It’s no secret that NBA general managers don’t want their players overextending themselves during the summer, because their priority is to have the beast team possible ready for the start of the season at October’s end.
But players have different priorities, especially those with international ties.
Tony Parker is among the many foreign-born players who love representing their country in international competition, but that can obviously wear a player down for the grueling 82-game season back in the states.
While he’s received support from the Spurs’ front office in terms of his desire to play internationally, Parker says he also received a gentle reminder from the team’s GM, R.C. Buford, not to overdo it.
From Mark Woods of ESPN.com:
Although some in NBA front offices, most vocally Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks, have rallied against their star employees heading off on national duty, R.C. Buford and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich are not among them.
“I saw R.C.,” Parker said. “He wants me to play less minutes to be ready for the Spurs next season. But I have a great relationship with the Spurs. I’m very lucky to have R.C. and Coach Pop to let me play for my country. They know that I love playing for my country.
“I take a lot of pride playing for France. I’m just happy that I have the Spurs organization to let me do that.”
Injury isn’t the primary concern, even though Parker had an MRI as a precaution earlier this summer, and played in the Finals while being less than 100 percent. It’s more the miles put on the body during the one extended period that players have to recover from the rigors of the NBA season.
Players like Parker aren’t going to drop their international commitments anytime soon, so teams have to simply accept those decisions and hope for the best. But it doesn’t mean that they can’t prod their players along the way in order to get them to minimize any risks as much as possible.