Spurs’ Tim Duncan: ‘I’ll be back on the court’

San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan, left, chases the loose ball against Oklahoma City Thunder's Nick Collison, right, Perry Jones, and Derek Fisher, right rear, during the first half of Game 2 of the Western Conference finals NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, May 21, 2014, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Tim Duncan is returning to San Antonio for a 19th season.

Duncan tells the San Antonio Express-News that “I’ll be on the court next year.” Until Duncan made his announcement Thursday, there was speculation that he could call it a career after the Spurs lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in a thrilling seven-game series in the first round of the playoffs.

Many expected him to return, particularly since he was coming off such a strong season. Duncan averaged 13.9 points, 3.0 assists and 2.0 blocks and earned third team All-NBA and second team All-Defense honors.

Duncan turned 39 in April and accompanied the Spurs on a recruiting trip for star free agent LaMarcus Aldridge on Wednesday.

Duncan told the newspaper that the trip to Los Angeles to meet with Aldridge offered the opportunity for a face-to-face chat with coach and team president Gregg Popovich about next season. The conversation solidified his desire to return for another year and chase his sixth championship.

Duncan will likely not agree to terms on a new contract until the Spurs know if Aldridge will be coming to town to play beside him in the San Antonio frontcourt.

The Spurs are still waiting to hear if Manu Ginobili, another member of the franchise’s Big Three with Duncan and Tony Parker, will return next season.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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