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Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Would the Spurs trade Tony Parker?

By Henry Abbott

One of the theories that has been floating around is that the Knicks will try to get Tony Parker as a running mate for Amare Stoudemire.

It's a great idea from the Knicks' end -- this would make them vastly better, of course. Mike D'Antoni's offensive system and Stoudemire's offense both stand to gain a ton of efficiency from a great point guard.

But isn't that some kind of pipe dream? What could the Knicks possibly offer San Antonio in exchange for a top-grade point guard like Parker? Why are people even talking about this? Isn't it just crazy?

Not so crazy, it turns out. There are signs from all over that Parker really is in the mix for New York, and the main thing the Spurs would get in such a trade is a trade exception.

Before you laugh, consider that in this summer of free agency, there are lots of high-value young players floating around (Wesley Matthews has been mentioned) who will be fairly cheap and would help the Spurs stay vibrant as Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili age. Efficient, energetic and cheap role players are the lifeblood of the Spurs' organization. But if they are going to sign Tiago Splitter with their midlevel exception, the Spurs won't be able to get any of those guys without some cap creativity.

Tim Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell addressed the possibility a few days ago:
If the Spurs sent Parker to the Knicks, they could, as one example, take back Toney Douglas (adding depth behind George Hill at point guard) and a whopping big trade exception. Nothing more. N.Y. is under the cap. Salaries don’t have to match.

The Spurs could then use the trade exception to shop the free agent market, effectively giving themselves cap space to play with. Of course, the Spurs couldn’t sign players outright with trade exception money, but, in this market, there are plenty of contracted players or free agents who could be had through a trade or sign and trade.

In a similar manner, the Spurs could sign and trade Richard Jefferson to a team under the cap and take back a large trade exception for him as well.

Trade exception money can be split amongst multiple players, and the Spurs would have a year to utilize the funds.

For Knicks fans it's a question of: Where do I sign up for that? For Spurs fans ... does this do anything for you? Does the emergence of George Hill as Parker's potential replacement change the thinking, allowing the Spurs to "sell high" on Parker before age depletes his value?