The one thing that makes Tony Parker a trade candidate

by

In the recent must-read Spurs Nation interview of Gregg Popovich, the Spurs coach made two statements which are on my mind. Coach Popovich’s first noteworthy statement came in response to his stipulated offseason goals.

…to do everything humanly possible to become a more elite defensive team. For a couple reasons: One, historically, good defensive teams go the farthest in the playoffs, as can be proven in a million different ways.

Secondly, for personal reasons I felt very uneasy all year long with our spotty defense that could not be consistently relied upon in fourth quarters. It drove me crazy. I think I just need to do whatever I need to do personnel-wise, or drill-wise or demand-wise to go from the middle of the pack back to four, five, six, seven, somewhere in there.

We can’t be one, two, three anymore. We don’t have that youth, that juice to do that. But I think we can be four, five, six, seven, instead of 12, 13, 14, 15.

Gregg Popovich was also asked if there were any untouchables on his roster. That is, players the Spurs won’t trade under any circumstance. His response was a nothing response: “Yeah, there are several untouchables, but I won’t name them.” In a vacuum this is an unremarkable comment, but when coupled together with his sentiments about returning to the top of the league’s team defense categories, things become more curious.

In response to Pop’s answers, I exchanged notes with our readers on the 48MoH Facebook page. My gut response was to tag Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, George Hill and Tiago Splitter as San Antonio’s untouchables. But after some thought, I’m not convinced about Parker’s place on the untouchables list. What gives?

Tony Parker is a fine player. No complaints about Parker as a player. He breaks down defenses, is a proven floor leader, gets to the rim whenever he wants, is a lock to create a mid-range jumper off the screen at any point in the shot clock, and knows the Spurs’ system down in his bones.

However, if the Spurs want to return a better defensive team next season, and if the Spurs wants to see their best defensive units finishing games, getting stops in the 4th quarter and all, one wonders if the Spurs can use Tony Parker to close games, given the rest of their personnel.

Parker is a competent defender, but he’s nowhere near an elite defender. Good, not great. The Spurs’ best backcourt defenders are George Hill and Manu Ginobili. When the Spurs go to three guard sets, they’re typically exposed defensively. In those cases, they’re too small on the wing and struggle to board. In-game combinations of Parker-Ginobili-Hill are fine for stints, but the Spurs put themselves at risk when playing the trio together late in games.

It’s for this reason, and this reason alone, the Spurs should consider shopping Tony Parker. An exchange of a top shelf wing or big for Tony Parker is something the Spurs should explore, especially if such a player helps the Spurs in their quest to improve defensively.

  • Sam

     not bad, I really like this idea but I just don’t see the spurs making that big of a trade. But anything can happen.

  • Sam

    Interesting… but like I’ve said before I just can’t see the spurs making this big of a trade. Also I feel like we’re giving up a lot for Chris Paul. Lvmainman’s suggestion is more do-able and the spurs aren’t giving up as much. A straight up trade to New Orleans TP, RJ, and Blair for Chris Paul and Emeka Okafor

  • Ali

    I honestly think we should go after Grant Hill. Yea he is old, but boy he shut down kobe in the triple overtime game he is a great wing defender. i think we could get him cheap. I dont think we should trade RJ unless we get an athletic SF, we need it against DUrant/James. AL Thorton anyone? 

    As far as big we need to develop Thiago. I also think we just need a big body(not necessary a great defender). I think Gasol hurt us more than Zac. Honestly the few times Duncan guarded Randolph his height bothered Randolph(if my memory serves me right Zach was 1 for 5 against Tim) the problem was that everyone else was way too small for Gasol. My suggestionis  trade RJ for Okur. I mean the last 2 elimination games RJ did not even play in second half so loosing him makes no difference comes April/May, Okur spaces the floor, decent rebounder and huge body to throw at Gasol and Bynums. Also, he helps our D with making sure Bonner doesnt check in as much.

    So trade Rj for OKur, sign Hill and Throton with MLE and BI-annual.

    P.S. I hope we keep Parker, but Spurs played their best basketball in the past 4 years, when Parker was out last year. Because our best player(manu) touched the ball more. some food for the thoughts.  

  • Ali

     one more note Tim. From what I’m hearing Portland is not going to resign Oden. If that is the case why trade for him when we can get him as a free agent. Pop should fly to Portland or Indiana where ever Oden is talk him into the system. Talk to him about stepping into the same shoe as #50 and #21 and get him a cheap two year contract to prove himself. Man Oden/Duncan/Thiago is a pretty dam good frontline.

  • Fkj74

    Noooooooooooo WAY!!!!!

  • TD BestEVER

    I have been saying his D is suspect forEVER………..but more importantly his play-making isn’t good enough on a team with as much scoring as we have……….add those 2 things………..with his lack of a consistent jump shot, his age, and contract and it’s a no brainer that he has to leave………..

