After 17 years of working together, four-time NBA champion Tony Parker decided to part ways with the San Antonio Spurs this summer. In the recent free agency, the 36-year-old point guard agreed to sign a two-year, $10 million contract with the Charlotte Hornets. Most Spurs fans are shocked with Parker’s departure, especially for those people who are expecting him to retire in San Antonio.
Some fans expressed their frustration when rumors started to circulate that the Spurs low-balled Tony Parker which forced him to entertain offers from other NBA teams. In a recent interview with French outlet L’Expresso (h/t NBC News 4 in San Antonio), Parker decided to speak up and said that the Spurs offered a similar contract as the Hornets.
Parker revealed that his recent free agency decision was not about the money but more about his role on the team. If he re-signed with the Spurs, Parker is only expected to serve as a mentor to young point guard Dejounte Murray. In Charlotte, Parker will be the primary backup for Hornets superstar Kemba Walker.
Also, a call from NBA legend Michael Jordan, who is the majority owner of the Hornets, further convinced Parker to leave San Antonio for Charlotte. Parker admitted that Jordan was one of the major reasons why he decided to play basketball.
“The Spurs offered me the same thing (contractually) as Charlotte, but it was more about the role. It was not a question of money. And it’s important that people know this, because there are a lot of people who were “angry” at the Spurs, thinking the franchise had not offered me anything. Yes, they offered me something similar, but I did not want to finish (as an) assistant-coach. And that was the role they offered me, when I wanted to play. And when Michael Jordan called me, my idol, I thought, let’s go.”
Tony Parker: Spurs offered the same contract as Hornets but I didn't want to finish assistant coach https://t.co/xlGas49488— Sportando (@Sportando) September 10, 2018
Tony Parker is still open for the possibility of retiring as a member of the Spurs’ organization. But as of now, he knows he still has lots of things to offer in this game rather than spending the entire season sitting on the bench and mentoring the young players. At 36, no one can deny the fact that Parker is already on the near end of his career.
Still, when given enough playing time, Parker can be a reliable contributor in the Hornets’ second unit. His NBA experience and basketball IQ will greatly help the Hornets in ending their playoff drought in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season.