I think it's safe to say that Parker has become one of the more liked players on the Raptors squad. Much like the newly minted assistant coach Alvin Williams, Parker is just a class act all the way.
So, should the Raptors keep him? Being a fan favourite can only take you so far.
At the end of the day it simply comes down to money and how much performance Parker can give for the asking price. With DeMar DeRozan more then likely getting the starting gig, Parker's return would have him coming off the bench. With five teams reportedly courting the former Euroleague MVP, Toronto will be hard pressed getting him to resign if they do choose to pursue him.
What would the Raptors be getting?
- He's a dead eyed shooter from downtown. Raptors fans have come to the point that it's lethargic to see him shoot from the corners. It's just a given that he scores.
- He's a healthy guard. Over the three seasons he's played with Toronto he averaged 78 games per year. It's not often such a sturdy guy comes along.
- Absolutely consistent. You know exactly what you get from him night in and night out. He'll net you a dozen points while guarding the other team's star SG. Familiarity may breed apathy from the Raptor's front office, but hopefully they realize a known entity is usually better than diving into the deep end and signing somebody for too much money (hello Mr. Kapono).
- He's got a winning mindset. He dominated the Euroleague and netted the MVP so he knows what it takes to succeed.
- A calm veteran. You can never underestimate the impact of good veteran players on the young guns. They need people with the experience and patience to guide them through their early careers. DeRozen would definitely benefit with Parker sticking around and showing him the ropes. But being a veteran means...
- Age. He just turned 34, which is past middle aged for professional athletes. At such an advanced age (relatively), is it prudent for the Raptors to extend a multi-year contract? Unlike the Spurs, one of the teams pursuing his services, the Raptors are trying to kick start a new generation rather than enforcing an ending one. Parker will never be better than he is now.
- Carlos Delfino is a better player right now. Delfino is seven years younger and a much more voracious defender and a lot more active in the lanes. Plus, pursuing Delfino as they are there's just very little room to keep Parker around and keeping him useful.
- He's just not that athletic anymore. If you were watching the Raptors this past season, you saw how easily at times the opponents PGs and SGs got past Parker. His shooting is welcome, but he just doesn't have the physical attributes to stay consistently competitive against the younger, more explosive players on other teams.
- He's going to cost money to keep. Money the Raptors would be better served getting younger players like the 24 year old Linas Kleiza (if the rumours are true). With the minor bidding war for Parker's services going on, the Raptors would be crippling their own prospects if they decide to beat out the competition.
So, would you make a play at keeping Parker? I really like him as a Raptor, but that has more to do with him being a great guy than him being a contributing player. I don't doubt that he can still ball for at least a few more seasons, but I'd rather see him go to where he can thrive (and possibly get a title) than to languish on the Raptors' bench if Delfino decides to return.
Let him go, I say. It's not like he won't have it better elsewhere.