In San Antonio’s first round playoff series – a shocking loss to the 8th-seeded Grizzlies – point guard Tony Parker was outplayed by Mike Conley of Memphis. Parker’s productivity has taken a bit of a dip in the last two seasons, and he turns 29 in May. The Spurs signed him to a lucrative $50 million extension in late 2010 – but that only happened after many rumors circulated about Parker possibly getting traded (maybe to the Knicks). Before the ink was dry on his extension, Parker nuked his marriage to actress Eva Longoria, reportedly by having an affair with a former teammate’s wife.
So really, is it that much of a surprise that Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Spurs are attempting to trade Parker 48 hours before the 2011 NBA draft? According to the report, the Spurs might send Parker to a lottery team in hopes of leaping high up in the draft to select … someone.
Who could they possibly want? A quick rundown of the options:
3. Utah Jazz – Have a point guard in Devin Harris (28), but he’s only got two years left on his deal, and re-signing him seems unlikely. The Jazz will probably select Brandon Knight from Kentucky.
5. Toronto Raptors – Have point guard Jose Calderon (29), and like Harris, he has two years left on his deal. Calderon is a solid facilitator (5th in the league in assists). My thought had been the Raptors liked Calderon at point, and would go big here (and eventually trade away Bargnani). But does Toronto think in a year or two Parker could help guide this young team to the playoffs?
7. Sacramento Kings - Probably the most likely landing spot for Parker, but the question is: Whoever San Antonio wants, will he be here when the Kings pick? The Spurs have had a run of success with foreign players, and Caspi is rumored to be part of the deal. A backcourt of Parker and Evans would be dynamic, and the Kings would be foolish not to pull the trigger on this.
8. Detroit Pistons – With Will Bynum and Rodney Stuckey in the fold, all signs are that the Pistons will go big in the draft. Parker, obviously, is better than both of those guys, but the Pistons have no clue what they’re doing anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.
9. Charlotte Bobcats - The franchise doesn’t seem to think DJ Augustin is the long-term solution at point guard, but the Bobcats have tons of holes to fill and my guess is that their new GM, Rich Cho, isn’t the type to acquire a 29-year-old point guard with five years left on his contract.
Clearly, Toronto and Sacramento make the most sense, but who are the Spurs coveting? That’s a much tougher question to answer, considering how weak this draft is. Assuming George Hill is the heir apparent to Parker, my guess is San Antonio wants to take a frontcourt player, since Tim Duncan and Antonio McDyess near the end of their careers. (They got a steal in DeJuan Blair two years ago, but Tiago Splitter’s unimpressive rookie year left a lot to be desired.)
I’ll say San Antonio either wants Enes Kanter (Kentucky via Turkey; the Spurs interviewed him), Donatas Motiejunas (20-year-old 7-footer from Lithuania who has worked out for the Spurs), Jonas Valanciunas, the 19-year-old from Lithuania, who wouldn’t even come to the NBA for a year or two, or possibly Jan Vesely, the 21-year-old from the Czech Republic. Or did the Spurs see enough of Tristan Thompson at Texas to fall in love with him?
The problem is, Vesely might be gone 6th to Washington, and Kanter could go 4th to Cleveland. Motijunas is more of a wild card who is being projected anywhere from 4-14 in the lottery. Valanciunas has been sliding down most draft boards because of his buyout issues … which could mean he falls to the Spurs 7th overall.