On the value of not trading Tony Parker

by

Wayne Vore, the bald-headed honcho helming Spurs Planet, sent an email reminding me of why it’s best not to listen to offseason prognosticators.

Thus spake Vorathustra:

Back before the [2010] draft [some] were claiming that reputable sources had the Spurs trading TP to the Pacers for the #9 pick and parts.  One of those parts is about to get cut…

If the Spurs had made a trade for a draft pick it would have meant they were giving up on the season.

Now, go look at that draft board.  Find me one player that could help the Spurs this season.  You won’t find any.  Not one.  You won’t find one player on there that is better for the Spurs — this year — than Blair.

No team trying to win is trading a vet for a pick.  None.  Not one.  You can’t win with rookies.

I think this is true as far as it goes, and stands as a cautionary tale of not turning one’s back on a good thing. But the key here is in the time-stamp phrase “this season.” If someone wants to quibble with Vore, that’s their invitation, right?

But here’s my challenge to our readers: twist that phrase however you’d like, and I suspect you’ll find his point stands.

Looking back on the draft board it’s difficult to argue with Wayne. Maybe one can pluck 3 or 4 names from the list that they’d rather have two seasons from now than Tony Parker. But none of those player’s were up for discussion at the time. And, aside from Wall, any such list is drinking deeply from the wells of potential.  In 5 years, Tony Parker will have remained a better player than nearly every name on the draft board.

Our lesson for the day? Sobriety is smart.

  • http://www.spursplanet.com Wayne Vore

    I’d like to point out one thing. The line about “giving up on the season” was spoken to Varner this summer when discussing the supposed trade scenario. I didn’t just retrofit that on after the fact.

  • http://www.bpifanconnect.com Alix Babaie

    The Spurs are the wisest team in the NBA, hands down. There were so many douchebags – on this site, specifically (coincidentally, most of them do not post on here anymore as a result) – calling for Tony’s head, calling for R-Jeff not to be reupped, just stupid chatter really.

    TP, other than last season, has proven to be THE best PG year in, year out, that this team has ever drafted! He was an absolute steal that year, I mean, think about it….we could have wound up with Forte from UNC or Tinsley from ISU, who are both out of the league already.

    When you think about what has happened in less than 1 year, going from a middling team to 40-7, everyone should be thankful that RC, Pop and company run the S&B rather than so of the yahoos in the media as well as some of the bloggers on this site.

    Here’s to seeing the Spurs go 8-1 on the RRR!

  • Daniel T

    Looking at the draft board, I’m not too sure that anyone after Wall would be worth trading James Anderson for. He’s looked good in the limited minutes he’s played, and I think has the potential to be an All-Star in a few years once he’s taken over for Manu as starting shooting guard.

  • Bryan

    Several good points, Alix. I was getting tired of many of those posters calling for a complete revamping of the team, so I stopped posting as often. Last season this place turned into just another angry message board. This season, things are much more pleasant.

    Another one of those PGs that we could have ended up with in the TP draft was Gilbert Arenas, who I was really hoping we would pick at the time. I’d say drafting TP has worked out pretty well.

  • jwalt

    Equally important in not trading Parker was re-signing him. That way he hasn’t been playing for a contract this year, which I was afraid of. Tony has had sticky fingers in the past, since he signed the contract he has been playing the most selfless ball of his career.

    Signing Parker and starting Manu are the two least mentioned reasons as to why the Spurs have improved so much.

    And to Daniel T., Anderson might become an all-star but the Spur dynasty is over when Manu leaves so don’t wish too much on the future.

  • Mike

    Jwalt is right about the importance of resigning Parker, but I’d take it a step further – the fact that he was going into his walk year was THE reason for exploring his trade value. If he was determined to test the market and not sign an extension, the Spurs would have had to choose between going for the title one last time but then suffering a dramatic drop off and a long rebuild around Hill, Blair, Splitter, and a 34 year old Ginobili OR trading Parker for young players/picks with potential, settling into a 5-8 seed this season, and attempting to get the young players ready to seriously compete in a year or two. Resigning Parker removed the guillotine hanging over the front office’s head.

