Tony “Manu Jr.” Parker Completes Spurs’ Star Trio, Team’s Circular Path

April 23rd, 2010 by Robert Kleeman Leave a reply »
It started with Manu Ginobili.

The doubts resurfaced. The Spurs' late-game execution faltered. They couldn't win close games down the stretch that used to be cakewalks.

Would the Spurs of old have blown a 10-point fourth quarter lead at the Rose Garden when Brandon Roy wasn't playing?

Ginobili topped 20 points in that February loss but clanged a wide-open three that would have knotted the score. He threw the ball into the stands when the Spurs had one last opportunity to remove their hands from their necks.

The detractors responded with a proposition Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford clearly considered.

Trade Manu, critics said, while he still has some value. A Yahoo! Sports report even suggested the front office had considered packaging Ginobili in a deadline deal for Amar'e Stoudemire.

The rumored trade never happened for reasons that should be obvious. Stoudemire isn't a Popovich kind of player, and his dicey contract situation made him a gamble not worth the loss of a competitor who embodies the word "champion."

The Phoenix Suns brass decided jettisoning ...

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