(AP) Tim Duncan is exercising the option on his contract for 2014-15 and will return to play for the San Antonio Spurs next season, A person with knowledge of the decision tells The Associated Press.

Duncan turned 38 in April and won his fifth championship with the Spurs in June. That led to some speculation that he could retire after 17 seasons in the league.

But many also expected the 38-year-old Duncan to return next season because he continues to play at a high level. He averaged 15.1 points and 9.7 rebounds in 74 regular-season games this past season, then added 16.3 points and 9.2 rebounds in the playoffs.

Duncan will make $10.3 million next season as part of a contract designed to allow the Spurs to surround him with top-flight talent. The person requested anonymity because an official announcement has not been made.

Yahoo! Sports first reported the decision.

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