San Antonio Spurs Free Agency

San Antonio Spurs: As Kawhi Leonard rumors persist, Tony Parker still sits

By Rob Wolkenbrod
SAN ANTONIO,TX - JANUARY 21 : Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs drives against the Indiana Pacers at AT&T Center on January 21, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO,TX - JANUARY 21 : Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs drives against the Indiana Pacers at AT&T Center on January 21, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images) /
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Amidst the Kawhi Leonard rumors, the San Antonio Spurs still have Tony Parker to address.

With the events of the 2018 offseason, or the moments that have been rumored and yet to occur, it’s easy to lose track of what else the San Antonio Spurs must do this summer. That includes taking care of three restricted free agents and one unrestricted, Tony Parker.

Parker hit free agency, and after 17 years, it’s uncertain if he will return to San Antonio. His desire to stay remains, but he seemed open to finding a new team if necessary.

On Tuesday night, ESPN’s Michael C. Wright reported, Parker’s people are looking for a deal, while the Spurs want him back in a mentorship role. However, it depends on the contract numbers for both sides.

Oh yeah, Tony Parker is out there too as a FA. His people are out shopping for a deal, I’m told. Spurs would still like him back in a mentorship role if the numbers work for both sides.

— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) July 4, 2018

Other teams indeed want Parker, as the Charlotte Hornets and Denver Nuggets expressed interest, according to L’Equipe (h/t Project Spurs).

If Parker goes to the Nuggets, he can back up Jamaal Murray and act as a veteran backup and mentor. Not quite as much in Charlotte, but enough to provide a veteran presence behind Kemba Walker.

If it’s the Spurs, Parker falls into the Manu Ginobili loyalty role off the bench. He should still see enough time to remain productive, but only as the eighth or ninth man. Factor in the young guards, Derrick White and Lonnie Walker, as well, who need their own on-court time.

Parker took a step back in the 2017-18 season, when he returned from a torn quadriceps. He played as a starter, but head coach Gregg Popovich opted for Dejounte Murray as the starting point guard for the second half of the season.

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Through 55 games and 21 starts, Parker averaged 7.7 points and 3.5 assists in 19.5 minutes; all three were career-lows, at 35 years old. His numbers declined each year after the 2012-13 season, so this may be the final go-around, especially if his production continues to dip.

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