I'm on borrowed time this week, so I'm keeping this brief, but I've heard enough to feel like I should weigh in on why I like this potential deal.
While it's understandable to consider myself in the minority, I can't say with any amount of conviction that I'm not fully behind this deal. On top of not being able to help thinking Parker didn't quietly seal his own fate with his remarks early in the off-season, I believe that Parker is our best tradeoption, and one whose own window is closing. Tony will very quickly be on the wrong sideof 30, after which nearly 100% of his trade interest will dry up in lieu of teams looking elsewhere for their point guard needs. In a business like professional basketball, the "get something while you can" approach is one that is taken towards any player that is not a de facto franchise establishment, and Parker is no exception, having always been the most expendable of the "Big Three". With the relatively deep stock of capable PGs compared to other positions in the league, Parker would be more easily replaced than anyone else on the team.
Despite the rumblings of interest towards other players on the team, the reality is that the ever aging Spurs have a respectable core of young talent that they'll likely keep around for the time being, even if their respective ceilings have been, or are close to being hit. I don't see the Spurs parting ways with Hill, Neal, or Blair (realistically the three most likely to generate interest, while also being players the Spurs would listen to talks about) unless the offer is near perfect, which won't happen. Neal and Hill, though still somewhat raw and therefore prone to mistakes, have shown several times that they possess certain intangibles that make keeping them worthwhile. Hill has routinely made difficult scoring plays look easy, therefore diffusing mention toward his potential and existing ability as a scorer, and his tenacious attitude is something a player either has or doesn't. Getting directly into the face of a player like Kobe Bryant is a move that can just as easily blow up in your own face if you aren't confident in what you bring to the table. Blair, while fat, displays a knack for rebounding and hustle (when not fat) that you wouldn't willingly part with, knowing you aren't likely to get equal production in return. I could see them shopping Blair if the Parker trade goes down and some capable size is brought in, then subsequently proves itself during camp or early season burn, but that's it.
Though the Spurs made a long term commitment to Parker with the 4 year deal that's kicking in whenever this new season starts, I can't help but think it was done with the knowledge that Parker is the player most teams will look at and feel as if they need on their own roster. His resume is impressive (though I don't feel he should'vewon the Finals MVP, as his accomplishments were made entirely possible through ample contributions by Duncan, Ginobili and Co.) and he's still comparably young, which is the main reason why guys like Richard Jefferson aren't having their doors beaten down with trade interest. Jefferson has some value as a shooting threat that can spread the floor (a role player the Spurs helped increase the desire for over their title runs), but he's also an aging small forward with a reconstructed knee. His value is greatest as a capable veteran that can mentor younger players, and the fact is that the Spurs possess as much youth in need of tutelage as anyone else might. My thoughts are that he'll stick around, though I make that assertion with the qualifier that I'm no GM. He could be gone before I finish typing this, but I don't see it happening.
More in the realm of personal opinion is the notion that Parker may lack the ability to evolve as a player a la Jason Kidd and his recent transition from his early NBA persona into a defensive specialist. It goes without saying that Parker never has been the type of player that Kidd was. Despite his ability to manage a game fairly well, he's not a floor general in the mold of Kidd. Neither is Parker as capable a defender as Kidd, whose considerable size and strength for the point guard position allow him the luxury of transitioning his primary focus to defense. While my intention isnt solely to draw a comparison between the two, I feel that Kidd's recent success makes the idea one that is likely being considered by people who are paid to do this for a living. Parker will continue to be what he has been, and it's completely fair to wonder whether or not the Spurs Front Office is considering the move with the future implications that might arise if the deal doesn't go down.
At the end of the day, the fact of the matter is that Parker, a very talented player in his own right, has been successful as a result of the other two members of the Big Three, not in spite of them, and certainly not the other way around. Ginobili possesses an ability to see and feel the game that stands alone, and Duncan is Duncan. Coupled with the talented pool of role players that have walked through the doors over the years, Parker was as set up for success as anybody could have been. Interest in him is the highest level of interest the Spurs are going to listen to, and that they'll likely even receive. While that isn't to say they should bite on any offer that comes in off the street, it goes without saying that they could use a lot of what they'd be able to get in return, down year in the draft or not.