The 31-year-old point guard is slated for free agency in 2015, but he told the San Antonio Express-News' Jabari Young he wants his future settled before then:
This is all in response to a report from ESPN's Brian Windhorst outlining the New York Knicks' plan to strike free-agency gold in 2015. Their preferred prize is Boston Celtics point man Rajon Rondo, but if that falls through, they have other plans in mind:
If that fails—and who knows how Rondo will mesh with this Celtics team, it could work well and he could want to stay—the Knicks fully believe they will get one or two of the following in free agency in 2015 when they expect to have large salary-cap space: Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Roy Hibbert, Marc Gasol, Tony Parker or Rondo when his contract is up. Under certain circumstances, James himself could be a free agent again that summer.
First, this is just like the Knicks.
Their front office, manned by mercurial owner James Dolan, has always been about chasing OPP (other people's players). Not just any OPP's; typically, they go after overrated or aging talents, throwing piles of money or assets in their direction when common sense demands they do just the opposite.
Parker was also briefly linked to the Knicks in 2010 after the team signed Amar'e Stoudemire to a lucrative five-year contract.
"I've talked to Carmelo Anthony that he needs to come out here," STAT said in July 2010, per the New York Daily News. "I've talked to Tony Parker. Both guys are ready to join me if I decide to come here. So we will see if we can work it out."
Anthony eventually joined Stoudemire in New York, while Parker signed a four-year extension with the Spurs. That apparently only delayed the Knicks' interest in Parker, as opposed to killing it entirely.
The Spurs can end any speculation by signing Parker to an extension before summer 2015, much like the Los Angeles Lakers did with Kobe Bryant. Assuming Parker is willing to take a pay cut, like Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili did, there's no reason to believe Parker will play elsewhere.
These are the Spurs, though. They're not going to overpay for aging talent.
They also allowed Ginobili and Duncan to hit free agency before bringing them back. If they permit Parker to hit the open market in 2015, could he, unlike his two teammates, be seduced by a bigger offer from another team?
It's not impossible. Ginobili's matter was settled after the Spurs came within one victory of the Big Three's third NBA title. Parker's free agency will likely come under very different circumstances.
One has to imagine that both Ginobili and Duncan (who has a player option for 2014-15, according to ShamSports.com), who will also be free agents come 2015, will be considering retirement, if they haven't walked away already. Parker will be 33 when he's ready to sign his next contract, possibly compelling the Spurs to move on from the Big Three era completely.
Not that San Antonio doesn't show love to its franchise players. Again, Ginobili and Duncan are crowning examples of mutual loyalty.
But Parker's free-agency endeavors will be coming at a later time, when the Spurs will be preparing for a serious transition, which suggests they won't extend him before 2015 without knowing what they'll be facing after next season. And if Parker feels slighted by their (potential) refusal to extend him, he could leave.
Spurs Nation's Dan McCarney reminds us Parker plans to play until he's 38, and that he's become accustomed to a certain level of success in San Antonio, facts that point to his return being inevitable.
But there are no sure things in free agency, even for players who have spent their entire careers with one team.
If the Spurs don't heed Parker's wishes and offer him an extension before summer 2015, he could be swept off his feet by other teams, be it the Knicks or another organization looking for a veteran point guard entering the twilight of his career.