Tony Parker on Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili: ‘I think they’re both going to play one more year’

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It gets lost after the Spurs lost a hard-fought first-round playoff matchup to the Clippers in seven games, especially when taking in all that’s happened in the NBA since San Antonio was eliminated back on May 2.

But make no mistake — the Spurs were legitimate title contenders.

San Antonio finished the regular season winning 21 of its last 25 games, and its numbers on both ends of the floor during that stretch were better than those of the eventual champion Warriors.

So, despite the less-than-satisfying finish, one could reasonably assume that the Spurs would be every bit as formidable next year, should the team’s key players return to the roster.

From Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News:

Spurs point guard Tony Parker has played all but one of his 14 seasons alongside Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili as part of the team’s Big Three and can’t imagine playing without them.

The youngest member of the championship-winning trio that ranks as the most successful in NBA history, Parker, 33, believes the three will be together at least one more season.

“I think they’re both going to play one more year,” Parker told the Express-News on Wednesday. …

Parker admits his opinion about keeping the trio intact next season is a bit of wishful thinking.

“I’m trying to be positive,” he said with a chuckle after an appearance at his annual basketball camp at George Gervin Academy.

It’s clear that no decision has yet been made, and that Parker is (at least publicly) merely being speculative.

Duncan and Ginobili are both unrestricted free agents this summer, and retirement for each remains a real option. Ginobili most recently seemed to indicate that if Duncan decides to return, then he will, too. If that’s indeed the case, that could be good news for Parker and the rest of the Spurs, considering there’s a buzz around the league that San Antonio expects Duncan to be back.

Bulls unveil blue uniforms (photo)

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Michael Jordan famously wore a pair of North Carolina shorts under his Bulls uniform.

Now, Chicago will bring baby blue to the surface.

Bulls:

These are a major-departure from the Bulls’ red-and-black color scheme. Even the logo is altered.

Such deviations are becoming normalized. The Magic will wear orange. Expect other teams to get more radical.

These jerseys will certainly sell. The short-term revenue boost of all these alternate uniforms is the entire idea.

But I wonder whether there’s a cost to teams diluting their identities. These don’t look like Chicago uniforms. It could become increasingly difficult to value the prestige of NBA jerseys if they’re so loosely associated with a team.

Bucks to wear ‘Cream City’ jerseys (photos)

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The Bucks making cream one of their colors? Great! It was distinctive and local, celebrating the cream-colored bricks throughout Milwaukee.

These uniforms?

Bucks:

Not so great. Everything about the uniforms is fine except the words on the front of the jersey.

I’m sure nobody will crack immature jokes about those.

Reporter: Charles Barkley told me, ‘I don’t hit women, but if I did, I would hit you’

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Charles Barkley has a history of sexist comments.

The crudest publicly came in 1990. Los Angeles Times:

Barkley, who said the remarks were meant as a joke, was quoted as saying after a tough Nov. 3 win over the underdog New Jersey Nets that “this is a game that if you lose, you go home and beat your wife and kids. Did you see my wife jumping up and down at the end of the game? That’s because she knew I wasn’t going to beat her.”

But since becoming beloved for his outspokenness as a commentator, there have been others – calling the Warriors’ style “little-girly basketball,” mocking the weight of female Spurs fans.

Now, Barkley has again run his mouth in this direction.

Alexi McCammond of Axios:

Turner Sports:

This was obviously inappropriate for Barkley to say. I’m not sure how else to characterize it. It doesn’t sound like a threat. It’s not related to domestic violence. It’s just not the way to speak to someone working professionally.

I’m glad he apologized, and I hope he learned from this. But history suggests he’ll continue to make off-color jokes. In fact, he’s rewarded for repeatedly pushing the line.

That might eventually get him into serious trouble. I don’t think these remarks should be the ones to spark mass outrage.

Derrick Rose: If load management existed back then, I’d probably still be with Bulls

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In 2011, Derrick Rose won MVP.

In 2012, Rose tore his ACL.

After playing big minutes early in his career, Rose was frequently sidelined the next few seasons. That took a toll on everyone involved. He felt the loneliness and despair of major injuries. The Bulls struggled to meet expectations with their best and highest-paid player repeatedly injured.

Eventually, Chicago traded Rose to the Knicks.

NBC Sports Chicago:

Rose:

It was just a different time in the sports world, period. Now we have the term “load management.” I don’t think that I would’ve taken it as far as Kawhi, as far as like they’re really being cautious about his injury or whatever he has. But if load management would’ve been around, who knows? I probably would’ve still been a Chicago Bull by now. But it wasn’t around.

Load management was around. That term hadn’t become popularized. But teams – most notably Gregg Popovich’s Spurs – had already begun resting players throughout the season.

Then-Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau just didn’t subscribe to that thinking. He wanted his best players on the court as often as possible. He had them practice long and hard to build good habits.

The science has evolved since then, but Thibodeau continued in his old-school with the Timberwolves. He just appeared stuck in his ways.

We’ll never know what would’ve happened if Chicago were more cautious with Rose. Maybe his on-court impact would’ve been lessened without all those reps. Maybe he would’ve gotten hurt, anyway.

But in this “what if?”, more focus should be on his coach than the era.