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Six Reasons Against the Pau/Tony Rumor

By Stephen Hale on May 20, 2011.

Lamar Odom, Tony Parker, Pau Gasol

Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America

Well, here we are a month-ish removed from our early exit from the playoffs at the hands of a Memphis Grizzlies team which proved that, yes, they had heart. In reality, it was more of a poor performance by the Spurs than it was a great one by the Grizzlies. Of course this is debate-able, but let’s pretend it is fact.

Nevertheless, the fish are biting for Tim as he curses Charles Barkley. Tony is probably enjoying the single life somewhere in France. Manu is back on Twitter, alternating between English and Spanish tweets.

It took little time for the rumors to fly. So many who, “what ifs” and “hows.” All kinds of names. “Who is on the trading block,” “who is a free agent,” “who will retire or not retire.” We will get to this in a second.

As my ship nears the end of its deployment, we took a brief pit stop recently in Manila, the Philippines. The crew got some much needed liberty and had a good time sampling the local cuisine.  On any given street, it was sad to see several homeless people, begging for a simple peso (Filipino currency). Some might be shady, but obviously poverty rules that land.

But what sparked my arrogant interest was a boy about 16. He sat on a bike with no shoes and diamond earrings, tattoos all over his body. He obviously ran the block, as poor as it was. But what shocked me was the jersey he wore. He was rocking a Toronto Raptors Vince Carter Jersey. But he was cool man. That may have been the only shirt that kid had, but it was a legit jersey.

Sadly, we all know that after his time in N.J. where VC was lucky enough to have Jason Kidd, he is now floating around in the league somewhere and most people can’t remember if he plays for Orlando or Phoenix. He has been reduced to a jersey in the Philippines. Almost as sad as the poverty.

But I walked on and actually saw three other kids wearing Duncan, Ginobili and Parker jerseys. I am not lying. I couldn’t make this up.

Then it struck me and my mind flooded with thoughts of the rumors going on about the Spurs’ off-season. I took a minute and thought, “Will they ever be reduced to just a jersey worn by a kid in the slums of Manila?”

Well, it concerned me quite a bit and led me to Google, research, study, and ponder the rumors. I began to consider the swirling rumors and eventually stumbled upon one that I am sure has all Spurs fans chomping at the bits: Pau for Tony.

I have been thinking about this for a couple days and I have come up with six reasons why this trade won’t happen. Before you blast me to oblivion, remember that I, like you, can only offer my opinion. So take a break from your expense reports and before you decide to comment and reply to this with words like heresy and stupidity, remember that all we are sometimes are arm chair quarterbacks. That was my intro. Let’s begin.

Reason #1- Our Owners

Look. You can like it or not, but lets face it: RC, Holt and Pop just don’t like the spot light. Probably too much. I think this time, it may be to a fault. I think that more than they want to win, they want to win the right way. They don’t want to draw unnecessary attention to the team, don’t want the ugly press and don’t like to do what people think or want them to do. They don’t want people talking about their decisions in the aftermath, like what would come with a Pau/Tony Trade. And you know what? I love it.

I thoroughly enjoy that our team is an Old School, small market team, that builds players up through the draft and doesn’t get bent out of shape when we lose a Big F.A. We have a system and you have to play in our system, or you hit the road (i.e. Stephen Jackson). As much as this trade would benefit our front line, this would be bigger news than they would want. Call it pride. Call it stupid. Call it arrogance and call me an idiot. But it’s true.

Reason #2 – Phil Jackson

Phil, more than anyone, will be the hardest gap to fill in the Laker franchise. Kobe will retire a Laker and rightly so. But Kobe is that team. They can Jerry Sloan this, Rick Adleman that, Brian Shaw here and Byron Scott there. But the bottom line is simple: Kobe gets to pick who he wants to play for. And if Kobe wants Oscar the Grouch to coach, I would bet my Hazardous Duty pay, that there will be a trash-can on the sidelines of the Staples Center.

All grouchiness aside, the point is a new coach will bring a new system. I don’t think Shaw is ready and honestly Buss isn’t considering him much. When a new coach comes in, the Bynum/Gasol duo will probably sound more delicious to him than a Tony Parker driven offense. I mean think about it: If you were an NBA coach coming to the Lakers, would you want to get rid of one of your Twin Towers? No seriously…think about it.

Reason #3 – Lamar Kardashian-Odom

This is my favorite factor and here is why: Lamar Odom is the Laker’s scape goat. When stuff is going wrong, it seems like this guy gets blamed for everything. Ya, Artest gets in trouble a lot too. But “Odom doesn’t produce” and “Odom doesn’t play defense” and “Odom cant guard dirk” and blah blah blah.. I think he actually gets a rough shake. Plus, he has already been traded a couple times before. And because of a new coach, who knows what kind of system he would flourish in.

The point of Reason #3 is that you can handle Artest at the 3 spot and keeping him than you can with Lamar at 1,2,3,4, or 5 off the bench, where he has no real home. He is a product of his environment. He gets lost in the shuffle and without a true position, it’s hard to pin him with a single role. Sometimes, he is expected to be a big man and play with Pau/Bynum. Other times he is expected to handle the rock. His undefined role makes him replaceable, more so than Gasol.

Now yes, I know, the dude won the 6th man of the year award. But like I said, he is the scape goat. Hear me out because now we are getting to Reason #4.

Reason #4- David Robinson and the Knicks

Do you remember what it was like when we started the Admiral and a young Tim Duncan? Remember that screen and roll they used to run 8 ft from the basket? Remember that look that the Knicks had on there face in 99? Man it was awesome. The same look on Mark Cuban’s face when Dwayne Wade went to the line in the Finals 649 times.

Remember when 3 months ago you were talking about “when we meet LA in the playoffs” and had to match up against Bynum and Gasol?

