As Parker’s deal proves, Spurs just keep doing things their way

By Jeff Caplan, NBA.com


VIDEO: Relive Tony Parker’s top 10 plays from last season

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – Leave it to the Spurs to take all the fun out of free-agent suspense. This franchise is so boring.

Four-time champ and six-time All-Star point guard Tony Parker won’t even make it to free agency next summer. He won’t even play to the players’ strength in the collective bargaining agreement and strong-arm his team into paying him more money over more years. He won’t even explore what other teams might offer him.

There’ll be no premature speculating of where Tony might go. Heck, no speculating at all. What are we, the media, supposed to do with that?

Great going, Tony.

Of course it is great for the San Antonio Spurs. The flawless organization with the executive of the year, the coach of the year, another championship and another young NBA Finals MVP keeps merrily rolling along. Earlier this summer, just weeks after dismantling the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals for the franchise’s fifth championship, the team announced in a two-sentence release that coach Gregg Popovich, had signed a multi-year extension. Popovich’s move followed star Tim Duncan‘s equally exciting decision to opt in with the Spurs — which came with the usual San Antonio fanfare.

And now they’ve done it again.

Parker, who is already playing on a below-market deal that will pay him $12.5 million on the last year of his current deal this season — or right about the amount that Phoenix Suns restricted free-agent point guard Eric Bledsoe seems to find insulting — has signed a three extension that will begin with the 2015-16 season.

Yahoo! Sports reports the deal is worth in the range of $45 million.

Parker, 32, turned in another sensational season last year, yet another quiet MVP-type season (even if his stats don’t shout it) in leading the game’s most artistic offense. He averaged 16.7 ppg, 5.7 apg and 2.3 rpg, but averaged just 29.4 mpg under Popovich’s watchful eye. Popovich has long lamented that his stars might finish their careers with lesser stats than some of their contemporaries simply because of the minutes he won’t play them.

For instance, Parker’s per-36 stats — meaning if he averaged 36 mpg like many in-their-prime starters do — might have looked more like this: 20.4 ppg and 7.0 apg. But that’s not the Spurs way.

The Spurs way is doing what’s best for the team. Parker’s extension virtually guarantees that he will eventually see Duncan, 38, and Manu Ginobili, 36 into retirement. Throughout the years, all three have passed on leaving small-market San Antonio for more lucrative deals elsewhere. Collectively, the Big Three has won four titles since 2003.

“It makes it all worth it,” Parker said following the NBA Finals. “All three, we took, like you said, less money to stay here and to win championships. So it makes it even better to have been able to play my whole career with Timmy and Manu and experiencing those great moments we’re never going to forget our whole life.

“That’s why we play basketball, to win championships and create moments that we’re never going to forget.  So I’ve been very blessed, and I don’t take it for granted. I enjoy every moment, especially with Timmy and Manu.”

51 Comments

  1. Bernard787 says:

    Maybe what some of the fans meant as “boring” is that the play “basic” basketball efficiently. Screens, pick-and-rolls, and swarming defense, while “boring” is the exact science that they used in the NBA Finals.

    Other “boring” but highly significant stuff in the NBA, for me, are- 1. The finess-playing Tim Duncun; Hakeem Olojuwon (compared to a rim-rattling Shaq); 2. The defense-oriented Kurt Rambis (unlike the shot-blocking Manute Bol) and 3. The ever-efficient Robert Horry (who won more championships than most “superstars” in the league). All these players are champions, but some are boringly SPECTACULAR.

    EXCITING is ENTERTAINING;
    EFFICIENCY, while “boring”, is WINNING.

  2. olbl says:

    “Tony and Boris speak a slang french creole, it’s quite funny,
    nobody can understand what they want to do while they run to the basket.”

    lol my god the kind of BS we can read here, people talk just for talking, they know nothing, less they know, more they talk.
    “slang french creole”. LOL creole. nice try stupid.

  3. SPURSKOEN says:

    “Tony and Boris speak a slang french creole, it’s quite funny,
    nobody can understand what they want to do while they run to the basket.”
    WELL I DOUBT THAT TONY CAN SPEAK CREOLE!!