    Meanwhile, would the Kings have given us the #5 pick for Parker on draft night? If they got him to pre-agree to an extension, I’d think yes. Daniel T., you wouldn’t trade Parker for Cousins? I’d think hard about it. Cousins is immature and a lousy defender now, for sure, but he’s already one of the most talented big men in the league. And he’s huge. If he was on the Spurs, I think it’s safe to assume Pop and Duncan would teach him how to play the right way…and if that happened we’d have a new Twin Towers, a repeat of the Duncan-Robinson dynamic, and our foundation for the next 10 years. It’s easier to find a Parker than a Cousins. I can’t see the Spurs ever trading for a player with Cousins’ character concerns, but it might have been a risk worth taking (albeit moot now).

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  • Bankshot21

    I can’t say that I was on the trade TP bandwagon, but I can also admit that if the right asset came along for him then I would have to seriously consider it. That’s pre 40-7 of course. The only untouchables I’ve ever considered on our team were Manu and Timmy because no one in the league can do what they do. Can the same be said about TP? I’m not so sure. His numbers are great but he lacks the intangibles of an untouchable player. I never proposed we trade him but I can see where those who did were coming from. Anything less than a healthy former all-star from 2009 or better would not be worth it. Manu and Hill can distribute when the need arises and even Quinn given enough reps could learn the system well enough to produce similar #s in assist. I can see a Devin Harris or even a Ty Lawson coming on the Spurs and being productive as TP. That’s just my opinion. Do with it what you will.

  • Esrl

    I agree with Bankshot21 statement that TP is easily the most replaceable out of the big 3. But unlike him, I admittedly was on the Trade Tony Parker bandwagon. For two reasons, one I was afraid what he would want(i.e. – a max or close to max deal, that would hamstring us after TD and Manu had rode into the sunset) and two, he always seems to be one play(bad injury) away from going from borderline All-Star to borderline back up in the NBA(and I was equally afraid that last year’s injury was the one to begin his decline). I know the comment about becoming a back up is a bit strong, but if he suffers a leg injury and loses his quickness, he will lose much of what makes him a very good player. Without his speed, to beat players off the dribble, he would be reliant on an improving jump shot(would be afraid what his % would be if defenders didn’t respect his ability to drive and play off), his great knowledge of the system and ability to run the team(But acknowledge and enjoy that now Manu is often the one bringing the ball up court and starting the offense in the last few minutes of the game), and he would still have suspect perimeter defense. I love TP for what he done for the team, the sacrifice he made for taking a lesser contract, and for what his future hopefully holds(another title and another all star nod). But will continue to dread the day his next leg injury turns up.

  • Dan

    He he…gotta disagree with one statement from Vore.

    “You can’t win with rookies.”

    I’d agree with SLIGHT modification: “You don’t often win with rookies.”

    But…

    Have you SEEN Blake Griffin!! :-)

    Trade TP (and half the bench) for Blake, and I think Spurs are probably still winning.

    Ok…maybe that isn’t that useful a comment. But, Blake sure is fun to watch.

    Although…trade Blake for TD and Spurs would NOT be winning this year. T’would be nice for the next 15 years, but not this year. Defensive system relies too much on the big guy in the middle knowing what he is doing and a rookie would not get it.

  • Daniel

    Re-upping Jefferson for $39M was still a bad idea.

    They should have gone after Matt Barnes, Dorell Wright, or Ronnie Brewer, in that order. All three are good defenders and rebounders and they all are younger and more athletic than Jefferson. Barnes and Wright are also better shooters than Jefferson. Most importantly, they all are getting paid between 1/8 and 1/3 of what Jefferson is making this season, meaning the Spurs would have been looking at enough room under the tax (assuming the cap rules are similar in a year) to use their full MLE.

