Cavs’ Anthony Parker Mulling Retirement
Anthony Parker Considering Retirement: Father Time is one entity that has remained undefeated throughout the entire history of professional sports, sapping the athletic prowess of players in their primes and relegating once solid performers into old men right before our eyes – year in and year out.
There are no exceptions.
Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Anthony Parker knows the clock is winding down on his career on the court and admits the rigors he’s endured during the course of the condensed season due to the lockout has been tough.
Seeing the recent retirements of guys like guard T.J. Ford and center Jeff Foster this season has given Parker time to reflect on how much gas he actually has left in the tank.
“Well especially in a season like this where there are so many games crammed together it definitely doesn’t bode well for guys who already have a lot of miles on their bodies,” Parker told HOOPSWORLD about the impact of getting older in a young man’s game. “[Retirement] is something I’m not going to make a decision on now because I’m in the middle of the season and it’s such a grind mentally and physically. But once I get out of the season, you know, I kind of take it season by season and I’ll make the determination then.”
Parker will turn 37 in June, which is ancient by NBA standards for shooting guards, but he has consistently demonstrated this season that he still has some pop left to his game – notching 31 starts for the rebuilding Cavs.
If Parker does decide to lace the high tops for one more season, he’ll enter this summer as an unrestricted free agent free to join a contending team and chase an elusive championship ring before his career concludes.
The nine year veteran readily admits, as a competitor, the thought of joining an already established team set for title contention is intriguing but also wouldn’t rule out a return to the Cavs, who are currently just 4.5 games behind the New York Knicks for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff seed with 22 games to go in the season.
“As an athlete you want to compete,” Parker said about the possibility of joining a title contender. “As a competitor you want to win. That’s what we play this sport for, but there are other factors as well. I love the culture of this team and I love the people they’re bringing to the team. I think this team has a bright future and I’ve grown close with some of the guys on the team.”
Whatever the future holds for Parker, who was also a free agent after last season, he fully plans to evaluate all of his options at season’s end.
“It’s one of those things that once [free agency] happens, similar to last year, you kind of survey everything, see all of the offers on the table and then you make your decision,” Parker said. “I made the decision to come back to Cleveland (last year) and who knows what’s going to happen next year.”
Whether Parker’s plans are coming back in a mentoring role for the young Cavs, knocking down jumpers for a title contender or riding off in the sunset to begin retirement remains to be seen.
Alonzo Gee, One Of Cleveland’s Core Building Blocks: The Cleveland Cavaliers have surprised most experts this season and are actually in contention for a playoff berth as we enter the home stretch.
Of course rookie of the year frontrunner Kyrie Irving and veteran Antawn Jamison are deserving of a lot of the credit that goes along with the Cavs’ surprising play.
But behind them, third year wing Alonzo Gee has been just as important to Cleveland’s cause, earning a spot in the team’s starting lineup and he must undoubtedly be mentioned as one of the league’s greater success stories this season.
Gee will be a restricted free agent this summer and is expected to receive plenty of interest around the league but last week, according to Tom Reed of the Plain Dealer, Cavs general manager Chris Grant called Gee one of the team’s building blocks of the future. Since being named a starter he’s posted averages of 13.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2 steals per game.
Cavs head coach Byron Scott can’t say enough how pleased he is with Gee’s development this year.
“I think he should first call his agent and have him call (general manager) Chris Grant right now since he put him in that category of one of our building blocks … so he can get a new contract,” Scott joked before Wednesday’s contest against Atlanta. “I just think it shows how highly we think of him and his progress from day one to now and since we’ve had him here how much he’s improved. He’s still relatively young and he hasn’t hit his ceiling. He still has a ways to go and he can keep getting better … especially with the work he puts in.”
The work ethic Gee has displayed hasn’t been lost on his teammates either.
“I think Alonzo is just an example of a guy who has worked hard and has done the right things to get in the position to show what he can do,” guard Anthony Parker told HOOPSWORLD. “All of these things that we’re now seeing, he already had the capability of doing but is just getting the opportunity and being in the right situation in order to show you that he can do it. He’s certainly taken advantage of that.”
Gee attributes the career year he’s having to being with the Cavs for the equivalent of a full normalized NBA season (82 games).
Gee has now played in 84 contests for the Cavs since signing with the team in December 2010.
“It’s been a full season for me,” Gee told HOOPSWORLD. “I know my teammates a lot better and I’ve learned coach Scott’s system, so it’s a lot easier for me this year than it was last year.”
When asked how he felt about Grant’s recent comments, Gee was thankful of the praise but ultimately said he needs to keep improving and focus solely on a Cavs playoff run.
“I just have to keep working,” Gee said. “I’m just focusing on this season. Right now we’re trying to make the playoffs and whatever happens at the end of the year will happen.”
The Cavs are hoping they retain the services of Gee over the long term, especially coach Scott.
“He’s been great,” Scott said proudly. “He’s very coachable. He’s a hardworking guy. Anything you tell [Alonzo] to do he goes out there and tries to apply it. We’re just very proud of him. I know I am, because every time I’ve talked to him about improving on certain things he goes out there and applies it. He really does. I am just thrilled to death the kid has gotten so much better. It’s fun to be around.”