    ITS MORE A PARISIAN KIND OF SLANG

  4. Francesco says:

    I absolutely love the Spurs game, and always loved it. I have the outmost respect for the way the spurs organization works. This said, I find it a little childish that when they win all of a sudden it looks as their is the only way to get a championship. Miami won two titles in a row, four eastern conference titles and it looks as “their way” is totally wrong. That’s simply stupid. Everyone should acknowledge that to win you have to consistently compete at high level (and there are different ways to get there) and then you need some lucky circumstances, like no major physical problem to a key player, a great idea from your coach, or an unbelievable three after two offensive rebounds…

    • Carlo says:

      “all of a sudden it looks as their is the only way to get a championship”

      Fact is, most media just spend the whole reg.season – and most PO’s – talking enthusiasticly about superstars and their teams.
      Then, “all of a sudden”, a different team – one without superstars or with superstars who were regarded as “dead” – wins it all.
      What should the media do? They must “all of a sudden” recognize it.

      Anyway, I think the problem is not that media do not recognize the “Miami way”. Actually, they celebrated it for four years.
      The problem is: what do you want?
      As far as I know, Peter Holt’s philosophy is to keep the team very close to the community. And to do that you better keep it at the top year after year, making the community cheering and hoping ’til the last PO game.
      To achieve this – and standing current salary cap et al. rules – you have to make big choices in great advance. You have to build on a long term perspective. You have to know that you’ll probably win three titles in a ten-year span – but always staying on the top, even when not winning it all. You can do this only by keeping mature (mentally) players as long as you can, even if they’re not at their top form because of age. Meanwhile – and with their leadership and backbone – you have time to constantly develop new players. Players who were NOT 1st picks – ’cause staying at the top means NO 1st picks.

      The other route is: I want to win it NOW.
      Then, a different strategy applies. No time to develop play. No time to spread a philosophy. Just buy the best you can, the quickest you can. This is an “all in” strategy. “Buy” the best players on the market, betting all on their immediate success. It’s highly risky, ’cause thanks to salary cap rules you cannot buy ALL the best ones. Some other team could get something similar and you could lose the Finals.
      The drawbacks of this strat are many:
      - If you rely on a few superstars, you’re prone to injuries or to “getting old” of one of them (see Wade).
      - If one of your superstars already has “rings”, he’ll probably be less motivated, unless he’s part of the team’s philosophy.
      - You have a quite narrow window ’cause stars will be lured away, they’ll get old, they’ll lose focus, they’ll want more money – taking it away from the bench budget.
      When all this busts, you find yourself with almost nothing in the tank. No money left because of costly stars contracts. No young players development for you likely traded away your half-decent picks to get the stars.

      Final result is: you can act Spurs-like and win “almost always” for a looong period. Or you can try to win it all (titles) for two-to-four years. But then it’ll probably take ten years to get back at the top.

  5. digitioli says:

    The Spurs are the only reason I still watch the NBA. I find one on one isolation and pick and roll boring and blase.
    I was a Laker fan until Kobe came along. I hated watching them even when they won – when it was all about 1 guy hogging the ball and going one on one. THAT is boring. And BTW, perfectly symbolic of what’s wrong with LA – take, take, take, me, me, me.
    Parker has learned over the years to not be that guy too, and the Spurs are their weakest when he reverts to playing one on one.
    It takes discipline and respect to trust your team mates, your coach, and the system above one’s ego. Team basketball is what made showtime so great, and it’s what makes the Spurs great. Any given night you don’t know who will get it done, you just know it’s getting done from a team perspective on both ends of the floor. And I really like the fact that although they still celebrate good plays, a lot of time they act like it’s what’s supposed to happen, and they know it’s going to happen again and again BECAUSE OF THE WAY THEY PLAY! I love it, and I really hope they repeat. They showed last year they now have the one thing they have been missing – that made Jordan and the Bulls so great – KILLER INSTINCT. GO SPURS!

    • Carlo says:

      All perfect!

