Tony Parker thinks its over and told a French paper that. A lot of us think it’s over.
But Spurs general manager R.C. Buford thinks the San Antonio Spurs will still be pretty darn good. Which was pretty clear anyway when he made sure he was bringing back pretty much the same roster next season.
Buford was a little surprised at Parkers’ pessimism, he told the Express-News’ Spurs Blog.
“Who knows what the motivation is to say something like that,” Buford said. “I’m not going to get caught up in comments. All I can say is that we’re going to continue to build our team and try to be as good as we can be in the future.”
Parkers comments will set off another wave of trade speculation around the
Spurs, including Parker, who just signed a new deal that will pay him $12.5 million a season for the next four seasons.
“I can’t control that,” he said, “and I’m not going to worry about it. We’re just going to move forward and work to improve the team.”
The Spurs posted the best record in the Western Conference, but when the Memphis Grizzlies got physical in the first round the Spurs could not keep up.
RC Buford says he wants to keep Tony Parker in San Antonio. He should — elite point guards at the peak of their game are hard to find.
But if San Antonio can’t convince Tiago Splitter to come to the states from Europe, the Spurs will have to consider trading Parker, they don’t have other good options to make key roster changes. And the playoffs showed they need to make some changes.
Enter the New York Knicks, who might be interested in Parker, according to the Daily News.
With Donnie Walsh in the market for a point guard, there are reports that San Antonio would consider trading Tony Parker, who lost his starting job to (George) Hill and has told close friends he and his actress wife, Eva Longoria, would love to relocate to New York.
“Pop loves George and I could see a scenario where he would trade Tony,” said a Spurs source, referring to San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. “Tony will be looking for a max deal and New York may pay him.”
The Spurs, who want front line help, would likely want David Lee back in a sign-and-trade. There would need to be other parts to make it work, and it’s unlikely that the Knicks would give Parker a max deal.
All that is to say, this is not likely at all. Still, there are going to be suggested trades that are much worse fits that will be discussed and made this summer.
As was evident watching the Spurs got swept by the Suns, San Antonio needs to add some young legs and energy to the team, especially along the font line with Tim Duncan. A “stretch four” would be ideal, if you have one of those laying around they could have.
However, as we discussed yesterday, helping out the front line may mean trading Tony Parker. Spurs General Manager RC Buford doesn’t seem to like that idea, something that became clear in a conversation with the San Antonio News Express.
“I think that you 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. It would surprise me if Tony hadn’t played most of the year with some kind of health ailment that we’d even be having this conversation.”
The Spurs best option would be to convince Tiago Splitter — the best center in Europe — to come to San Antonio. San Antonio drafted the Brazilian in 2007 and have his rights, but have not as of yet been able to convince him to leave Spain. They could pay him the full mid-level exception, and he’d be worth it. Splitter has a varied offensive game that can stretch the defense or bang inside, he would fit perfectly alongside Tim Duncan. Splitter could step right in as a starter.
And the Spurs would get to keep Parker, who should bounce back with a better season if he is healthy. It’s all a perfect little dream, if the Spurs can convince Splitter to come.
If not, the Tony Parker option may still be on the table. The Spurs don’t have a lot of other options.