Rumors of dissatisfaction and Big Apple longing have made New Yorkers constantly hoping to land Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, but at the end of last season we were all fantasizing about snagging a different star: Tony Parker. Apparently the San Antonio Spurs’ All-Star point guard was now expendable because backup George Hill had performed admirably. Plus with TP married to glamorous actress Eva Longoria, clearly she’d prefer he move to Manhattan. We here at Buckets even posted about a rumored potential trade of Tony for David Lee. However, after CP3’s toast at ‘Melo’s wedding that they’d team up with Amar’e Stoudemire to form their own Big Three on the Knicks, Mr. Parker-Longoria slipped from many people’s minds.
Rest assured that Knick president Donnie Walsh hadn’t forgotten about the former Finals MVP. Thus he, like any seriously knowledgable Knick fan, was distressed to hear that Tony signed a multi-year extension with the Spurs over the weekend. While Chris Paul might be better, Parker’s contract ended this year, making him a serious possibility for us to snag. Players who receive max contracts, like LeBron and Amar’e, they can be tough to lure as the NBA’s rules allow their home team to offer them more money. However, with players like Tony Parker who aren’t quite at that level, we could’ve potentially offered a more lucrative contract than San Antonio (he signed for four years at only about $50 million). That meant he was the easiest, most realistic top baller we could’ve gotten.
With Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili aging, wouldn’t it have made sense for him to at least wait until the off-season to see what options were available? Well, due to injuries, the last three years Parker missed 13, 10 and 26 games. So part of the reason he likely signed the deal was to be safe in case anything serious happened to him this year. The other big concern of course is that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement will be signed, which means that there’s a chance he might not be able to get as good a deal once the new CBA is in place. I still think he should’ve held off, because again, with him not getting a max contract, it seems like it’s pretty likely he could’ve signed just as lucrative a deal. Bottom line: cross him off the list. Sure we can still trade for him, but now there’s nothing about him that makes that more conceivable than any other trade we might make.
In other news, asbestos fell from the ceiling in Madison Square Garden so tonight’s game against Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic has been cancelled. You’re probably bummed about that if you had tickets to tonight’s game (or if you have any Knick or Magic player on your fantasy squad and put them in your line-up). However, honestly, I think it might be good for us. I keep harping on the difficulty of our first five games. If you agree with my power ranking, then Orlando would be the third top five team we played in a row (after having played Boston & Portland over the week). In other words, even if we are significantly better than last year, it would be quite an upset or coup to beat Orlando. But most people look only at win-loss record rather than difficulty of schedule, and a third loss in a row would throw fans and journalists into a further panic of are-we-just-as-bad-as-we-were-last-year. Instead now we have a far more winnable game against the Chicago Bulls, followed by two games we should win against Washington and Philadelphia. Yes, we will have to play that Orlando game eventually, but it’s better to have it later in the year where a loss won’t cause any early season panic to erupt.