      Unfortunately, the great majority of audience does not understand b’ball (or team play of whatever sport) and they can just appreciate slam dunks and thunder blockshots (which they misjudge as “defense”). And the great majority of the audience is what makes the great majority of income.
      That’s why NBA always pardon “walks”, the usually charge the foul on the defender and they invented that stupid “smile” rule.

  6. Harold says:

    heyyy Guys.. one thing i will say.. after BULLS for Michael Jordan Era… Spurs is the best….. its all about team work and friendship inside and outside

  7. Mark says:

    Manu is 37

  8. Leeddie says:

    Good for Tony, the Spurs organization and their fans. Now we will wait and hope they repeat. The Spurs repeating would be the best thing for basketball. Mind you that would not be the best thing for the NBA but for basketball HELL YEAH!

  9. patrickmarc says:

    Tony and Boris speak a slang french creole, it’s quite funny,
    nobody can understand what they want to do while they run to the basket.

  10. Carlo says:

    Spurs are actually boring for a lot of people:

    - Those who never watched their games ’cause they read somewhere they’re boring.

    - Those who watched a few games (just because they were playing against their fav team, usually crunching it) but did not want to concede Spurs were/are actually better than their favs.

    - Those who watched Spurs games for any reason but are convinced that “good” basketball = thundering slamdunks (these people’s fav games are the Slam Dunk Contest and All Star Game, not the Finals).

    - Those who causally watch b’ball games but cannot tell b’ball team play from a bowling round.

    - Journalists who live out of sensational – and usually stupid – market moves. Their fav team continue to be Knicks and Lakers.

  11. Michael says:

    YouTube “The Beautiful Game” if you think the Spurs are boring. Magic Johnson loves watching them. Shaq recognises greatness when he sees it. And Tim Duncan is Bill Russell’s favourite player. Bill knows a thing or two about winning.

    And after all these years Parker is still so underrated. A starter for four championships, and one Finals MVP. When was the last time a point guard won Finals MVP? In the last 25 years, it’s only happened three times: Isiah Thomas in 1990, Chancey Billups in 2004, Parker in 2007.

  12. Flabingo says:

    The mission of the TEAM is to win games, and the Championship, as a team. Billy Beane has done it in baseball, with a payroll of 40% of the Yankees. Ir starts with the Owner, then the GM , coach, and the players, playing TOGETHER. Go figure that with 45 seconds in the final game Parker and Green the starting point guards had not scored ONE POINT, and Green did not score a point the WHOLE game. When POP was GM, he fired the coach! and took over! and ended with the worst record? pat Riley would NEVER do that. He got SHAQUILLE and fired Stan Van Gundy and became coach. P.S. Finishing last got them a rookie named TIM Duncan

  13. kobeballhog2 says:

    Definitely the most boring team ever in the history of the nba. Just accept it spurs fanboys its the truth. But still hats off to the spurs for bringing it year after year. Definitely a great organization. You can be boring but successful. Heck like barkley said san antonio even have the biggest fans in the nba… ooops barkley meant *greatest* lol

  14. Dennis Lippy says:

    The Spurs do it the right way with players who play the game the right way………..You all notice that none of the Spurs are from the ‘hood’ or play showtime basketball……..Too many players play for themselves and want to be overpaid and the team is secondary

  15. michael says:

    It’s the only the smart move, if tony didn’t want to win a finals again he would go to another team. You can’t stack your team with all-stars from different teams and expect to win the finals time after time. Do you think Chris Paul is going to win a title…no or Carmelo…no or deron williams will ever win a finals? No, its not the way basketball is supposed to be played. If toney parker went to the Knicks, they wouldn’t get any better, that’s why lakers weren’t succesful when they got dwight howard and nash and houston won’t be getting a ring because they expect to win when they draft these all-stars. It might work during lunch period when you were in the 5th grade but it won’t work in the NBA.

  16. G R Srinivasan says:

    Full marks to Tony, Tim and Manu to realize that it takes a TEAM to win and this has to be within the salary cap. At the same time, lesser minutes extends the playing life of individuals too. Compare this with the famous superstars who take so much of the cake that the leave the team with little or no bench strength and the inability to win, as witnessed by the recent Miami collapse. The Spurs Management and TEAM have shown the way for the NBA as a whole, but when will collective reality and sanity strike in this paycheck game ?

