Editor's note: Please welcome Trevor Zickgraf to the Project Spurs family. Trevor comes from Going Glass 21 and will bring his brand of insightful posts on the Spurs to Project Spurs. We're delighted he decided to join us. Please enjoy his debut post on Tony Parker's recent comments about the Spurs.
I don’t disagree with what Tony Parker said recently that the current Spurs team can be good but not a championship contender. Any San Antonio Spurs fan who is honest with his or herself has to appreciate Parker’s honest answer. At the same time I can’t help but feel a little discouraged he essentially said, “I’m the Spurs best player and that’s not good enough for us to win a title.” This team just won 61 games and while Parker probably wasn’t trying to send a message of any sorts, he essentially waved the white flag on the Spurs’ title chances for the remainder of the "Three Amigos" era.
Of all the nicknames Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Parker have garnered over the years, I’ve always felt “Three Amigos” was the best. Duncan is Steve Martin. He’s been doing it the longest and has been making us laugh for the longest time and continues to do so. Ginobili is Chevy Chase. A more physical/slap-stick routine, sometimes provides the biggest cheers, but ultimately you’d still take Martin over Chase in most situations. Then there’s Parker, who is definitely Martin Short. Short is very funny, but sometimes not nearly as funny as you want him to be. He’s not at Martin and Chase’s level.
In keeping with the movie comparisons, the best movie where Martin is the lead is Innerspace. A highly entertaining movie, but not on the level of some of the classics that Martin and Chase have given us. That’s Parker. He’s an All-Star, a joy to watch, but he’s no Duncan or Ginobili.
As I was saying, Parker is right, the Spurs aren’t a championship team. Though it’s tough to imagine them not beating Oklahoma City and Dallas. Two teams they’ve owned the last two seasons but I digress.
He’s also right when he says he’s the most likely to be traded since he’s still younger than 30 and has a very manageable contract - 12 million a year for the next four years is very fair.
The Spurs are strongest at the guard spot. George Hill and Ginobili proved that last year. When Parker was hurt for a month, Hill and Ginobili led the Spurs' offense as San Antonio played their best basketball of the season during the month of March. That was the month the Spurs solidified their spot in the playoffs and really gelled as a team. This allowed them to upset the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. Though it should be noted that Parker was excellent in that series as a sixth man.
The tough part now is to figure out what you could get for the Spurs’ Ned Nederlander. David Kahn has already expressed an interest in moving out of the second spot in the upcoming NBA Draft and getting some veteran help since he can’t get Kyrie Irving. If they find out Ricky Rubio isn’t coming over for another couple of years, wouldn’t trading for a top 10 point guard make sense if you’re looking to compete and get out of the lottery?
Derrick Williams could play either small forward or the stretch four for the Spurs. Would the Rockets be interested in taking Parker for Luis Scola and a younger big like Jordan Hill? Is Atlanta looking to upgrade at point guard and willing to give up a guy like Josh Smith? Are the Lakers really looking to revamp their team and would Pau Gasol for Tony Parker be something they’re interested?
You could even say the Spurs have a plethora of options when it comes to trading Martin Short, er… Tony Parker. I'd love to know what everyone else thinks.
Even though Parker is the Spurs' biggest commodity in the trade market, I don't think they can afford to trade him. Now I'll admit I'm biased because I love the "Three Amigo" era, but in all honesty they need Parker unless they get another PG in return in any trade.
Two years ago the Spurs did go on a tear in March with Parker down, 3 months ago they didn't and he came back sooner than expected for a team renown for their caution toward player health. During Parker's injuries this season, George Hill stepped up on the offensive end, but also showed that hes more SG than PG, and not someone you want facilitating your offense for 35+ minutes a night. Besides as the years pile up having Hill at the SG for more minutes is going to become crucial to save Ginobili's legs. So any trade for Parker is going to have to yield a serviceable PG.
That leaves whatever is left in value for improving the front court. The Duncan/Splitter tandem is a good starting point but obviously they need a good offensive presence that isn't as big of a defensive liability as Blair or Bonner. However short of getting someone just starting to develop (a Roy Hibbert/Paul Millsap type) there probably won't be many options out there.
Best case scenario if the team wants to continue to compete and have a chance for the title would be:
1. Duncan renegotiating his contract for another 2-3 years to match up with Ginobili's (would probably need to be below 13 Million per season).
2. Signing a defensive minded SF during Free Agency (Battier, Prince, Grant Hill)
3. Trading away RJ + any other non-essential pieces (Blair, Bonner, Green, ect) to get a big man that can give 12/6 off the bench (the Mcdyess replacement).
Please don't trade tony!!! He's been an asset to your franchise since then and i wish you should consider him to stay. We would love to see him in that same jersey next season. I personally believe that your Big 3 is still the best among the best. Some sort of an opinion, give a chance and train your reserves more. Let them SHINE!!!!
Go Spurs Go!!!!