  • Hobson13

    I was off and on when it came to the trade TP bandwagon. While I realized that Parker was injured for much of last season, I can say that there were very good reasons to trade Parker last year. Not the least of which was the fact that many thought Parker wanted to be in a different market and that he might simply Lebron the Spurs. On top of this, many thought that the Spurs window had pretty much closed and it was time to rebuild with young pieces.

    Of course no one on this blog (past or present) had any idea that the Spurs would even start 20-7, nevermind 40-7. Who could have guessed that the best case scenario (no injuries to speak of and everyone outside of Splitter meeting or exceeding expectations) would have happened to a team so riddled with injuries and bad luck for the past 3 years? We are 47 games into the season and the Spurs have had virtually EVERYTHING go right.

    Alix Babaie
    February 1st, 2011 at 6:09 am
    “There were so many douchebags – on this site, specifically (coincidentally, most of them do not post on here anymore as a result) – calling for Tony’s head, calling for R-Jeff not to be reupped, just stupid chatter really.”

    It’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback on trades that were proposed a year ago. If trade situations and ideas are highly fluid and can change in a month, how much more can they change in a year? As I said, there were legitimate reasons AT THE TIME to consider a Parker trade, but this team is NOT in the same situation as it was 12 months.

    If last year’s team had started 40-7, the Parker trade suggestions would never have taken place. No one and I mean no one ever predicted that the Spurs would have one of the best half seasons in the HISTORY of the NBA. At this point, the Spurs players, coaches, and front office even seem a bit surprised by their newfound regular season success. Bottom line: it’s unfair to name call or finger point at last year’s trade ideas that took place under certain conditions and circumstances that have drastically changed over the course of an entire year.

    Mike
    February 1st, 2011 at 8:00 am

    I agree 100%with the second half of your post regarding a Parker for Cousins trade. We won’t make such a move now, but it would have been worth looking at 6 months ago.

  • ruth bader ginobili

    Good call. Manu’s our best player, but Tony’s penetration is still out best weapon.

    Speaking of the draft, how good would Landry Fields look as a back-up wing on this team? Near as I can tell, the only time he shoots is on threes or off of cuts to the basket. So yeah, I think he’d fit in here. Hope Anderson can play some good minutes this year too.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Jesse Blanchard

    There was, after all, a whole summer of writing stating that the Spurs had all the leverage when it came to signing Parker to a reasonable deal, that Parker himself stated this was where he wanted to be, and how this team was best off if it could somehow keep its core healthy. Also, Buford stating they’d be crazy to simply get rid of Parker.

    The only question was health, and it was more about Manu and Timmy than Tony. Their abilities when healthy, and team success, was never in question…at least so far as I’m concerned.

  • Kintaro

    Long ago, I was willing to pull the trigger on a Parker/Kidd deal. When that fell through, that was the last I seriously thought of trading the Wee Frenchman. His trademark forays into the paint had become too integral to our success on the offensive end for me to feel comfortable brining in any other PG.

  • ITGuy

    I always said ‘No’ to trading TP or Bonner for that matter.

    Ok, go ahead and kill me for my Bonner comment.

    Go Spurs Go!!

  • Mr.Robinson

    Everybody is an expert on sports anymore. There are a lot of teams in the league you could question but the Spurs are not one of them. More often than not they make the right decisions so as fans of the team we should just sit back relax and enjoy what Pop and RC do.

    I know I would not want either of them telling me how to do my job because they would have no clue what they are talking about just like we don’t when we suggest who should be traded, signed, or played more. They can have their job and I will be happy keeping mine.

  • junierizzle

    FINALLY!!!!!!!!

    I couldn’t believe all the people on here that wanted him gone during the summer. Even at 40-7 I still read an occasional diss at TP. I forget who but someone wrote “this team needs a point gaurd.” Geez.

    When TP is playing like he IS playing I think the SPURS are unbeatable. He did win FINALS MVP one year. Not to mention the year that MANU missed the Playoffs and TP did all he could to get passed the MAVS. Even last season, he started playing good then he broke that bone in his hand.

    When TP resigned POP put it best, he said he felt honored that TP wanted to resign and not test the waters. Or something like that.