  • Rick Ashford

    Any time you change your stroke dramatically, especially mid-season, things get worse before they get better. 

  • Rick Ashford

    Best wing defender in the game isn’t Iguodala, it’s Luc Richard M’bah a Moute, who’s a free agent this offseason… 

  • Ojimenez26

    What’s wrong with Billups. At least he has a back bone. Oh and in case you don’t remember Pop gave Manu the ball in the 4th qrt of game 4 in 2007 not the “MVP.” Kinda odd don’t you think.

  • Ojimenez26

    Unless we can steal a real young point guard from another team ala CP3 than yes I’ll take the chance. Also, he can groom Hill being that Hill plays both sides of the ball unlike Parker.

  • http://twitter.com/Big_Texx87 Albert Smith

     Here you go David Kahn you need a point guard capable of running your team and that’s accomplished and the spurs need a big man a propose to you Tony Parker and our 1st rounder for Johnny Flynn and your 1st rounder so we can get our big man, two problems solved in one trade, plus Tony is only 29 years old still young.

  • Bruno

     I would give Oden a shot. The guy were supposed to be the next dominant Center. And if we sign him, would be a underpriced contract. So if Spurs can sign, i say is a good gamble

  • Ali

     I mean I have no idea what Oden is now after the injuries but before hand. He was the quickest 7 footer since Hakeem, he was fast and he was a competitor. I cant think of a better big man defender than we can afford, on the market. Pop knows how to rest his players, and he will have a great mentor in Duncan. Plus he has something to share with Hills, they both have their naked picture on the web. Prefect match

  • Ali

    Flynn sucks, he is scorer first and he has to go to the next step. He just seems like a guy that has 1 good game and 5 awful one. and there is absolutely no good big men in the draft that could help us.  That would put Minnesota in the playoff and us out of it. plus the salaries wont match

  • DorieStreet

    The Hawks have been abysmal in their front office operations for 2 decades–in particular with the draft and some free agent signings. Yeah, they even traded Dominique Wilkins for Danny Manning. But they will not trade Josh Smith for a point guard. Even with his bad decision-making and attitude problems at times, he’s part of their somewhat ‘big 3′–Smith along with Joe Johnson and Al Holford. If they get a legit center, Josh takes over the starting spot at the 3 position–and they will trade away Marvin Williams, who after his SIXTH season in the league is edging closer and closer to acquiring the “bust” label for an overall No. 2 draft pick (2005).  

  • DorieStreet

    +10  The FO signed these players after the deadline (Green for the 2nd time) eyeing next season. Pops put Hill, Blair and Neal out there in their first years but not Splitter. Give this year’s new signees a chance (including Anderson). The ‘Core 3′ are going to all exit during the next 2-4 seasons; let’s find out if the guys on the roster or signed can contribute and lead the team back to the top. 
    This includes Ryan Richards–bring him in and suit him up –in the Silver & Black-now. 

  • DorieStreet

    Oden “the quickest 7 footer since Hakeem”  ??? Let’s not get carried away. He could pivot nice, but he had defenders back on their heels because of his postioning than anything else. If you like him, fine—but don’t overhype. Portland has to pay 8 mil/per to keep him; I think they pass. Come on down to Texas, Greg and start over.

  • Colin Rigney

    “What’s wrong with Billups.”

    Nothing, unless you want to go for the “oldest core” in the league.  Would you want to go 82 games, make the playoffs, and be confident with Ginobili, Duncan, and Billups as your “go to” guys?

  • Colin Rigney

    No Oden!

  • Bob

     May as well go for Yao Ming as well. The Spurs will be able to have another twin towers.

  • Pingback: Trade Parker? Here are five scenarios « Spurs World – "Everything about the San Antonio Spurs and more…"()

  • Hurm66

    Tim still had a very solid PER this season – he is still very effective
    on the court, but he can no longer compensate for glaring needs at the
    5. We need a center, a true center who can block shots, bang and rebound
    a bit. Nothing super duper. As great as Tim has been over the years,
    Robinson, Nesterovic, Nazr were all serviceable co-pilots in the paint.
    Oberto was alright too for that particular team.

    Spurs have to make a tough choice now. I believe they know NY would
    trade Billups for TP and Bonner right now. Then forget Tim’s current
    deal – it’s after next season when suddenly the Spurs shed $35 million
    (TD $21 / Billups $14). The latest CBA deal suggests that the new cap
    will be eased in so the Spurs will have a window to use this money.

    NY would do it because they are not getting under the cap even with
    Billups off the books and CP3 know that Carmelo and Amare (with his
    uninsured contract) are locker room cancers.

    In this economy, would you be willing to be the best of the West and go
    to SA if your can team up with CP3 and Howard? Are the role players
    going to be enough to entice you? Blair. Hill. Neal. Splitter. An aging
    but willing and coming off the bench Manu and TD (at a reduced cost
    going for ring number five).

