August 16, 2010
There are quite a few factors that go in to a free agent choosing where they want to play basketball. There are the big ones like money, playing time, legacy and whether or not the player has decided years in advance to play with their friends near a beach. But there are also less important qualities that influence a player's decision — things like looking good in the uniform, previous relationships with teammates and which team the player cheered for while growing up. It's complicated like an Alec Baldwin movie.
But if there's one person in all this craziness who could have a tiny semblance of what the player is thinking, odds are it's their significant other. Usually, they have quite a bit of influence as well. Whether it be Hedo Turkoglu's(notes) wife choosing Toronto over Portland or Elton Brand's(notes) wife wanting to be close to her family in Philadelphia, we've seen spouses be pretty instrumental in where certain players end up playing. That's why these rumors about Tony Parker's(notes) wife, Eva Longoria-Parker, are so important. From the New York Post's Brian Lewis:
Tony Parker's wife, actress Eva Longoria, was overheard last night saying the San Antonio point guard wants to come to the Big Apple.
The couple was at sold-out Red Bull Arena last night in Harrison, N.J., to watch their friend Thierry Henry and the Red Bulls lose 1-0 to the L.A. Galaxy.
Asked if Parker's presence meant he was coming to New York, she responded, "No, we're just here watching [Henry]."
Asked if her husband wanted to come to New York, she quickly flashed a smile, nodded her head and said, "Yes."
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times — any time a basketball player's wife is an actress who was very famous five years ago, they are going to want to play in New York. It's just common sense, Thomas Paine style. Add in Henry's recent arrival to New York and this feels like a slam dunk, to use a basketball term that doesn't really apply to Tony Parker's game. Maybe "this feels like a teardrop floater" makes more sense, but it doesn't sound as good. Moving on.
Obviously these are just rumors, and they're some of the most ludicrous you could ever dream up — a player's wife who is a television star was caught mouthing the word "yes" to a question that is assumed to be about going to New York is very, very silly — but Tony Parker in New York makes a lot of sense. He'd be great in the uptempo system Mike D'Antoni uses and his wife would love the extra attention from living in New York. That might not be the best reason for signing there, but it's certainly valid.
However, if the rumored Carmelo Anthony(notes) and Chris Paul(notes) in New York deal ends up to be true, there might not be enough scratch for Tony Parker to fulfill his wife's lifelong dream of him being a Knick. Then, he'd have to choose between his wife's wishes and his job, which sounds like something straight out of "Desperate Housewives." Not that I'd know or anything like that.