After 17 years of working together, Tony Parker decided to part ways with the San Antonio Spurs this offseason. In the recent free agency, the Spurs expressed their desire to bring Parker back to their roster but only to serve as a mentor to their young point guard, Dejounte Murray. The 36-year-old point guard believes he still has something left in his tank which made him decide to seek a bigger role with another team.
Three weeks after the 2018 NBA free agency started, Tony Parker left the Spurs and joined the Charlotte Hornets on a two-year contract worth $10 million to serve as their primary back up for Kemba Walker. Despite their saddening breakup, Parker felt no ill will against the organization that gave him the opportunity to showcase his talent in the NBA.
In the essay he wrote on The Player’s Tribune, Tony Parker thanked Tim Duncan, Coach Gregg Popovich, and other members of the Spurs’ organization. Now that he is no longer in San Antonio, the Spurs are expected to be more focused on developing Dejounte Murray as their official starting point guard. In the second half of the 2017-18 NBA season, the Spurs were already making preparations to start a new era at point guard where Murray replaced Parker in the starting lineup.
In his essay, Parker revealed that he approached Coach Gregg Popovich about coming off the bench and gave the starting role to Dejounte Murray. Popovich thanked the veteran point guard for his sacrifice and for doing what he thinks is best for the team.
“I came up to Pop one day, and I told him my thoughts: It was time for Dejounte to take over full-time as our starting point guard,” Parker said. “I didn’t want it to be a dramatic thing, or this ego thing, or one of these big media things, but I just wanted to get it out in the open — for the good of Dejounte’s development, and for the good of the team. Pop agreed and thanked me. And then I went and had the same conversation with Dejounte. He was grateful.”
Tony Parker calls Tim Duncan 'the most coachable great player of all time' in thank you letter to… https://t.co/yt8M6QK4nz
— Ernest Urquiza (@texano1962) August 6, 2018
Dejounte Murray is still from becoming a point guard of Tony Parker’s caliber. But since being selected 29th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the 21-year-old point guard has shown the potential to become a superstar in the league. With his playing time set to increase next season, Murray is expected to establish a massive improvement on both ends of the floor. Parker may no longer be in San Antonio to mentor Murray, but he will surely want to see the Spurs succeed in the hands of his successor.