Welcome however your trade suggestions in my opinion are off and I don't agree that TP was essentially saying that he's the best player on the team and he's waved that white flag, as you put it.
I think TP as well as the other big 3 aren't going anywhere. Your just another naysayer and I'm of the opinion that the Spurs FO and Pop still have faith in TP as well as them and Sean, Malik and the Ice Man believing that the Spurs can possibly contend for another ring.
Considering that 29 teams will lose, it's too easy to conclude they won't win and if they do make a move it will have to make super sense from a need, $ and culture perspective for it to make sense. Even if they were able to get a Bynum, I have my druthers that the spurs will make that move.
Actually, they should have traded him two summers ago and they missed another excellent opportunity last year. What can they get for him now? If Pau Gasol, they should go for it; otherwise, hard to say. Suggesting they trade him for Luis Scola is sadly humurous in so many ways.
@clint_hill If Pau Gasol they should go for it...like that's going to happen and please explain what opportunity they had last year. And please, David Lee wasn't doable and they secured Splitter instead.
Tony Parker is right the Spurs are not a championship team at this point and trading him won't fix anything what the problem is, the lack of bigs and wing defenders period.I've been a loyal fan since 1987and this year was entertaining but it wasn't CHAMPIONSHIP BALL!!!!!!!! shooting all those 3's running and gunning is not the way the Spurs play ball if you look back at there championship years they had multiple bigs to control the paint offensively and defensively they always had 3point shooters but they are not a 3point shooting team they're not the Phoenix Suns.Keep the big 3 intact create more 1 on 1 plays for RJ (post ups,isolation,quick hitting plays) he's too much of an athlete to just be a corner 3ball shooter, some of those guys on the bench can go and i'm willing to bet you'll all know who i'm talking about.I hate to say this but the Dallas Mavs are playing like the Spurs did when they were winning championships and the Spurs look those garbage Mavs teams really the Spurs should have been looking for a replace for Duncan back in 2005 way before he started to decline and i mean a real post presence not a role player.I'm pretty sure TP is just frustrated after a first round loss cause i for damn sure are but SPURS let's get back to those hard nose knock'em down drag'em out days of lock down defense. GO SPURS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
@ZILLA I agree that the Spurs aren't a championship team but trading Parker WILL fix part of the problem. But first, you've got to identify all the problems...
Prob #1 - If (and that's a big IF) Popovich is going to continue to coach after Duncan retires - which will probably be next year if he doesn't re-sign an extention - then the main problem is athletic defense in the post area. That can be solved by trading Parker for Chris Kaman or a sign and trade for Tyson Chandler or Nene. If Popovich is going to stay w/ the team, then you trade Richard Jefferson and Dejuan Blair as well (they don't fit within the defensive scheme). Problem #1 improved. But, keep in mind that once you trade Parker, you've just lost 20 pts, 8 assts and 2 steals a game.
Prob #2 - The Spurs main production came from Ginobli who's getting older. Either Anderson needs to step up and start scoring or they package him in a trade w/ TP, RJ and/or DB and pick up some scoring. Since Ginobli's production probably can't be replaced by one person, that improvement needs to come from the SG and SF positions. Additionally, the SF needs to be defensive minded. Tashaun Prince or Wilson Chandler comes to mind. If there's not enough cap room for that, then I'd suggest the Spurs trade up in the draft to about 12 or 13 and target Chris Singleton or Tyler Honeycutt or Jordan Hamilton.
Prob #3 - There needs to be more offensive production from either the PF or C position. Hopefully, Splitter can grow into this, coupled w/ one of the above in prob #1, once he's healthy. Prob #3 solved. If the Spurs draft another PF at 29, they're getting another backup most likely and are wasting the pick.
Awesome debut Trevor! Really g,ad to have you on the team. The idea of Martin Short being traded I'd say is about at a 35% chance, but all options you listed would be upgrades to put the team back into elite "respectable" status.
Great first article man. I would love to shop Tony for the best deal possible. I've read more then 1 team in the top 4 of the lottery is open to trading their pick. Brandon Knight would be a great option if Cleveland wants to part with the 4th pick. He is a bigger more physical point guard with 3 point range. There's really no direct comparison to his game player wise but draftexpress compares him to Chauncey Billups which seems accurate but I'd throw in a dash of Jason Terry to his game. I would agree with you on Derrick Williams but he doesnt seem like the type of player to stay in San Antonio when his deal is up. He talks of being a big star. I can see him leaving to a bigger market and when you have the Spurs model of running a franchise you need solid fixtures at your most important positions.
@JakeFaunce I like the way you think. I'd actually prefer trading Dejuan Blair, Richard Jefferson and Parker for Antawn Jamison and the 4th overal pick. I'd do this BEFORE the pick up Kyrie Irving w/ their 1st pick of course...
With that 4th pick, the Spurs should go w/ Derrick Williams if he's avail. If not, then trade BACK to about the 7th or 8th spot for better value.