The Spurs must wait until after free agency begins July 1 to know if they have a reasonable chance of striking a deal that can lock up versatile free-agent-to-be Boris Diaw for another few seasons.
Tony Parker, the Spurs’ All-NBA point guard, thinks he got a hint of Diaw’s thinking a few days ago when he discovered his longtime friend was not in the guest house at his residence. The guest house has been Diaw’s home since he signed with the Spurs in March after negotiating a contract buyout with the Bobcats.
“Right now all his stuff is at my house,” Parker said after spending a day with youngsters attending the Spurs’ basketball camp at the University of the Incarnate Word on Monday. “He left without notice and left all his stuff.”
Parker left his own things behind this morning when he took off from San Antonio for Paris, where he will join Diaw and other members of the French national team to begin preparations for the Olympic tournament, scheduled to begin in London on July 28.
For the most poignant of reasons, Parker is anxious for his national team to begin practice June 20. Preparing for London will help the Spurs’ top scorer during the regular season and playoffs put Oklahoma City in the past.
The Spurs were ahead 2-0 in the Western Conference finals after his playoff-high 34 points sparked a 120-111 victory in Game 2 at the AT&T Center.
But Parker was limited to 48 points in the next three games before breaking out for 29 in the Game 6 loss that ended the Spurs’ season.
Without something else to focus on, it is difficult to get past such disappointment.
“Right now you think a lot of ‘if this and if that,’” he said, “and I will for another week, until the national team starts. I still have the Spurs in my mind and what I could do better and all the stuff we could do better, but you know with some ‘ifs’ you can re-do the whole world.
“It’s going to hurt for a while, and you use it as motivation for next year and come back strong next year and keep improving. That’s what I always try to do: Get better every year and start off strong.”
Parker was careful to avoid the controversy that followed him last summer after he told French journalists he thought the window was closing on the Spurs’ opportunity to win a fifth NBA championship. He said he trusts general manger R.C. Buford and coach Gregg Popovich to put together a roster capable of playing deep into the playoffs and contending for future titles.
“R.C. and Pop have proven many times they bring in players, never heard of, and they play great,” Parker said. “So I expect them to find some players, improve our team and get right back to it next year.”
The most important off-season decision involves Tim Duncan, the free agent big man who has been with the Spurs for 15 seasons. Parker doesn’t know how much longer the 36-year-old team captain wants to play but seems certain he will return for at least one more season.
“I don’t know,” he said, “but he looked great this year, the way Pop managed him, and did a great job. I expect him to have another great season next year.”
Parker admits he has lobbied Diaw to return to the Spurs but understands the difficulty of the decision, both for the club and his friend.
“Obviously, he would love to stay,” Parker said. “He likes it here in San Antonio. It’s going to depend. There’s so many guys on our team — Timmy, Danny Green, Patty Mills — we’ve got a lot of different (free agent) guys, but I trust their judgment.” [email protected]
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