Tony Parker was not present for last night’s game between the Spurs and the Nuggets. He was ruled out due to a hip flexor injury. This suspicious injury came on the heels of his most recent return from an ankle injury in which he was starting to round into the Tony Parker form of old; getting to the rim at will and knocking down the midrange shot.
After an active summer that netted the Spurs the athletic small-forward Richard Jefferson, that most thought would push this team in the company of the Western elite; the Spurs came out of the gates slowly and after 40 plus games they still appear to be stuck in first gear. The owner of the Spurs, Mr. Holt has invested a ton of taxable dollars into this current roster and the return on his investment appears to be headed in the wrong direction. Unless something drastic happens resulting in a change of fortune for this proud franchise, this season will be classified as an utter failure.
Parker’s absence last night raises the question: Could the Spurs be on the verge of parting with one of its big three? Would they be willing to trade away their All-Star and finals MVP who happens to be the youngest of their core and if so what assets would represent equal value for one of the leagues top point guards?
Let’s establish a few basic rules that should govern any trade scenario involving Tony Parker.
One: Given the current Spurs roster, they cannot afford to trade away their starting point guard without getting a starting point guard in return. The Spurs only have one true point guard. George Hill has effectively filled the role of backup point guard but he is most effective playing in his natural two-guard slot.
Two: The key reason why the Spurs would ever part with one of its core members is to bring back a wing defender/scorer; someone to fill the role that Richard Jefferson was traded for over the summer. Additionally, this player has to be young enough to grow and develop alongside the future core of Blair and Hill.
The Trade: Using ESPN’s trade machine, here is the most logical trade that works for both teams. The Spurs send Tony Parker and Matt Bonner’s expiring contract to the Warriors for Monte Ellis, Anthony Randolph and Brandon Wright.
The Spurs get a starting point guard and two young wing defenders to add to their future core. Ellis style of play is similar to Parker’s as he needs to dominate the ball opposed to being a facilitator of the offense in order to be effect. Randolph and Wright can provide the Spurs with long athletic fours that can guard the likes of Dirk and Lamar Odom.
The Warriors need to part ways with Ellis and his 5 year contract in order to accelerate the growth of their prized first round pick and future point guard, Stephen Curry. Parker will provide them with the same level of offense as Ellis but his contract expires in two years. Matt Bonner will provide the Warriors with cap relief at the end of this year.
More than likely Tony Parker’s absence was just a precaution providing him with an extra day of rest as the team head into the All-star break. More than likely he will return next week, still in silver and black and the Spurs will continue in their pursuit of continuity and cohesion as the playoff draw closer. More than likely the Spurs will stay the course and suffer another first round playoff exit or just maybe they will take the plunge and do something drastic along the lines of the Lakers Gasol trade and the Celtics Garnett trade and just maybe the end result will be the same – another championship run.