San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker is counting on the other members of the team's Big Three to return next season for another NBA championship run. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are in twilight of their careers, prompting speculation that the team’s Game 7 first-round loss to the Los Angeles Clippers was the last game for the trio.
Parker is staying positive amid all the rumors. During his annual appearance at the George Gervin Academy, the 2007 NBA Finals MVP admitted that the decision is not in his hands, but he believes that the pitch he gave to his teammates was enough to persuade them to come back.
“I’ve talked to them and told them what I think,” the six-time All-Star said. “Now it’s their decision. It’s a very personal decision.”
The 39-year-old Duncan still showed flashes of his old self this past season, averaging 13 points and 9 rebounds during the 77 games in which he appeared for coach Greg Popovich’s squad. He even upped those numbers to 19 points and 11 rebounds during the team’s playoff series with the Clippers, but the squad fell short after L.A.'s Chris Paul won Game 7 with a banked floater over Duncan's outstretched arms.
The same cannot be said of the 37-year-old Argentine legend Ginobili, whose game showed signs of aging throughout the season. He averaged just 10 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists in 70 games, his lowest numbers since his rookie season in 2002, and was essentially shellacked at times in the playoffs, losing his usual minutes to younger guys such as Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green after shooting an abysmal 34 percent.
The Spurs are looking to retool this summer and have free agent Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies as their primary target. Aside from Duncan and Ginobili, the team will also have to decide on its other free agents, such as Green, Matt Bonner, Aron Baynes, Marco Belinelli, Cory Joseph and Kawhi Leonard.