Tony Parker agrees to two-year contract with Hornets
SAN ANTONIO - It's the end of an era for the San Antonio Spurs.
Tony Parker, 36, has reportedly agreed to a two-year, $10 million contract with the Charlotte Hornets. Parker spent the past 17 seasons with San Antonio.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Parker called Gregg Popovich in the last hour to let him know he was accepting the offer from the Hornets. San Antonio wanted Parker back, Wojnarowski said, but he accepted the contract to earn a bigger role with a Charlotte team that finished 36-46 last season.
Parker will join French teammate Nicolas Batum and Hornets head coach James Borrego, who spent time as a Spurs assistant coach before agreeing to terms with Charlotte this offseason.
The deal was more than he would likely have received in San Antonio had he stayed.
"It was unbelievable," Parker told ESPN's Marc Spears. "I feel very blessed to have played with Timmy, Manu and coach Pop. Amazing journey. It was a great run. I went to five Finals. It was great fun."
Parker was selected by San Antonio in the first round of the 2001 NBA Draft, 28th overall pick. He finished his 17-year tenure with the Spurs ranking first in assists (6,829), second in wins (999), fourth in points (18,943), fifth in steals (1,032), eighth in rebounds (3,313) and eighth in 3-pointers (506). He made six All-Star teams and four All-NBA teams while starting as the team's point guard.
The four-time NBA champion averaged 24.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists in the Spurs' four-game sweep against the Cleveland Cavaliers to earn the 2007 NBA Finals MVP.
"It's difficult to put into words how important Tony Parker has been to the Spurs franchise over the past two decades," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. 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."
Last season, Parker saw Dejounte Murray move into the starting point guard spot and humbly took a role off the bench as Murray's backup. He saw action in 55 games, averaging 7.7 points, 3.6 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 19.5 minutes for San Antonio last season. This includes a season-high 23 points versus Memphis.
This summer, he made it clear he would like to finish his career in San Antonio but was open to playing for another team.
I am open to all proposals, I would like to have my entire career in San Antonio.
The sport is a business and we will have to make choices. I had 17 years with the Spurs, I would always be nostalgic but this is not the end of the world if I change my club. I figure two to three years more, if I go somewhere else, I'm 50-50. I do not see myself outside basketball yet I want to stay three more years to do the 20 seasons."
Parker was part of 137 playoff wins with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, the second most by any coach and player in NBA history. Popovich and Spurs legend Tim Duncan combined for 157 playoff wins. Parker has also appeared in 17 consecutive postseasons; only Karl Malone and John Stockton's run of 19 straight playoff trips are longer.