I’m not really a salary cap guy. I don’t spend a lot of time looking at what players are getting paid, how contracts are structured or how teams avoid the luxury tax.
But I do know good value when I see it.
Recently, Sports Illustrated did a column on the best value contracts in the NBA. Not surprisingly, both San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan and Tony Parker made the list. Duncan’s contract of three years, $30 million and Parker’s of three years, $37.5 million are both a lot less than they could be making with other teams.
Whether it’s team loyalty or perhaps Spurs’ management is just very persuasive (I’m going with the former), Duncan and Parker have both decided to stick around in San Antonio and take a bit of a pay cut to help the team in the long run.
On top of Duncan’s willingness to take one for the team, I bet when the Spurs came up with his contract, they figured that his game would be trailing off as he entered the twilight years of his career. On the contrary, like a fine wine, Duncan seems to be getting even better with age. He’s providing a huge contribution at both ends of the floor and he’s exactly what the Spurs need right now. It makes it even sweeter that the team doesn’t have to pay a (relatively) big price for it.
Parker is having an MVP-caliber season, there’s no denying that. If you look at what the supposed “top” MVP candidates are getting paid this year (LeBron James, $17.5 million, Kevin Durant, $16.7 million) and compare it to TP ($12.5 million), clearly Parker is one of the best bargains out there.
An unselfish attitude, whether it be in negotiating contracts or any other aspect of the game, is what has made the Spurs such a great franchise for so long. It’s rare to find such selfless actions, especially in the NBA, but Tim Duncan and Tony Parker prove time and time again why they’re so valuable.