Four-time NBA champion Tony Parker is leaving the San Antonio Spurs after 17 seasons, the French guard agreeing to a two-year deal with Charlotte worth $10 million according to multiple reports Friday.
The Charlotte Observer, San Antonio Express-News and ESPN reported the deal, each citing unnamed NBA sources, to signal the 36-year-old playmaker’s iconic era with the Spurs had ended.
Since being selected with the 28th overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Spurs, Parker had been a standout and leader for San Antonio, helping spark the Spurs to NBA crowns in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014. The six-time NBA All-Star was named NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in 2007.
Parker called Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to inform him of his decision to leave, ESPN reported, saying the Spurs wanted him back but that he would have a greater role with Charlotte behind Kemba Walker.
Joining Charlotte will unite Parker with a friend and countryman in swingman Nicolas Batum, and new Hornets coach James Borrego is a former Spurs assistant.
“Number 9, I see you soon in Buzz City my big bro…” Batum tweeted with two French flags.
Parker, who helped France win the 2013 EuroBasket title, played a career-low 19.5 minutes a game last season for the Spurs with a career-low 21 starts and career-low 55 appearances as the Spurs began developing young point guard Dejounte Murray.
The Hornets were seeking an experienced ball-handling guard and made salary room by trading Dwight Howard to Brooklyn.
In 1,198 regular-season games over 17 seasons with the Spurs, Parker averaged 15.8 points, 5.7 assists and 2.8 rebounds a game. (AFP) Photo by Keith Allison