R.C. Buford: Trading Tony Parker would be crazy
San Antonio Spurs general manager R.C. Buford and head coach Gregg Popovich have a busy summer ahead of them, as should any front office whose team is swept out of the second round of the NBA playoffs. Point guard Tony Parker? Perhaps not so much.
“I think that we would be crazy not to want a player like Tony in our program for a long time,” Buford said. “He’s been a big part of the success we’ve had, not only as an individual but as a part of the team.
“The speculation on Tony is placed outside of our organization, not internally.”
Perhaps making the decision a little easier, Tony Parker said in his exit interview that he is leaning towards skipping the World Championships this summer in favor of preparing for next season. Parker stated that he will meet with Popovich and the Spurs organization and make a decision by next week.
“I’m going to attack next season like a revenge,” Parker said. “I felt like I didn’t play as well as I did in 2009 so I want to come out blazing next year.
“I want to be really good next year so I’m really going to work hard this summer, even more than I did in the past.”
Plantar fasciitis and an assortment of other injuries robbed Tony Parker of his trademark quickness this season, leaving him a shell of the All-NBA point guard he was a year ago. A broken hand afforded him some time for his legs to recover and by the Phoenix Suns series his numbers were nearly back to what the Spurs have come to expect from him.
Tony Parker is an All-Star quality point guard with a reasonable contract who is theoretically in his prime, making him a valuable trade asset. But shouldn’t those reasons make the Spurs want to keep him?
Over at Yahoo Sports, Kelly Dwyer sums it up perfectly:
Trading Tony Parker? It’s worth exploring. Technically, Parker should be in his prime, but his status may have taken a dip with a flat 2009-10. He has a year left on his contract and could be perfect for a veteran team trying to get over the hump offensively, like the Spurs, but the returns would have to be perfect. “The returns” also involve George Hill playing full time point guard, and two seasons in, I just don’t know if he has that in him.
I will never understand the amount of criticism Parker receives from some of the San Antonio fans, but the guy truly is one of the most unique weapons in NBA history. He’s a slight NBA point guard who does not finish above the rim, and yet, his shot chart resembles that of an All-Star big man.
If the San Antonio Spurs are going to trade Tony Parker, it had better be for another All-Star with borderline All-NBA potential. And it would also almost assuredly have to be at a position other than point guard because there are only a handful of point guards in the NBA you would want over a healthy Parker, and Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, Steve Nash or Chris Paul are not going anywhere.
And whoever that potential trade partner might be, even if it is a Chris Bosh, you almost have to make sure a starting point guard is included in the deal unless you plan on giving Manu Ginobili those responsibilities for 40+ minutes a night.
Trading Parker for anything less would be a financial move and signal a white flag from the San Antonio Spurs camp, or move for the future. But realistically, Tim Duncan is the window. There is no immediate championship contender beyond him.
More likely the help will come from Tiago Splitter and either the improvement Richard Jefferson or DeJuan Blair makes in their second year in the system, or Jefferson’s expiring contract near the trade deadline.
The moves this summer, they’re not about propping the window open for another decade. Please understand, it’s merely for another year or two–three at tops, if everything falls right.
For all the talk about aging, the Big Three showed enough in the playoffs to believe that simply renovating their supporting cast might be enough. But unless you have the best player on the planet (which Tim Duncan use to be), you need that third star. For the Spurs, that’s Tony Parker.