As we all know, there have been a lot of posts lately about trading Tony Parker. Some have been respectful and well thought out and some haven't. With this post I'm not trying to antagonize anyone. It is meant to be a counterpoint to those posts, but mainly I just wanted to share my thoughts.
Let's start by listing the more common reasons given for wanting to trade Parker with my thoughts under each point:
- He doesn't like San Antonio, he wants to live in a bigger city and is too "Hollywood" for the Spurs.
Now, we are basing all of this in our preconceptions about Eva Longoria, our perception of Tony's personality and some out of context remarks made to a French magazine. For what I understand Eva is a Texas girl and a Spurs fan, Tony has spent most of his 20s in a small city without complaining and Manu was saying similar things last season when his contract was expiring. But this is subjective so I won't argue about it that much. Also not being from San Antonio, the fact that he might not like the city doesn't affect me as much.
- He is selfish on the court and I like pass-first PGs.
Again, part of this is subjective. If you like pass-first PGs, you like pass-first PGs. There's nothing I can say to change your mind. What I can say is this: Tony might not be the Nash-type point guard you like, but he is a hell of a player. He is not easily replaceable and he is not some Monta Ellis type who just wants to get his regardless how it affects the team, either.
Remember, this is coming from someone from Argentina, birthplace of the "PASS IT TO MANU" rant. The reality is, Tony taking shots is good for the team. The Spurs system depends as much on dribble penetration as it depends on Tim scoring in the low block and having good 3pt shooters. It has been that way for the last ten years or so and has only intensified now that Tim doesn't command as many double teams anymore. We need Tony to break down defenses and either kick it out to a shooter, score or draw a foul. That's how the team is built.
Now if you ask me "hey Edg5 if you have to start a team from scratch, would you do it with a pass first PG or a scoring PG?" I'd say a pass first PG, but this is not the case here. This Spurs team was built around Tony, Manu and Tim and if you remove Tony you have to change a big part of the system. So to summarize (too late), Tony takes a lot of shots and dominates the ball because the team needs him to, not because he wants to pad his stats.
- The Spurs need players in other positions more than they need a PG because they have Hill.
With the addition of Tiago and provided they resign Jefferson, the Spurs don't really seem to have that many holes in their roster when you think about it. Another big would be nice, as well as a back up SF. But is it worth it to trade a top 10 PG for a couple of role players? If you can get a great player for Parker or two really good ones that fit the system I'm all ears, but trading him for two middle of the pack veterans or young players with potential, for me it's not worth it.
- We have to start rebuilding now.
This one is going to be short and sweet: there's no way the Spurs start rebuilding before Tim retires, unless they absolutely have to. They owe it to him to put a competitive team on the floor after all he did for the franchise.
Also you could argue that a form of rebuilding has already started with the additions of young players like Hill, Blair, Anderson, Splitter and the Toros guys instead of veterans.
- He will undoubtedly leave after next season, so get what you can for him NOW
Most people know that there's likely going to be a lockout after next season and that the owners are determined to reduce max salaries and probably institute a hard cap. Tony and his agent know this too. He knows that signing an extension would provide him with the kind of security (and money) that waiting for free agency next year just can't provide. But let's say he doesn't care about the money or the security. Then it will all come down to two scenarios:
Scenario 1: next season's team is a contender. Tony realizes this is the best place to spend the last few years of his prime. The FO won't let a key cog of the team go, so they agree on an extension.
Scenario 2: the team sucks next year. Tony could look elsewhere to try to find the best place to "bring his talents". The FO doesn't try to extend Tony because the window for the team as constructed has closed. They have until the trade deadline to trade him or they let him expire and start rebuilding after the lockout. A sign and trade could be possible as well
So as you see there's no pressing need to trade Tony RIGHT NOW, when his trade value is low and we don't really know how the team will look next season. Remember that this is going to be the first time in two years that (knock on wood) everyone will start the season healthy and well rested. Jefferson (if he resigns) will know the system better and the coaching staff will know him better too. We'll have Tiago! Blair and Hill will continue to develop. Who knows what Anderson or the Toros guys can provide and we could still add another FA. There's no need to panic. There's time. Let's all relax and wait to see what we got before shipping out one of of the best players this franchise has ever seen out of desperation when maybe, just maybe, we could be better than we think.