Veteran point guard Tony Parker recently spoke to French publication L’Expresso about his decision to leave the San Antonio Spurs.
As reported by NBC News 4 San Antonio, Parker departed to Charlotte for more playing time as opposed to a contractual dispute. Spurs Zone writer Jeff Garcia translated the interview to the English to help offer context for Parker’s decision.
“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. For me, I feel like closing the loop, to finish my career in his club, it’s something special for me because it’s him that made me want to play basketball.”
As third-year point guard Dejounte Murray steps into his first full season as a Spur, the minutes remaining for Parker diminished. Parker, one of the greatest competitors of the last two decades, isn’t quite ready to step into a bench role. Charlotte offered the 36-year-old the opportunity to play significant minutes with some familiar faces.
Parker has the chance to play under head coach James Borrego, who spent 10 years in San Antonio and is highly regarded as one of the best products from the Gregg Popovich coaching tree. He’ll also have the opportunity to pair up with his longtime friend and French National Team running mate Nicolas Batum for the first time in their professional careers.
Splitting up is a mutually beneficial move, as Parker can play the minutes he seeks while Popovich can spread his minutes across the point guard rotation.
While reports arose earlier in the week that Parker would retire a Spur, his comments were apparently misconstrued. He doesn’t plan to return to San Antonio to play but anticipates his jersey hanging from the rafters when he finally decides to step away from the game.