    I think it’s a fairy tale, but you have to go where the money is and
    they have a chance to get so far under that they can do something. Will
    they take it or would they want the bright lights?

    It’s a gamble and when Jason Kidd spurned us years ago, it scared them
    into thinking that free agents might not want to go to SA.

    The Spurs have to act fast because Pat Riley will certainly offer Bosh
    and pieces to the Magic at the trade deadline for Howard. Think about it
    – he’s always been about being a big man team. Kareem. Ewing. Mourning.
    Shaq. He traded tons for the latter two players, including a soft-ish
    lefty power forward who was with the team only one season. Bosh is gone
    regardless.

    If your Otis Smith (GM of the Magic) there are only a few choices: Blake
    Griffin (not happening), Noah and pieces (maybe) or Bosh and pieces
    (the latter two are locked up in long term deals and still in their
    prime). Durant isn’t going anywhere. And he doesn’t want Bynum, who is
    both frail and an idiot.

    Howard can be had but you have to be willing to take back a toxic deal – Turk or Arenas. I believe the Spurs would balk at that.

    Lastly don’t forget Nash has an expiring deal too and the Suns will move
    him at the deadline for cheap so his loyalty can be rewarded with one
    final quest for a ring. To an Eastern Conference team. Like the Heat
    perhaps. Who would then use up his expiring to chase a discounted PG who
    would be a free agent. Like that guy in New Orleans. Riley’s dream team
    is Howard, Udonis, LBJ, Wade and CP3. Sounds crazy right? Riley got all
    three this year – with a DISCOUNT! Don’t underestimate him.

    The Spurs have to roll the dice or take the scenic route to rebuilding.
    Either way, they’ve given us a great journey – and I believe they have
    at least one more run in them.

  • http://twitter.com/tyler_remmert Tyler Remmert

    threa-surrection. Idea, just spitballing:

    SPURS GIVE: Tony, 2 1st round picks.
    ‘SOTA GIVES: Love/Pekovic/Randolph/RICKY RUBIO

    bear with me… I know Rubio is unproven, and a big if to come to SA. But I think this gives us options to deal with our point guard situation even if he doesn’t come over. Here would be our prospective lineup

    PG: Hill, Rubio (you’d have to start hill)
    SG: Manu, Neal
    SF: Jefferson, Anderson, Randolph
    PF: Love, Splitter, Bonner
    C: Tim, Pekovic, Blair

    That leaves a hold at the point (even though Manu could arguably run point), but it makes us younger up front by a lot and gives us a glut of big men with which to work a trade. Blair/Bonner are worth something, even if it’s only replacement level. We could get another PG, if only to put a finger in the dam until Rubio matures into the Spurs system.

    Plus, Rubio may like it in San Antonio: the foreign style of playing may suit him. He’s pass first, which would be something we haven’t had since Avery Johnson. He’s underwhelming right now, but give him time.

    Secondly, it shores up the defense. We no longer have to rely on Tim to be our primary post scorer (Pekovic and Love are both stellar in this regard), so tim can become David Robinson, the defensive stalwart who picks his spots. It certainly doesn’t make us worse defensively, and it makes us MUCH taller, with a front four rotation that’s no under 6’10”.

    LASTLY, all have palatable decent year contracts. Spurs could take a gamble.

    I think it’s worth it. Love would be a hero in San Antonio. And I think Minny would do anything to get their hands on a star. and Kahn’s obsession with PGs would be on display.

  • carlos

    i was thinking in this http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=3j4dkfc  and spurs got the first round pick of minny(  kanter??) maybe give a second pick to the warriors. 
    or someway get rubio over ridnour like you said, but definitely minny is a very good trade partner.

  • Trooperjoe73

    Trade/Get rid of Parker/Bonner/Jefferson.  GET a big man!  Let Hill run the point, but draft Julyan Stone from UTEP.  Who is he?  No name, small school, etc.  Trust me, he is a baller.  6’5–6’6″ TRUE Point Guard!  Don’t worry about Hill at the end of games, switch him to the 2 and let Manu run the 1, that’s what the Spurs do anyways and Parker was a defensive liability, but Hill is not.  In 2-3 years, Julyan Stone is running the Spurs like a champ!

  • ChrisL

    The Spurs need to keep its core and focus on getting a consistent rebounder in the front court. Luis Scola would have been of great help to Duncan because he can score as well. Tony Parker has created a lot of matchup problem for teams such as Mavericks and Lakers who couldn’t catch up with his speed. The Spurs was brilliant in keeping the trio all these years and it would be a shame to trade him. How many players with his salary have better values?

  • Guest

    Irk was his rookie nickname, but he has improved a LOT defensively.  Also probably the wrong post-season to maverick bash.  they are winning on pure guts and effort.