retire instead of re-upping for another season in 2012-13, when he will be 36?

In May, had played his final game in a Spurs uniform. Speaking at a basketball clinic Saturday afternoon in San Antonio, Tony Parker — Duncan’s point guard for the past 10 seasons — echoed those doubts.

Asked if a wiped-out 2011-12 season would also mean the end of Duncan’s career, Parker shook his head.

“I don’t know. I don’t think so,” Parker said. “I see myself playing at least two or three more seasons with Timmy.”

Obviously, Parker is not Duncan’s agent, and isn’t qualified to speak authoritatively on the two-time MVP’s career plans. Still, Parker has been in touch with the reclusive Duncan often throughout the lockout, and plans to work out with him Monday in San Antonio.

If doomsday occurs, and the entire season is scuttled, it would be quite a blow to a Spurs team that still relies heavily on aging stars like Duncan (35) and Manu Ginobili (34), whose remaining seasons of elite productivity are numbered.

That seemed to be the , when he said the Spurs could “no longer say that we’re playing for a championship.” Parker has since backed off those remarks, and did again Saturday.

“We still have a great team,” Parker said. “We just have to stay positive. Right now, you’re thinking too far ahead.”

For the record, Parker believes talk about a scuttled season to be a moot point. Despite the doom and gloom shrouding labor talks, Parker said Saturday he believes the NBA will return at some point.

“I think we’ll have a season,” he said.

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