  • Espoon

    @Daniel

    I don’t quite know the specifics but the Spurs had little flexabilty in free agency. If they didn’t resign Jefferson then they may have been under the cap and not able to use the MLE. They could have used the full MLE to sign a player but then they wouldn’t have been able to sign Splitter because the LLE wasn’t enough and they still din’t use the rest of the MLE.

    Re-signing Jefferson really didn’t affect what they had to offer free agency wise. It may have affected their overall cap number and may have an impact going forward but this year it really did little.

  • Colin

    It’s funny Trade TP hasn’t posted much this season.

  • Dr. Leonard McCoy

    Damnit Jim, I’m just an old one dimentional country doctor, not a multi-talented nurse. Hats off to our hard working nurses by the way. Any who Spurs fans, Tony Parker. Hmmmm… For a long time, he was this ONE DIMENTIONAL player, unlike some of his counterparts such as CP3 & D-Will & Rondo, perhaps. Some of these guys can assist, defend, & hit the 3 ball as part of their asenal as PG’s. TP, on the other hand, uses his speed to drive into the lane for lay-ups or uses his teardrops. As time has gone on, he has developed a nice jumpshot & midrange shot. His defense is not bad, perhaps against PG’s his size & under, but to me, he’s been pretty much one dimentional, something that has been my pet peeve with him. ARRRG! Now, I’m sure that Pop saw that his quickness was his strong suite, & as time goes on, as he has matured, he would need to develop other skilled areas. As we all know that he’s not getting any younger, so now, we are hopefully starting to see him to develop more skills such as 3 point shooting & his assists numbers are starting to go up some. Now, if Tony, like J-Kidd, plans to be in this leauge for quite some time, he will need to begin to reinvent himself in the near future in order to stay healthy & affective as the Spurs PG. NO MORE TUMBLING & FALLING TO THE FLOOR AFTER LAYUPS, PLEEEEZE! IT’S SCARY!!! So, with the coaching staff he has, I believe they can make it happen for him. Tony, since his draft to the Spurs has been an important factor to thier 3 championships, so it would be great to see him also retire here as a Spur because he really deserves that. Any who, live long & prosper Spurs fans, hope TP & the Spurs will too, & GIT ONE FOR THA THUMB!!!

  • Daniel T

    Mike:

    I was saying I’m “not too sure” that I’d trade Anderson for the other draft choices, not Parker. While it might be difficult to turn down a trade for Cousins, I’d have a feeling that years later in retrospect that could turn out to be one of the worst ever. There’s not much to go on at this point, but as I’ve watched Anderson I get the impression that within a couple of years he could be averaging over 20 ppg with the only thing stopping him being injuries. Cousins could become very good, but seems more likely to stop himself.

  • http://www.bpifanconnect.com Alix Babaie

    Hobson13
    February 1st, 2011 at 10:03 am

    It’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback on trades that were proposed a year ago. If trade situations and ideas are highly fluid and can change in a month, how much more can they change in a year? As I said, there were legitimate reasons AT THE TIME to consider a Parker trade, but this team is NOT in the same situation as it was 12 months.

    Bottom line: it’s unfair to name call or finger point at last year’s trade ideas that took place under certain conditions and circumstances that have drastically changed over the course of an entire year.

    Hobson, I respect what you said but my point is that people feel that the solution is almost always to make a trade….my point has always been that Pop simply needed to inject some youth into the team and that would be enough to propel them.

    Trading away players and for other teams and ignoring home grown talent by opting for the draft and stash of Euros, as was the case with ignoring Carlos Boozer at the end of the 1st round, trading Barbosa to Phoenix, trading Scola for a 2nd rounder from Houston when you were adamant about waiting for a 1st rounder the year before, trading Dragic, etc.

    Those were all moves that hurt the team because they refused to inject any youth – gotta trust your vets to help bring the youngsters along. The braintrust is changing their way of thinking and it is paying dividends.

