Friday afternoon Charlotte Hornets forward Nicolas Batum tweeted the following:
Number 9, I see you soon in Buzz City my big bro… ??x??
— Nicolas Batum (@nicolas88batum) July 6, 2018
A few minutes later, multiple media outlets confirmed Parker will be signing a two year deal with Charlotte for $10 million.
Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich released the following statement after the Parker departure news broke:
“It’s difficult to put into words how important Tony Parker has been to the Spurs franchise over the past two decades. From his first game in 2001 at age 19, TP has impressed and inspired us – day-after-day, game-after-game, season-after-season – with his passion, dedication and desire. We are grateful to Tony for 17 years of truly amazing memories. While the four championships, six All-Star appearances and four All-NBA selections highlight his resume, the biggest joy for me has been to have the pleasure of watching TP grow up before our eyes. All of us in the Spurs organization will miss having Tony in our program and wish him and his family the best as he continues his remarkable career in Charlotte.”
The Hornets will be using part of their $8.6 million mid-level exception to sign Parker. The Spurs had Parker’s bird rights but it’s unknown if they were willing to match the type of deal Charlotte had on the table.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Spurs did want Parker back, but Parker liked the idea of Charlotte because there was more of a secure backup point guard role behind Kemba Walker.
With Dejounte Murray, Patty Mills, and Derrick White already on the Spurs’ roster, Parker would have likely just had a mentorship role next season in San Antonio.
Parker will have familiarity in Charlotte with fellow countryman Batum and former Spurs assistant coach James Borrego, who is now the Head Coach in Charlotte.
At 36, Parker has played in 17 professional seasons and has been on the record saying he wants to play 20 seasons in the NBA.
Parker made six All-Star teams as a Spur, won four championships, and was the NBA Finals MVP in 2007.