Is trading Tony Parker the answer?


Mar. 27, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker falls to the ground during game against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. The Spurs defeated the Suns 107-100. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Tony Parker is not one of my favorite Spurs. Perhaps it’s his (apparent) egocentric persona and onerous tendency to live the celebrity lifestyle that turns me off. He doesn’t have the endearing monasticism of a Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobili, the candor of Stephen Jackson or the infectious smile of a DeJuan Blair nor can he go into scary assassin mode like Kawhi Leonard. He isn’t relatable to the average person like Matt Bonner. Tony Parker is what he is: an incredibly talented player, one of the best point guards in the league and, at this current point of time, the best player on the Spurs.

Sports fans (I include myself) fall into this inevitable conflict of interests: Is this player expendable because there is a tangible value that supercedes his production and, hopefully, fills an immediate need on the open market? Or is he expendable because of intangible factors such as attitude and persona?

I think the Spurs should trade Parker because he isn’t likable.

I think the Spurs can improve their chances of winning a championship if they trade Parker.

There’s a huge, inestimable difference between the two statements points though they both have the same end result in mind. Deciphering whether a player is expendable should rely independent of personal biases and, instead, rely extensively on objective and subjective factors devoid of, again, bias.

Is the market for Parker fluid? Do the potential suitors have actual value to offer? Will trading Parker improve the Spurs this year and in the future? How will the Spurs salvage the point guard position? Is trading Tony Parker the answer?

Personally, I don’t think so. Trevor Zickgraf of Project Spurs brought up an excellent point on Twitter a couple of days ago. Trading Parker isn’t ideal, but it may be the best (and quickest) way to improve the Spurs. Fair enough.

Parker, again, is the Spurs’ best player. Parker is set to make $37.5 million over the next three years. That may seem like a significant amount but Parker just turned 30-years-old last month (in basketball years, he is a lot older though) and, with the expansion of his shooting range, has increased his value for any team. His 2011-12 season was arguably his best season as a Spur. A similar level of production isn’t improbable.

Trading good players with fair contracts is generally a good way to receive a good amount in return right? Trading a combination of DeJuan Blair, Matt Bonner, Gary Neal and Tiago Splitter amount to a small adjustment on an already elite basketball team. Deeming the improvement from a small deal as anything but transient success is pretty optimistic.

Before I risk contradicting myself (and I may have already accomplished that), I will say that I rather maintain continuity. Duncan and Manu don’t have a lot of years in their respective tanks and trading Parker, as good as it sounds in theory, could only serve to improve a future that they may never see. Now that’s counterintuitive.

Instead, I am in favor of making small improvements. Small moves like adding Erazem Lorbek to the fold or trading up in the latter portion of the first round and not the top 10. Trading small assets and receiving other small assets that fill a more pertinent niche. The Spurs won 50 games in a truncated season with their current core, remember.

Improving from within, rather than trading their best player, remains the best way to go. That line of thinking led to Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter. That line of thinking is best suited for teams that don’t need to make radical decisions to succeed.

The Spurs, who nearly scored 111 points per 100 possessions last season, are one of those teams. Why break something that can still win a championship?