The one thing that makes Tony Parker a trade candidate

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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.

  • Colin Rigney

    Varner

    I don’t know if your argument that Parker is untouchable quite matches Poppovich’s quotes, but I understand your reach. I do think that Parker’s trade value at least need to be assessed

  • tyler

     that proposed roster is PAPER thin. Danny Green and Da’Sean Butler as your backup wings WILL NOT work, neither is anywhere near proven, and Iggy is injury prone.

    Second, our frontline would be even shorter and worse off than it was this year. Landry is small, you can’t play Duncan and Splitter together, and Richards is going to take years to turn into a serviceable big man, saying nothing of presuming he could step in and be the 4th big man on a HOPEFULLY championship worthy team.

    this lineup would net us 48 wins. Tops.

  • tyler

     also, in response to Sam, WHERE WOULD OUR 3pt SHOOTERS BE?! Iggy is, at best, a mediocre long range guy (think Jefferson), and we no longer have a floor-spacing 4. Our starting lineup has one three-point shooter, which is UNACCEPTABLE in Pop’s offense

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

    the Magic are apparently open to trading Jameer Nelson… why isn’t that an option? Make a deal where the principals are Parker/Nelson. try to get one of Clark/J Rich/or Ryan Anderson (via sign-and-trade options for the first two) while including Jefferson or Bonner, that may work. If anything, I think we could swing a Parker for Jameer/Clark/Anderson deal, and that’s fair and definitely shores up our frontline enough to try and trade Bonner and Blair.

  • Rick Ashford

    How about Parker straight up for Josh Smith?  That improves both teams.  You could even do a Parker + Jefferson for Smith + Marvin Williams, and it works for both teams as well.  I wouldn’t mind doing that deal, and then trying to sign Luc Richard M’bah a Moute.

    A crunch-time of Duncan, Smith, M’bah a Moute, Ginobili and Hill would be a beast defensively, and should be good enough offensively (especially if Chip Engelland can teach M’bah a Moute to shoot a corner 3).

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

     for instance… how about this? Philly gets screwed in the deal so there would have to be draft picks or something thrown in, but i think it’s a winner otherwise… Orlando almost comes out on top. http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=3rhd5w5

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

    In such a case… our line up would be:

    PG: Nelson/Hill
    SG: Manu/Neal/QRich (swings between 2 and 3)
    SF: Iggy/Anderson/QRich
    PF: Speights/Clark (he couldn’t be included in the trade since he’s a free agent, but we could get him. OR we could make a run at Ryan Anderson, since the Magic will give him up if they have Bonner)
    C: TD/Splitter

    I’m sold. good, big bodies in the frontcourt, enough to offset Speights’ defensive shortcomings. Good rebounders. No floor-spacing 4, but Nelson is a bomber from 3, unlike Parker. Anderson/Iggy is a potent 3 combo, and QRich is there if we ever need a 3 ball specialist

    it works for Orlando too… they lose Duhon (who wasn’t playing), QRich (same), and Nelson, who’s EASILY offset by Parker. They need a creator and they got one.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Your right Bob,  It would work in that game situation. But Timmy should move to the 5 on teams with weaker centers and stronger 4′s and the number of weaker centers in the league is dwindling as Timmy gets older. 

  • Titletown99030507d

    I think it makes both teams better. 

  • Titletown99030507d

    Good luck he screwed up Splitters free throws. Splitter in Europe 64%, Splitter in NBA 54%. 

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    Sometimes you gotta break something down before you can build it up. 

  • Titletown99030507d

    I think the sole reason RJ hasn’t worked out here is not because of him it’s because of Tony pushing the ball coast to coast most of the times on those fast breaks. If you noticed tony put the burden on himself to make things happen instead of doing what CP3 does best. Get the ball to the open guy and back off the forcing the issue on offense. 

