It’s an end of an era. After 17 years with the San Antonio Spurs, Tony Parker is moving on. Parker has agreed to a two-year, $10 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets. Spurs wanted to keep the 36-year-old but in a reduced role. Hornets, on the other side, offered Parker more significant role as Kemba Walker’s primary back-up.
“Tough decision. Tough three days. Tough communicating it all to Pop,” – Parker told The Undefeated. “But I had to move on. It was a very emotional conversation with Pop and [Spurs general manager] R.C. Buford. I will always love San Antonio. I will always be a Spur. My family and house are in San Antonio. But I’m excited to play for my idol in M.J. [Hornets owner Michael Jordan], coach J.B. [James Borrego], who I played for in San Antonio, and with my little brother Nicolas Batum.“
Tony Parker’s production slipped in the past season, as he struggled with injuries and was relegated to the bench. He had posted career-lows in almost all statistical categories, averaging 7.7 points, 3.5 assists, and 1.7 rebounds per game. Taking this into consideration, alongside his age, Spurs wanted to give their young point guards more room to grow, and keep Parker in a mentorship role. Still, Parker obviously feels like he has much more to give, and is now on a mission to bring back the Hornets to playoffs.
San Antonio Spurs drafted Tony Parker as the 28th pick in the 2001 NBA Draft after he impressed coach Gregg Popovich during the team’s pre-draft summer camp. Parker became Spurs’ starting point guard during his rookie campaign and never looked back. During his 17 seasons with the team, Parker won four NBA titles while also collecting numerous individual honors.
“It’s difficult to put into words how important Tony Parker has been to the Spurs franchise over the past two decades,” – said Popovich in a statement. “From his first game in 2001 at age 19, TP has impressed and inspired us — day after day, game after game, season after season — with his passion, dedication, and desire. We are grateful to Tony for 17 years of truly amazing memories.“