Buford: Spurs not caught up in Parker’s pessimism

By Mike Monroe

Spurs general manager R.C. Buford was at the NBA’s pre-draft combine in Chicago on Thursday when he heard that point guard Tony Parker this week said the Spurs, as constituted, aren’t capable of contending for an NBA championship.

“Who knows what the motivation is to say something like that,” Buford said. “I’m not going to get caught up in comments. All I can say is that we’re going to continue to build our team and try to be as good as we can be in the future.”

At a press conference in Paris early this week Parker was asked about the Spurs and their disappointing finish to a 61-win season.

The French sports publication L’Equipe quoted Parker on his concern about the team’s ability to remain among the NBA’s legitimate title contenders.

“Our team can still perform at the highest level, but next year I don’t think we can play for the title,” he said. “We have to be realistic. It was kind of our last chance this season because (Tim) Duncan and (Manu) Ginobili are getting older.”

Parker also said he understands it will be difficult for the Spurs to improve through trades because of the nature of the team’s contracts.

“We don’t have many players that can be traded, and we’re going to have to be lucky during the draft,” he said. “But Pop (head coach and president of basketball Gregg Popovich) always makes the right choices.”

Parker acknowledged that, as a 29-year-old three-time All-Star with a hefty contract, he has more trade value than his teammates.

“If they have a player they can trade, it is clearly me,” he said, “but Pop told me I will not go anywhere, so we’ll see. Obviously, the NBA is a business. You have to be ready for everything.

“That being said, I don’t think they would have signed me for four more years to trade me, but you just never know.”

Buford understands that Parker’s comments are apt to spawn another round of trade speculation.

“I can’t control that,” he said, “and I’m not going to worry about it. We’re just going to move forward and work to improve the team.”

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