  • Titletown99030507d

    Your high dude. What Spurs games were you watching hello? He was the brightest spot in the Memphis series as the analysts said after the series. Too bad he started playing in the fourth game. Blame Pop for that. Next. 

  • Qltfnish

    Tony to whomever gets the first or second pick and draft Enes Kanter and whatever it takes to make the trade work.  If you can – include Jefferson in some way.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Good post. Next season will tell everything and I got a feeling he’s going to do exactly what he did in Europe all those years. 15/10 thats my  prediction. Some days lower some days higher but for the year he’s 15/10 easy with 25 – 30minutes

  • Titletown99030507d

     Good point we probably would have gone further with the addition of a good SF and a big. Maybe it could have put us over the hump.

  • Bob

    The point I was making is that Duncan shouldn’t be the biggest player on the team. Nowitzki is seven
    foot but they surround him with other legit seven footers. Duncan’s not even 7 foot, 6’11 and he gets surrounded with munchkins. Duncan’s defense against good 4′s can’t be much worse than Irk (no D) Nowitzki. He can still play the weak center to conserve energy.

  • Titletown99030507d

    It will take a half a season to get these guys in sync but well worth it. We could sneak in the playoffs and be rolling  by the time the first rounds comes. Last time I checked Iggy is ok and healthy. Doesn’t mean he’s going to break down. Oh Yeah good line up. 

  • kornbread

    Tony is the team’s only point guard under contract.  The George Hill experiment is over; it’s time to let him be what he is, an undersized 2. If they decide to trade Tony, they better get a point guard in return.

    Also, I can’t remember the last time I saw Hill lock someone down defensively.  He’s not terrible, but he’s certainly not going to make an all-defense team anytime soon. 

    Tony was usually only at a disadvantage when they switched and he ended up with a bigger player.  If they were playing good team defense that would not have been an issue
    More likely trade pieces are Blair, Hill or Jefferson, but their contracts make it difficult to get what they need.

    The team may be able to get a decent backup PG with their 1st round pick. They need to find a front court replacement for ‘Dice’.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Not really. Richards is going fool you and prove you wrong. That dude in his latest  interview a few days back said he’s ready to get on the court with the Spurs. Everyones taking this dude lightly and so they should but he is special. He’s 19 but carries himself like a 28 year old. A little RR after shoulder surgery on two shoulders. 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmeAsnUFZvk&feature=player_embedded

  • Titletown99030507d

    Forgot to mention he’s officially  a 7 footer barefoot  and he moves like this? Get him over here so Timmy and Splitter can work him out. In his interview he said he’s not concerned about the U20 British roster he just wants to play in the NBA now.

  • Titletown99030507d

    FYI Parker reached his prime in 2007 and proved it with a Finals MVP! An MVP is an MVP any way you slice it. Oh so your going to say now that our 99 Championship was bogus because of the shorten season. I think the rest of the league would have like to have  gotten that one. A ring on your finger looks good any way you get on there. And that MVP trophy looks good anywhere Tony puts it in house. Please. Next.

  • Titletown99030507d

    And you want Billups for Parker? I don’t think so. 

  • Titletown99030507d

     Nelson a score first point guard. Doesn’t net us anything in regards to giving Tony away..

    http://toofarsports.blogspot.com/2011/02/overrated-athletes-jameer-nelson.html

  • Titletown99030507d

    He has chip on his shoulder. But that’s a good thing.

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOr2Cu9DarA

  • Rob

    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=3jlod7f

    Sweet trade for all parties.  Spurs now have that young super star that other top notch free agents would like to come and play with.  Orlando gets significantly better at penetration on offense and gives Howard help in the post for rebounding. (Maybe DeJuan Blair’s “issues” can be motivated by a different coach) next to an all star center in Howard.  New Orleans gets a young up coming point guard without loss for nothing and McDyess’ non-guaranteed contract for salary flexibility.

