Spurs: Tim Duncan told Doc Rivers he was heading to the Orlando Magic

Tim Duncan Doc Rivers (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Tim Duncan Doc Rivers (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

Doc Rivers recently gave his side of the infamous story of San Antonio Spurs legend Tim Duncan being in the grasp of the Orlando Magic before a team plane situation ruined it.

It’s one of the greatest “what-ifs” in NBA history. What would have happened if San Antonio Spurs legend Tim Duncan had joined the Orlando Magic in 2000 to pair up with Grant Hill under Doc Rivers?

Over the years, much was revealed about just how close The Big Fundamental was to signing with Orlando. The Orlando Sentinel was just one of many outlets to report the biggest reason for Tim eventually spurning the Magic for the Spurs.

The story was that Duncan’s longtime girlfriend Amy Sherrill once asked Doc Rivers if she would occasionally be allowed to fly with the team to games. After Rivers informed her that team policy doesn’t allow for that, reportedly Tim was out on Orlando.

Since then, Grant Hill has confirmed the story and Tracy McGrady has humorously commented on how he wanted to get his hands on Rivers when he found out.

On Monday evening, Doc Rivers joined Ernie Johnson on the NBA’s official Twitter account to explain that there was more to the story. “That story is not told correctly,” began Rivers.

Tim Duncan almost left San Antonio Spurs for Orlando Magic

“Tim Duncan looked at me and said, ‘I’m pretty sure I’m coming to the Magic. I just need to go back to San Antonio because I love Pop and want to have my last meeting with Pop’. ”

Doc also spoke about how he called several college coaches to help him recruit Tim since recruiting is a major part of their jobs. “I think it was Cal [John Calipari] that I called after Tim left and he asked if I got him,” started Rivers.

“I said ‘yeah, it looks like we got him, he just wanted to go back to talk with Pop and David’. ” Calipari then responded, “Well, you just lost him. We have one rule: you don’t let the kid leave campus without signing him.”

It appears that while the team’s plane policy played a big part in Tim deciding to stay in San Antonio, perhaps Doc’s biggest mistake was letting him walk out the door before signing in the first place. The full interview can be seen in the video below, with the Duncan comments starting at 24:24.

Watch @TurnerSportsEJ and @LAClippers Head Coach @DocRivers NOW on #NBATogether with Ernie Johnson. ⬇️https://t.co/sjcy3rxHGh

— NBA (@NBA) May 18, 2020

It’s crazy to think that an earlier call to Calipari or a change in team policy could have changed so much in Alamo City.

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Rivers concluded by admitting something that the entire world knows by now: “Honestly, with the way things turned out, Tim clearly made the right decision in staying.” Yes — yes he did, Doc.