    Tony has morphed from the player who was quick to basket but could offer little else, to the player who had to be subbed during the 05′ Finals against the Nets with Claxton, to the 07′ Finals MVP. His talent has never been in question…..just like RJs, they have a precedent in their body of work, TP needed to heal and RJ needed time to assimilate.

    I just think it is unfair for people to pull the ripcord when things don’t fall the way they feel they should….now if you saw a decline in ability during / after this year, then you consider making changes but really, what value could you recoup for TP or RJ because of the salary cap restraints?

    Sometimes standing pat and developing your youth and remolding your vets is the best way to go….and we all are witnessing the fruits of that way of thinking.

    Can’t wait for June!

  • grego

    To be honest, the Spurs would probably be better if Manu came off the bench and Hill started alongside Parker.

    Pop is forced to sub Manu out first because he needs a ball handler to run the 2nd unit. Hill’s 3pt shooting has been a little more inconsistent because he doesn’t see the shots as often that he’d get from Parker’s penetration or Duncan’s posting.

    Manu plays a few extra minutes a game because of the adjustments Pop makes to make sure Parker or Manu are the PGs the majority of the game.

    Having said that, Manu deserves to start, especially since the Spurs have enough offense off the bench (Neal, Bonner, Anderson, Hill).

  • TD = Best EVER

    Great Article, and let me say that I AM a TradeTP FAN! But not for a draft pick and small french fires. The Spurs have 5 players not named TP that can score 20 points rather easily…. So A pass 1st PG(Rondo, Kidd-if he was cheaper, Nash, etc)would be better for this team than TP….. We would see RJ’s, TD’s, Neal’s, and Hill’s numbers all improve. With Manu’s staying about the same. Because as I have said he is a good player, but doesn’t make other players better around him, the way other Great playmaking PG’s can.

    Now this would have been a great trade idea. Collison and the #10 pick. Which we could have used to get Ed Davis, who is looking like he will be a double double guy very soon. 2 good young players that would both be logging 15+ min and long term cap flexibility. Collison is still learning only 23, and would fit our pick and roll system perfectly.

    Now as far as the Kings idea – that’s not bad either. Cousins is an idiot – would rather have Randolph any day…… But that aside – forget about both head cases and try this on……
    TP for Casspi and then used the pick for a big like Davis or Monroe from Detroit.

    So trading him isn’t a bad idea….. Just trading him for a pick straight up IS RETARDED………

  • Hobson13

    Alix Babaie
    February 1st, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    “Hobson, I respect what you said but my point is that people feel that the solution is almost always to make a trade….my point has always been that Pop simply needed to inject some youth into the team and that would be enough to propel them.”

    Ok. I can agree with that point. The allure of the unkown and hypothetical potential is usually what drives most trade scenarios.

    “…Those were all moves that hurt the team because they refused to inject any youth – gotta trust your vets to help bring the youngsters along. The braintrust is changing their way of thinking and it is paying dividends.”

    True. For too many years the Front Office tried to slot older, veteran players into the lineup (Horry, Barry, Finley, etc) instead of developing young, athletic talent like you mentioned.

  • TD = Best EVER

    On 2nd thought if the Kings rumor is actually true and they were willing to make a deal we should have JUMPED on it. The one I mentioned earlier
    Kings get – TP
    SPURS get – Casspi and a # 5 pick that could have been used for another wing player or BIG……. Monroe or Davis in my opinion. We would be saving like 15 million dollars over the next few years….. And got crazy young and athletic while still in the hunt for number 5.

    Now the saving money thing would only happen if we didn’t sign RJ after he opted out – and the SPURS thought Splitter would be better than he had so far so they probably weren’t even thinking about BIG’s at the time.

  • DorieStreet

    As a fan who didn’t come to this blog site until late last spring (May-when the team was eliminated from the playoffs), I can recall that the fanbase was split down the middle on retaining TP, Bonner & RJ; the scenarios on what transactions to take place with these players appeared daily by the dozen. But the FO decided to keep all three- and all three have improved aspects of their game that has contributed to this historic start. The franchise compensated the players, and like true professionals, have given their all for this current basketball campaign.

