Family Matters: Tim Duncan’s Request Likely Ruined An Orlando Magic Dynasty

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If not for Tim Duncan’s wife, Orlando’s early 2000s run through the NBA could’ve really been magical. Duncan, a free agent in the summer of 2000, was seemingly set to join Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady in Orlando – until then Magic coach Doc Rivers nixed Duncan’s plan to have his spouse travel with the team.

Weights before dates, eh, Doc?

“He wouldn’t allow Tim Duncan, I guess he wanted his spouse to travel on the plane, to come to games on the road,” McGrady said during an appearance on the Knuckleheads podcast. “Doc wouldn’t allow that, so that was a dealbreaker for him.”

Unaware that Duncan insisted that his spouse travel with the team, the Magic thought they had themselves the makings of a dynasty. Within the same time frame, the Magic inked two-thirds of a legit Big Three: Hill, a former All-Star and a soon-to-be superstar, and McGrady.

As McGrady told Knuckleheads: “They were recruiting both of them before they were recruiting me. I’m only in my third year. I was a bench player… Once I found out what happened with the Tim Duncan situation… I still haven’t had that conversation with Doc. It’s speculation.”

Though you’d have a hard time getting Duncan to comment on, well anything really, but especially on whether his family’s absence from team flights led him back to San Antonio, McGrady seems convinced. And all these years later, he’s still wondering about what could have been.

“That’s what I heard, that was the dealbreaker,” McGrady insisted of the spousal shutdown. “That could have change my life… That could have been a game changer in a lot of people’s lives.”

He’s got a point. Duncan won four championship between 2000 and 2014 in addition to the one he won with the Spurs back in 1999. Meanwhile, McGrady, Hill and the Magic went ringless.

All because Doc Rivers uttered that one magic word — “No.”


Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF

Written by Anthony Farris


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  1. Doc Rivers has generally been a massive failure, falling short vis a vis expectations. But got the first big three of the player’s era in 2008. Won a title with three hall-of-famers still in their prime.

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