Feb 10, 2017; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) celebrates during the second quarter against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Tony Parker stated he wants one last contract with the San Antonio Spurs, so let’s give it to him.
Tony Parker has played with the San Antonio Spurs for 16 seasons. It’s seen him become one of the most decorated players in franchise history, winning titles, putting up excellent numbers at the point guard position, and being a model of consistency.
However, Parker is 35-years-old, and with injuries steadily hampering him, the time may come soon for the end of his NBA career. Parker knows this is approaching, so he recently stated to RMC Sport how he wants to sign one last deal with the Spurs and finish his career with the Spurs. It would be a three-year contract, taking him through 20 years in the NBA.
There’s plenty of reason to give Parker a final deal to stay in San Antonio and finish his career in the team’s colors. What would keep him around?
Oct 12, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) smell his shoe as guard Tony Parker (9) smiles from the bench against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
3. Can Become a Quality Backup
The San Antonio Spurs point guard position has been manned by Tony Parker since 2001. Parker’s production has been consistent and he’s won four NBA championships as a starter, so his presence can only be viewed as valuable.
However, as with many NBA greats, their time will come and go in the blink of an eye. Flashes of this began with Parker in the 2016-17 season, as he averaged his worst marks in points (10.1) and assists (4.5) since his rookie year. It was also the Frenchman’s lowest minutes played per game.
What won’t help is Parker’s torn quad, which will keep him out until at least January. The Spurs will need to acquire someone to at least cover for him at point guard, but if it’s someone like Chris Paul, then Parker’s role will likely move to the bench.
By moving the 35-year-old out of the starting lineup, he’ll deepen the bench, which should have a different look next season. He can play a role similar to Manu Ginobili’s, whose status is up in the air for the 2017-18 year. It’s not a bad backup to someone like Paul or if George Hill is brought back, either.
Next: One More Title Opportunity
Jun15, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs celebrate with the Larry O’Brien trophy after defeating the Miami Heat in game five of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. The Spurs defeated the Heat 104-87 to win the NBA Finals. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
2. One More Title Opportunity
As noted, Parker has won four titles with the San Antonio Spurs, which is an amount most NBA stars can’t say they’ve claimed. However, if he’s about to sign for three more seasons, could a fifth ring be headed for Parker’s finger?
The core of the Spurs will be based around Kawhi Leonard for years to come. He’s established himself as one of the top two-way players in the NBA, and already won a title of his own with San Antonio in 2014 (also winning the MVP of the NBA Finals). LaMarcus Aldridge is also under contract for two more years as a steady second-fiddle to Leonard, so the foundation is there.
The Spurs will also add more players in the draft and free agency, so the team will grow and feature new players. Some of these acquisitions should be ones that Parker is able to supplement, which is the ideal role for him at age 35, with all the wear and tear on his body.
Putting these pieces together should help Parker go for one last title opportunity, especially if the Spurs can take down the Golden State Warriors sooner than later. Will they be able to add the sixth championship in franchise history?
Next: Let Him Retire as a Spur
Dec 8, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) dribbles the ball against the Chicago Bulls during the first half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
1. Let Him Retire as a Spur
The San Antonio Spurs have shown a commitment to their franchise’s greatest players. Sean Elliott, Tim Duncan and David Robinson were all allowed to retire as a Spur, playing most of their respective careers with the team (Elliott played one season with the Detroit Pistons).
Manu Ginobili, whenever he retires, will likely be next in line. Tony Parker should follow shortly after.
Parker has done plenty to deserve retiring as a Spur. It’s from the title wins, to the consistent production, and remaining loyal.
More from Spurs News
- Spurs show remarkable poise against Bulls, unlike many fans
- Devin Vassell is the latest in the Spurs’ collection of silent assassins
- San Antonio Spurs: 5 Players to avoid in any LaMarcus Aldridge deal
- Is Gregg Popovich hiding Luka Samanic as a secret weapon?
- San Antonio Spurs News: More DeRozan trade talk from Chris Haynes
Parker was a crucial member on all four championship squads. Most notably, he won the 2007 NBA Finals MVP Award, and averaged over 20 points per game in the playoffs that year.
The statistic production only dropped over the past two years, due to decreased playing time and the eventual decline in play after 16 years in the league. Parker put up four-plus assists in every season and 14 or more points per game in all but three years.
With loyalty, Parker signed a contract extension at every turn. There may have been bumps in the road at some points, but he’s remained with San Antonio and seems intent on staying there for the rest of his career.
Should Parker finish his career as a Spur? Is there any chance of the team letting him go and moving on?