Same face…

Now, just pretend if we had Gasol and Tim.

Wait for it….different face.

Come on. You smiled a bit, no?

Well, when the Lakers F.O. think about Gasol and Duncan, they have the “Knick Face.” No way will these guys trade inter-conference and gift rap another set of Twin Towers to San Antonio. I do believe that Pau is not going to be a Laker next year. I think that LA will do him wrong and send him away, maybe even in some kind of freak package involving D12 (depending on the details of the lockout of course). But I don’t think they send him somewhere where he could come back with vengeance on them.

Imagine Tony Parker, guarded by George Hill (weird thought, but not a horrible idea), in gold and purple, running down the lane, trying to decide between kicking it to RJ on the wing (also in purple and gold) for a 3 (brick) or a tear drop over Duncan and Gasol and hoping that Reason #3 gets the inevitable miss. The F.O. wouldn’t let that happen.

Or would they rather have Tony drive down the lane and not pass to RJ in the wing, and when Duncan and Odom come over the block, he lays it off to Pau or Bynum, knowing full well that Bonner (who we would be forced to keep around, since Odom would probably never learn the systerm, but Pop would want to play Tim, Matt and Lamar) isn’t going to slide over.

See the alternative?  LA likes scenario 2 better. Odom is more likely to get traded to SA than Gasol (imagine Khloe Kardashian trying to shop at River Center Mall), but Gasol is more likely to get traded in general…if that makes sense. In reality, neither come, but moving on…

Reason # 5 – Steve Blake

From Reason #2, comes the dawning of Steve Blake. Artest, Fisher, Odom, and Gasol will all very much be on the trading block, but I believe Blake will be safe. Fish is old and Shannon Brown isn’t a guard. He can’t run a team and is somewhere between being a PG and an SG. Blake will be the sucker for the Lakers and any Spurs fan wanting to keep Parker should keep their fingers crossed that I am right.

If a new coach comes in, he wont think to much of dumping Blake.  Blake has a good name around the league and can be trusted as a solid PG. You can bet that if anyone not currently in the Laker organization takes the reigns, Blake will stick around and should dictate that team. Blake should be able to fly under the radar when it comes to trade block. Yes of course, anyone besides Kobe is on block right now. But I think Reason #2 and Reason #5 are very big reasons as to why Tony doesn’t head to LA next year.

Reason #6 Vince Carter

As I said about my story of the Philippines, “Vinsanity,” (a name bestowed to him from NBA Live 2004), has passed into shadow. Teammates hated him, coaches couldn’t coach him and fans have never been able to trust him (if you are on the Vince Carter Band-wagon, go read “The Book of Basketball” by Bill Simmons a.k.a. the Basketball Bible and see if you don’t change your mind). I saw an entire city give up on this clown in N.J. and although Brent Barry isn’t a real fan of Parker and people always are ready to throw TP under the bus, you really don’t want to lose him.

We all love George Hill, but do you want him running your offense? Is Hill ready to be a starter in this league? In my unprofessional opinion, which means nothing, I think no.

I just can’t see Popovich waving good bye to his young protégé that came into the league and blew by people at lighting quick speed. I cant see him giving up on a player who he took under his wing at 19 years old, yelled at, bench, put him back in the game, learned how to shoot jumpers (ask the Pistons) and turned himself into an all-star. Let’s pretend you had to ask the question, “Who is getting traded this off season?”

Well, R.J.’s fat contract and under production is the answer you get. But unless you’re the T Wolves or Clippers, you don’t take R.J. and his contract.  We would have to include a trade asset. That is where most people assume Tony is included. Dangle him over someone with a nice 3 or 4 and they will gobble up RJ too.

Well, to be frank, Parker isn’t that good where someone besides LA, NY, or Miami would take RJ. Kobe and RJ? D12 and RJ? Ya. In a heart beat, people would take RJ for those type of players.But Tony and RJ. Cough, No.Tony is Tony because of  Pop. Not because he is Tony. Great Point Guard, prob top 5. But not a franchise player.

As valuable as Pau would be, Parker leaving would create another huge whole. It would immediately throw all the complaining about RJ not producing and Duncan being old and Manu’s elbow onto George Hill. Pau would come in and produce 17 and 11, but Hill would struggle for 11 and 6. He’s just not a starter. He is our Jason Terry. Our Jamaal Crawford. Our Lamar Odom. He shines because he is a freak off the bench. Hill will get better. But not at the expense of losing Parker.

Vince Carter was a problem child who needed corporal punishment. Tony is a goober sometimes and you want to pull your hair out, but it’s like something a friend of mine told me when I asked him about women. He said, “Women. You can’t live with em and you cant shoot em.”

Thanks for setting the Texan back another 20 years…

But with Tony, you can’t live with him sometimes, but you can’t trade him. Otherwise, he fades into the mist and you see his jersey one day in the Philippines…

These are my beliefs and I am sticking too them. It won’t happen. It doesn’t mean that Pau and Tony won’t get traded somewhere, but not for each other. So cool the talks.

Upon proof reading this piece, my friend asked me, “So, if you still wanted to get Pau, how do you do it?”

We aint getting Pau. But if it were me and I had a Pipe Dream and no lockout was pending?

Spurs Get:

Pau

Artest

Blake

Barnes

Lakers Get:

Tony

RJ

Blair

Bonner

Anderson (bear with me here)

Only to do this —

Minnestoa Get:

Barnes and Artest

Spurs Get:

Beasley

Darko

Blake, Neal, Quinn

Manu, Hill, Green,

Beasely, Butler, Novak

Splitter, Pau, Darko

Duncan, Dyess, Ryan Richards (bring him over)

I lied. It’s a pipe dream and a half. But that’s the only way I will ever go to the Philippines happy…

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