  • td4life

    By the time the late season and playoffs (and offseason) rolled around, I was in favor keeping TP (at least as sixth man) versus most scenarios, but was definitely against keeping RJ and Bonner. I was against sending even so much as Hill away for Murphy and the #9.

    Would definitely have sacrificed to get back Cousins or Favors though, via a top 5 pick, even if it cost us Blair and a top player… I did not think a top 5 pick was even remotely likely (unlike those who thought either Philly or NJ would be looking to add TP.)

  • Bankshot21

    Randolph over Cousins? Did I read that correctly? Smh.

  • Junierizzle

    @td=best ever
    manu doesnt make other players better?

    With all the wide open looks he gets for people, who wouldnt get better by playing with Manu?

  • senorglory

    Who knows what the Spurs have in Anderson? He’s played so little in the NBA.

  • Bentley

    It was fine to discuss Parker trade scenarios last year, and even if some felt inclined to say that we need to trade TP i would listen to that too.

    But I think the notion that TP doesn’t make the people around him on this team better is absolutely ludicrous. For one thing, Tony Parker is not the focal point of this team( a la Derrick Rose, Deron Williams, or Chris Paul) he has a Ginobili and a Duncan, two very good players. TP and Manu share ball-handling duties and yet TP is averaging a career high nearly 7 assists a game. And if you were to take into account the pass that sets up the assist, TP would have a bunch of those too.

    The scouting report for opposing teams always says one of the goals is to keep TP out of the lane because he’s so efficient at getting inside the lane, and when that happens thats when defenses break down, and thats what leads to wide open 3 pointers, easy lay-ups and dunks, or offensive rebounds if not put backs caused by overrotation. And if you keep him out of the lane, TP is one of the best midrange jump shooting PGs in the league. All of this adds up to making his teammates around him better. Sorry that he doesnt average 10+ assists and have the best ball handling skills in the league.

  • TD = Best EVER

    @ Junierizzle
    “manu doesnt make other players better?

    With all the wide open looks he gets for people, who wouldnt get better by playing with Manu?”

    That’s my point – we have far too much scoring ability to have a shoot 1st PG…. Manu is a Superior playmaker, just like Kidd, Rondo, Nash, etc….. these guys could all shot/score more if they wanted. But all realize that it’s better to have multiple guys playing/scoring well, as oppose to just them playing well, so they pass 1st.

    @ Bentley

    “But I think the notion that TP doesn’t make the people around him on this team better is absolutely ludicrous.”

    Well not really. The only time where he really excels at making something out of nothing is when he is in his “1 man fast break mode”. Most other times its off the PnR, which a lot of PG’s run very well. Just look at how well Tyson Chandler/ Okufor are playing for their 2 teams….. having near career years, because of the GREAT playmaking on their teams. TP can out score both of them(Kidd/Paul), but can’t make others better like they can. Look at what Nash is doing for players like Lopez/Warrick etc… these guys suck at scoring and both have look pretty damn good during stretches of the year because of his playmaking ability.

  • Eva Longoria

    I disagree.

  • Bankshot21

    Games like this dud is part of the reason people give TP a hard time. 40-8 isn’t bad but he killed my damn fantasy stats so far this week. SMH!

  • Poster123

    (not sure if my last attempt posted)

    Paul George. The player the Pacers drafted. .154 WS/48, 16.7 PER (limited minutes), and “looks smooth” according to the Pacers truehoop writers. He also has a lot of upside and might be better than Parker down the line. He’s also described as a very good defender by the same writers.

    No, he wouldn’t have replaced Parker’s production at the point guard slot, but he is an extraordinarily productive rookie who would have helped the Spurs out this season, which was the question asked (even if the help he provided didn’t equate to the production lost by Parker).

  • Clint Hill

    You couldn’t be more wrong. Last night, Parker was outplayed at both ends of the court by Andre Miller. The Spurs could probably have added either Al Jefferson or David Lee in return for Parker last summer. That’s the kind of help they need. Parker would not be missed.

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