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Morning rumble: a Big Fundamental retirement, Moe Harkless in free agency

Plus new offers for 2017 forward Hasahn French.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Portland Trail Blazers Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Duncan retired. No press conference, no questions, just a press release. The San Antonio Spurs power forward made the playoffs in each of his 19 seasons and won a title in each decade he played in.


On Duncan:

That’s the most common misconception about Tim Duncan, one that I’ve been guilty of at times: That he was somehow so constant and persistent in his game that it got boring. It was never easy to focus on Duncan and Duncan alone; he was so inseparable from the team concept that his individuality was masked. Duncan wasn’t just a master technician, a hallowed power forward whose footwork, touch, and yes, use of the backboard were impeccable. He also propelled the Spurs in surprising ways with his passing and the sheer variety of his moves in the paint. Without Duncan’s decision-making and sneaky creativity, no incarnation of the Spurs would’ve have been possible.

And if you want a quantitative look on how Tim Duncan may have been the best of his era, check out Five Thirty-Eight.

Maurice Harkless was hoping to get one of those high-cash offers other players are getting but the Harkless hasn’t gotten the offer he wants:

More from Blazers Edge:

According to Mike Richman of the Oregonian, Harkless was offered a one-year $4.04 million qualifying offer prior to free agency. If Harkless takes the qualifying offer, he will be an unrestricted free agent in 2017. However, if Harkless was to sign a new deal as a restricted free agent, it would need to stay under an estimated $9 million-a-year mark in order for the Blazers to remain under the luxury tax threshold....

Harkless, who was acquired from Orlando for a top-55-protected draft pick, is looking for a payday after a strong second half of the 2015-16 season. He recorded averages of 6.4 points and 3.6 rebounds, but his production increased when head coach Terry Stotts made him a mainstay in the Trail Blazers' rotation. He started alongside Al-Farouq Aminu in the frontcourt during the NBA Playoffs.

Picked at No. 15 in the 2012 draft, Harkless earned just under $3 million last season.

Truman State, tho, Creighton? Creighton’s recently-released schedule has a mid-January tilt against a Division II school in the middle of the Big east season. our friends at White and Blue Review comment on it:

This one is, on the surface, a head-scratcher. A Division II opponent in the middle of Big East play? However, it’s a good game in several respects.

There’s not a ton of difference, competition wise, between a good DII team (which Truman State is, going 21-9 a year ago) and a 300+ RPI team like Longwood. However, Longwood is a drag on your resume, on your RPI (inasmuch as national pundits and the NCAA Tournament committee pay attention to RPI), and your strength of schedule. A DII opponent counts in your won-loss record and season statistics, but not in RPI, KenPom, schedule strength, or other metrics — it’s a glorified exhibition game.

And in a conference like the Big East with no off nights, sandwiching a game like this in the middle of conference play could be a shrewd move. All things being equal, playing one more Top 50 or Top 100 opponent is a better option, but since all things are not equal and the alternative was likely another Longwood-type game, I’ll take the DII matchup every time.

Maurice Harkless was hoping to get one of those high-cash offers other players are getting but the Harkless hasn’t gotten the offer he wants:

Hasahn French is blowing up. In recruiting, Tubby Smith’s Memphis program has offered Hasahn French for the PSA Cardinals, who has been a prospect with a lot of interest from St. John’s.

Oklahoma State has also offered.

John Groce at Illinois landed top-30 prospect Jeremiah Tilmon, a center that could put some ice on Groce’s hot seat a little. But the Illinois coach still needs results from his squad.

Not sticking to sports: the six emotional arcs of storytelling, according to data mining. Selfishness is a learned trait. Opposition to a national monument in Utah brings up issues of local control. Kellogg’s is opening a hip cereal bar in New York City.