Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Parker: One More Year (?)

Reigning Black

Thanks to L'Equipe (credit: Sonic21 and Bruno of SpursTalk) we were given some insight into where things stand in regards to Parker's status with the team.

A few thoughts after reading the translated interview:

One More Year.

Coach Pop and Tony have apparently talked and Parker's been made to believe he will not be traded. There were legitimate inquiries into a trade -- with New York and Portland being the major players -- but the Spurs weren't comfortable with the packages and have left them on the table. The Spurs believe they've got one more go of it with the Big Three and that keeping them together for one more year is the most prudent thing to do.

For a Spurs fan, this is the best news possible, all things considered. The likelihood of the Spurs moving Parker for a package that would have made them better in the short-term -- the championship window short-term -- were all but nil. Even if this group's ceiling is seemingly another second-round exit with nothing more than the addition of Splitter, Anderson and a possible low-level vet and/or a LLE-type player, you've got to give it a shot -- Duncan's career is winding to a close, Ginobili's not getting any younger and you can't throw away the opportunity to win a championship when it's in your midst (however small that opportunity it is).

One and done?

It's a very real possibility. Parker's made known -- on more than one occasion -- that he believes this to be the last year the Spurs have a chance to win another title with this group. With Duncan being the team's centerpiece and with him no longer being capable of withstanding the rigors of the NBA season or dominating the game as consistently as he used to, the team just can't worry about themselves anymore -- their best just isn't necessarily the league's best any longer. And with the team's future after this year possibly being in a bit of a competitive limbo -- still respectable but not threatening -- his and the team's priorities and concerns could no longer be on the same page.

The Contract Year.

It's widely thought to be one of the best assets a team can have: a star player out of guaranteed money. And after reading the translation, I have no reason to think otherwise -- Parker's head seems to be in the right place.

Tony has never been one to mince words. He's genuinely one of the most honest interviews you'll find. He seems very attuned to the reality of the Spurs and the league and he seems to have reconciled with the possibility of moving elsewhere. He'll have had a decade of donning the Black and Silver, a minimum of three rings and an unbelievable amount of good memories from his time with the Spurs. He's a Spur. He'd love to stay but he's not going to allow the past to dictate the future, at least not solely.

Parker will have a year to showcase his abilities, vie for another championship and view the landscape of the NBA as a whole (all of which benefit the Spurs or, in the latter case, don't detract). This being the year of the free-agent, the whole competitive balance of the league could be turned on its head should certain individuals decide to share a locker room. So Tony will have an opportunity to make the best decision possible for himself come this time next year -- both as it pertains to on and off the court -- and he'll be able to do so on his terms.

Win-win, short-term.

Final thoughts.

One would be foolish to not acknowledge the possible posturing when a player's contract situation is in flux, so there's no doubt that that's an element to consider -- Ginobili got his extension after some considerable hand-wringing and unease, so it's a possibility. But I find Parker's comments -- both in the recent L'Equipe and in prior interviews -- to be very matter of fact and cogent. He seems perfectly aware of where he and the team stand in the league -- at this current time -- and that this is nothing more than the reality of the situation. Maybe some disappointment in hearing his name being discussed in trade rumors, and maybe even some sadness that it's come to that, but there seems to be a genuine understanding of the circumstance and no real animosity towards the Spurs for it.

It is what it is, the cliché of all clichés.

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