    Comb the free agent market to get that defensive 3, 4 or 5 to come to S.A. now that Paul would be on board and/or still have some tradeable players in Hill, Jefferson, Anderson, picks to land one via trade.

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

    frontcourt depth ruined. We’d be starting Tim/Bonner with Tiago as the only backup. Our cap space would be totally maxed. Where’s a FA signing coming from? 

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

    and Tony isn’t?? at this point aren’t we looking for a scoring guard since TD isn’t the no. 1 option? A PG who can spot up from beyond the arc and can be found by a cutting Manu, or can kick out on drives to Iggy/Manu/Hill/Neal? That’s EXACTLY what Jameer is, for a fraction of the cost of Tony.

    He’s also a PROVEN playoff performer. he may be self-centered… BUT SO IS TONY. We’re getting a few years younger at the point, more physical, and adding the BEST WING DEFENDER IN THE GAME. I’d call that a HAUL. 

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    Jameer Nelson is actually a couple months older than Tony Parker. 

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    I don’t think New Orleans does that trade. I wouldn’t consider Nelson a “young up coming point guard” considering he’s 29 years old (usually when players have reached their peak). Tony Parker is actually a couple of months younger than Nelson.young up coming point guard” considering he’s 29 years old (usually when players have reached their peak). Tony Parker is actually a couple of months younger than Nelson.

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

    Guess I boarded the failboat this morning. Still think it’s worthwhile. 

  • Rob

     Something happened to the responses that were showing before but not any more so I’ll comment on them with this post.

    Agreed about Nelson.  I should have said a point guard that would work well in New Orlean’s system for half the cost they are paying Paul.  Brandon Bass works as well as West used to if West is not signed by the Hornets. (How could they if they are cap limited?)  Bass and Nelson’s salary equate to Paul’s salary alone.  Two for one deal?

    Regarding Spurs being weak in the post with this deal and not flexible in cap room.  Understood, but the Spurs would be that way anyway.  (Enough incentive for Duncan to renegotiate contract?) Now Paul gives the Spurs some advantage on enticing role players to join and Hornets probably release McDyess who then may come back to S.A. or retire.  Hornets then have some cap flexibility.  Spurs still have tradeable partners in Hill, Jefferson, Anderson.  Using Jefferson’s contract would be a must to land another big…but then again…McDyess would have been gone anyway leaving the Spurs with just Duncan, Splitter, Bonner and Blair.  At least Paul makes every body more efficient more so than Parker.

  • Tim

     Would be awesome if we could pull this off.. not very realistic though!
    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=4y3grns 

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

    GOD I WISH. but, literally the Magic would laugh so hard they might die. AND Howard would NEVER stay in SA after his contract is over. sad, but true. 

  • TIm

     http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=3huccbh

    this is at least a possibility….

  • Rob

     Record season ticket sales would be established in 24 hours.

  • Sam

     In the nba today no one needs a floor-spacing 4. It’s all about bigs who can pound it down low. We have to adjust to the NBA right now. Isaiah Thomas tryed to do the opposite of what everyone was doing in the NBA, because when everyone was getting small he decided it would be a great idea to get big, and look how that turned out. Honestly, Bonner is worthless in the playoffs and without him our young bigs get more playing time. What are you trying to get at when you said “Where would our 3pt shooters be?”. We still have many 3pt shooters and honestly we need to get away from relying so much on the 3 pointer. That is the reason Orlando was a HORRIBLE team in the playoffs this year.

  • Sam

    The guy has tons of confidence and said he wanted to join the spurs BEFORE this years playoffs but that did not happen. I think this video shows his game a little better.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiANnojm34I

  • Sam

    I honestly have no clue what your are talking about. Iguodala is FAR from injury prone, only 2 of his 7 seasons has he not played a full 82 games. 

    “Danny green and Da’Sean Butler as your backup wings WILL NOT work” um…. those were are back up small forwards this year. Also 3 of the 4 teams still left in the playoffs have less than mediocre back up small forwards.

