The San Antonio Spurs are looking to trade away Tony Parker.
As there is no way that they will receive equal trade value in return (they’re looking for high picks in the draft), it can only mean one thing: R.C. Buford’s looking to blow up the team. Speculation is that the Spurs are talking with the Toronto Raptors and the Sacramento Kings for their picks (5th and 7th, respectively).
I might be alone in this, but trading a recent Finals MVP for picks? The Spurs need size, and there’s not much of that to be had this year. If a trade goes through, the team must be looking at long-term recovery, because besides Enes Kanter, who is expected to be gone even by the 5th pick, the only other option at center is Jonas Valančiūnas, who needs a few more years in order to prepare for NBA play.
Then again, the Spurs will benefit from Tiago Splitter‘s second year under Gregg Popovich’s system (as the adage goes, everyone plays better their second year under Pop), and have a young 7-footer prospect Ryan Richards, who was spotted with the team a few times during this past season.
A trade with the Kings seems much more viable, bringing the Spurs Omri Casspi and allowing them to draft Kawhi Leonard. Toronto doesn’t have as many viable pieces that the Spurs would want, and the difference between the 5th pick and the 7th for them isn’t noticeable. Despite his comments this offseason, Parker’s still the best penetrator in the league, and the team wouldn’t want to give him away to draft Kemba Walker (I love Kemba, don’t get me wrong, but TP’s still in his prime).
But too many reports have come out documenting Parker’s desire to leave for them to be simple language-barrier issues. Last offseason, his then-wife Eva Longoria was reported to have said that he wanted to leave San Antonio for The Big Apple. After this year’s flop against the Memphis Grizzlies, he said that he didn’t feel the Spurs could contend for a title. Speculation like this doesn’t fly with the Spurs organization, no matter your stat sheet, so I fully envision him being sent packing.
The past two seasons have shown that despite beautiful play, he is anything but untouchable. He’s nowhere near as beloved to Spurs fans as Manu Ginobili or Tim Duncan, and George Hill‘s ascent makes him less needed. The city itself seems to have grown cold with him as a person, and that’s never good in ol’ San Antone.