Tim Duncan exercises $10.3M option

Tim Duncan has decided to continue his career for an 18th season with the San Antonio Spurs and has exercised his $10.3 million player option for next season, the team announced Monday.

After winning his fifth NBA title this month, Duncan said he was undecided on his future. He had until Tuesday to pick up his option or opt to become a free agent on July 1. There was some discussion about working out a new contract for Duncan, but he elected to stay in his deal.

Duncan, 38, had a strong season, averaging 15.1 points and 9.7 rebounds in 74 regular-season games and then putting up 16.3 points and 9.2 rebounds over 23 playoff games.

The Spurs are now assured to have their three-player core of Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker back for their title defense. All three are entering the final season of their contracts.