    “Our frontline would be even shorter than it was this year.” Actually this is a completely false statement. Dejuan Blar is 6 7 at best. We’re replacing him with Carl Landry who is 6 9/ 6 10 with shoes on. Did you watch the playoffs? He was dominating the Lakers bigs. Ryan Richards is 7 feet with/without shoes so he is taller than 6 10 bonner.

  • Sam

    No sorry I doubt this would work because the spurs don’t want a guy like Daniel Gibson. Also The Cavs already have Baron Davis locked up and probably want to draft Kyrie Iriving so there’s no way they want another pg. 

  • Sam

     Why would we trade parker to Philly? They’re obviously giving the reigns to Jrue Holdiay. This trade is pretty bad for the spurs because we are giving th 76ers way more than they want for Iggy.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4UKVFK3K5O4DHFRT5W2I4JIG3I Justin

    I agree that Iggy is a poor long range shooter much like Jefferson, however he is a huge upgrade in just about every other area.  He’s a better passer, playmaker, defender, and pretty much everything else.  Besides, who was spacing the floor when we had Duncan and Robinson or Duncan and Oberto or Duncan and Nesterovich?  The Stretch 4 is not an absolute must. 

  • Sam

     I feel that there are more and more of a “lets make a trade just for the sake of trading” types of comments. Sometimes the best trade is the one that doesn’t happen.

  • Rob

     Respectfully, You’ve got a point to a certain extent.  But, not all PG’s in this league drop off rapidly after the age of 28.  Steve Nash and Jason Kidd to name a couple.  And if that were the norm…Tony Parker is scheduled for rapid decline as well.  But I don’t think that be the case with him or Nelson. 

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    I’m not saying he’s in for a rapid decline, I’m just saying he’s not up-and-coming anymore. Players at the age of 29 usually are what they are. They may change/evolve as players, but they don’t usually get a lot better.

  • Rob

     Front court help already ruined after the so called expected retirement of McDyess.  Even if Parker were to stay…the Spurs don’t have much room financially to acquire a significant big.  If it could be done…Paul is a much better facilitator and all around PG than Parker.  Spurs would still be in the hunt to improve in the post but at least have a better player at the PG position who would help get better production out of who they have.  And I do think any probable candidates of still productive players that would sign on for less just to get a ring would choose to come to S.A if Paul were here more so than Parker.

    Otherwise, other than getting that type of game changing player, the Spurs hope of dealing for anything better or close would be knell.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4UKVFK3K5O4DHFRT5W2I4JIG3I Justin

    Yeah, I’m digging this one.  Good job on a 3 team trade. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4UKVFK3K5O4DHFRT5W2I4JIG3I Justin

    True.  The only team the Spurs can build around Parker is a lottery team.  While Parker can be a formidable 3rd option on a championship team, he CANNOT lead the Spurs or be a franchise player.  IMO, the Spurs are at a crossroads with Parker and the team.   

  • Rob

    Yeah, “up and coming” was a totally bad reference on my part.  Should have stated it as Nelson would at least be a very good contributor at half the cost while the Hornets would also get Bass at the least a complimentary player to West in case (more than likely) Landry goes somewhere else.  Two for one kind of deal that keeps N.O. competitive with some (very little) cap room to operate.  But more cap room than they have now with Paul on the team and little chance to replace a high caliber player like West if West ETO’s or loose Carl Landry who is unrestricted.

  • Lvmainman

    I made a similiar trade proposal right after the season to get both Paul and Howard come 2012-13. But, mine took 2 steps, the trade Parker/Jefferson/Blair for Paul/Okafor this summer and then hope Howard doesn’t get traded before free agency and entice him to be a Spur to play with Paul, Duncan, Ginobili as a free agent when Duncan’s contract expires. Use Okafor as a free agent sign and trade chip in the summer of 2012.

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=6hwcgor