Earlier today, something I thought I would never see happened. Tony Parker left the Spurs and signed with a new team. Tony Parker agreed to a two-year,$10 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets.
The San Antonio Spurs drafted Tony Parker in 2001. He was the 28th pick of a draft where Kwame Brown was the first pick of that year’s draft (think about that for a bit). In his first season,Parker averaged 9.2 points per game. This was his second lowest career average only behind his season this year. He averaged 7.7 points per game He played 55 games and started in 21 of them. A quad injury prevented Parker from playing a full season. Now, his seventeen year stint with the Spurs is coming to an end.
The Spurs intended to bring Parker back, but more so as a mentor to young players such as Dejounte Murray. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Parker called his former head coach Gregg Popovich (of the San Antonio Spurs) and informed him of his decision. Parker is joining the Hornets in a back-up role behind Kemba Walker.
Tony Parker leaving the Spurs signifies the inevitable end of the Spurs as we know them. Tim Duncan retired in 2016. Manu Ginóbili turns 41 later this month, and Tony Parker (who is 36) is going to a new team. The future of Kawhi Leonard, their “future franchise” player, is in the air.
Leonard could potentially go to L.A, be it the Clippers or Lakers. If Kawhi Leonard is traded to another team, the Spurs find themselves in a difficult place. They have an elite coach Gregg Popovich, but it may not be enough. The Spurs will either be a low playoff seed (such as the 7th seed) or not a playoff team at all. In the “new” Western, they’ll be competing with teams such as Warriors or Lakers. They could miss the playoffs for the first time since 1996.
Tony Parker leaving the Spurs is shocking, but all good things come to an end. Parker won a four championships and was a six-time NBA All-Star with the Spurs. Perhaps it was time for both sides to part.