If Tony Parker knows what’s coming for the Big Three in the upcoming weeks, he’s not saying.
The deadline for free agents to opt in or out of their contracts is coming up soon, so that means the pending decisions for Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will decide if the Spurs roll into the future now, or roll into the future just a tad bit slower.
If Timmy and Manu stay, their salaries stay on the books, and the Spurs will need to do some crafty maneuvering if they want to continue to stay competitive.
One thing for sure is, with the exception of Parker, (and that’s starting to become a big maybe), is that those guys are better off relegated off the bench if they really want to help keep the Spurs on top. Duncan at the age of 40 years old and with a partially bum knee can’t keep up with the younger, athletic big men such as Steven Adams, where as he would’ve dominated them in the past. What keeps Duncan in a place where he can be effective is his overall fundamental skill in basketball, and his IQ for the Spurs style and team basketball.
Manu still has some game left as well, but it’s possible that he’s feeling more like retiring now than waiting until he’s completely out of gas. While he has been a huge fan favorite since he entered the NBA, his days of herky jerky drives to the basket and crafty play is winding down. The best part about Manu leaving now, if there is a positive, is that he can depart on his own terms, and he has made it clear that whatever Duncan does, it will not affect or change his own decision one way or another.
If they both decide to leave, that means Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge have the keys now, and will have to grow up fast as the new leaders of the team, and the team will possibly look to add another star to complete a new big three. With names surfacing such as Pau Gasol and Mike Conley, management has to take a good look at where they want to be in the next few years and beyond.
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With Parker confirming this is his very last Fiba tournament, reporters asked him a few questions including how he’d feel about a reduced role, and he responded with
We talked about it all year long. I am fine with it (a changing role), and going forward it’s going to be like that. As long as Pop is happy, I’m good.
That would make Tony the new elder statesman of the team, and the end of an era once he decides to hang them up. These are things you never want to talk about, but it comes regardless if you want to think about the day or not.
So what was Parker’s response about are the Big Three returning for one last hurrah?
Whatever happens, happens.. We had a great run, maybe the best ever for a Big Three. We’ll see what happens.
This might not sound very optimistic, but he is right. It was a great run, regardless of the answer you see regarding next year in the coming days.