Stay or go? McDyess’ status still unclear

In a little more than 24 hours, the Spurs will hit the floor for their first training camp practice of the lockout-shortened season.

Whether 37-year-old center/forward Antonio McDyess intends to join them remains a mystery, even at this late date.

“I wish I had an answer for you, but I don’t,” said Andy Miller, McDyess’ agent.

McDyess has long said he intended to retire instead of playing a 16th NBA season, appearing more adamant about that decision as last season wore on.

The three-year free-agent deal he signed with the Spurs in the summer of 2009 included a nice retirement gift: $2.64 million guaranteed for 2011-12, even if he decided not to play.

The Spurs have until today to either waive McDyess,and cut him a check for that $2.64 million, or guarantee the full value of the contract ($5.22 million). McDyess’ contract is set up in such a manner as to make him an enticing trade piece to teams in search of salary cap relief, especially if he intends to retire now.

That could be one reason for the ambiguity.

Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said McDyess’ status for the start of camp is “unclear.”  At the end of last season, Spurs officials seemed hopeful they could convince McDyess — a Gregg Popovich favorite — to return to play spot minutes in a short season.

For now, signs seem to point to McDyess not opening camp with the Spurs on Friday.

McDyess, who has averaged 5.6 points and 5.7 rebounds in 150 games with the Spurs, has not been back to San Antonio since the lockout rules were loosened last week.

He has kept a low profile at his offseason home in Houston, either wrestling with his retirement decision or waiting out the trade market.

“I’m his agent and his friend,” Miller said. “The one thing I’m not is his therapist. I’m going to give him my opinion, but then he’s got to make the decision that’s in his best interest.”

Should McDyess decide he needs to attend Spurs training camp, he could get to San Antonio at almost a moment’s notice, his agent notes.

“It’s only a three-hour drive,” Miller said.

With the minutes counting down until the start of camp, McDyess has yet to decide if he wants to make that  drive.

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