  17. A.J. says:

    I hate reading these Spurs-centric stories written by sportswriters that seemingly don’t know any better. The stories are always so damn stupid.

    Beginning with 2015-2016, Parker will be 33 and will have already played approximately 41,000 career minutes between the regular season and the playoffs. That’s some pretty high mileage before the deal even starts. This deal he’s getting could not be more fair to both player and team. For all anybody knows, it could be more than what Parker will be actually worth. But reading Caplan, you’d think a guy was taking less than his market value, and the Spurs are the smartest and sharpest wheelers and dealers of all time.

    Stop the insanity! Or in this case, the inanity.

    • mee(a)t says:

      thank you
      it seems like any move the Spurs do are now “OMG BRILLIANT, SO SMART, THE SPURS WAY”

    • Carlo says:

      Easy fix: Don’t read stories about the Spurs. They’re easy to spot: it’s in the title.

  18. MathSimon says:

    Let’s go do a repeat, Spurs!

  19. Omar says:

    Seriously was there ever any doubt? Our big 3 will be Spurs for life!

  20. Someone says:

    Great organization, great coach, SMART players.
    Best basketball coach of the NBA by the way, knows what needs to be done.
    All the haters are in love with one on one bull…. matchups.
    flashy moves, big ego and when playoffs begins crumble like …
    it’s all about the team needs not the individual.
    You can put 5 all starts together and still not win a title.

  21. nbafan says:

    Maybe the Spurs players may have longer careers since Pop watches their minutes so perhaps it kind of works out in terms of total pay in their NBA career. Anyways, I certainly did not think they were boring during the playoffs.

  22. ChrisWAMBO says:

    GO SPURS GO! If Tony wins a ring he will be the best PG ever to play!

    1.0 Tony Parker
    1.5 Magic Johnson
    2. Isiah Thomas
    3. Oscar Robertson
    4. John Stockton
    5. Jason Kidd (What started Tony Drive, Motivation)
    Bob Cousy
    Walt Frazier
    Steve Nash (Parker Idol)
    Gary Payton
    Maurice Cheeks

    • A.J. says:

      Hey, Wambo, I’ll have what you’re having. But will I have to move to Washington or Colorado first?

    • ray says:

      If toney was as good as magic then they would have won a lot more I would even put a few others ahead of him but the rest of the list is all debatable but nothing san antonio does as a team will make toney look as great as magic all time nba starting pg magic dominates that list almost as much as mj at sg and wilt at center

  23. Parker says:

    “This franchise is so boring.” LOL. I hope you are being sarcastic. How is winning boring? I’m certainly entertained by every piece of news about the Spurs. I guess it’s only natural that some journalists sympathize more with controversy and sensationalism, than with the Spurs (a symbol of professionalism, work ethics, humility and sacrifice).

  24. thespectator says:

    spurs will get their fast back to back title in team history, gonna be spurs vs cavs for the 2014-2015 nba finals. spurs in 5

    • thespectator says:

      first*

    • charless702 says:

      I’m not sure the Cavs have it in them to win the Eastern Conference.

    • okckd35 says:

      Still got to worry about OKC all you spurs homers. Had ibaka not missed the 1st 2 games we may have seen a different series.

      • Carlo says:

        Last year, Parker played with the same Ibaka’s injury.
        If Ibaka could play from the 3rd game, he could’ve played from the start.
        If Duncan, Ginobili and Parker were all 27 y.o., OKC stood no chance to win one single game.
        Finally, If my grandma had wheels, she was a car.

  25. rich says:

    STILL, the most boring team in the NBA.

  26. Norm says:

    The Spurs way is the way!

    • birdie says:

      Only boring if you haven’t watched them play in years and just mouth other idiots’ comments.

  27. jim says:

    Actually, an argument could be made that the Spurs players will spend less time injured due to decreased minutes and may end up with larger career numbers – but not more impressive per game stats.