San Antonio Spurs GM R.C. Buford has spent last week at EuroBasket in Slovenia checking up on the stable of Spurs players still participating in the competition.
The Spurs-laden French national team has very likely commanded much of R.C's attention, and rightly so.
France has Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, and Nando De Colo all playing significant minutes. The team has performed well enough to earn a spot in the semi-finals and next face Team Spain on Friday.
However, some NBA front offices tend to frown upon their valuable players competing for their respective countries in the offseason. Perhaps most notably, the Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has made his distaste for the practice public knowledge. R.C. and coach Gregg Popovich to this point have not made it an issue.
While in Slovenia, Buford has apparently visited with Parker, and it seems he made it known to Tony that he would prefer the head of the Spurs' snake cut down on his playing time.
"I saw R.C. He wants me to play less minutes to be ready for the Spurs next season. But I have a great relationship with the Spurs. I'm very lucky to have R.C. and Coach Pop to let me play for my country. They know that I love playing for my country. I take a lot of pride playing for France. I'm just happy that I have the Spurs organization to let me do that."
Tony also admitted to having suffered through some fatigue so far in the tournament, which is understandable considering he was only able to rest about eight weeks from the end of the 2007 NBA Finals to the start of the French teams' training camp. And averaging 28.7 MPG thus far in the tourney has undoubtedly added to the fatigue factor.
Tony also gave his thoughts on last seasons' disappointing ending, as well as his thoughts on this coming season's team.
"I was lucky enough to win three times already. It's obviously going to hurt until I die. I'll be 95 years old and dying, and I'll be like, 'Oh, Game 6'. That's life."
"The signing of Marco Belinelli is a great signing for us. Pop is going to do a great job of resting me, Manu and Tim during the season. We have those young guys, Danny Green, Kahwi Leonard, getting better and better."
"So I think we're going to have a great chance to do it again next year. That's what you want as a basketball player, to have that opportunity to try to win it. You don't win it every year but you try to have the opportunity and that's what we have with the Spurs."
It remains to be seen if Buford's request for less time on the court for Parker has fallen on deaf ears considering Parker will want to add an EuroBasket championship to his mantle. Whatever the case, I'm quite sure that most Spurs fans are glad that EuroBasket is close to its finale.
What are your thoughts on NBA players wanting to play for their national teams? Good thing or bad thing?