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Tony Parker departs San Antonio; signs 2-year, $10M deal with Charlotte

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A crazy summer of NBA free agency hit hard the San Antonio Spurs.

As reported by ESPN Analylst Adrian Wojinarowski, long-time guard Tony Parker agrees to a two-year $10 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets, and will be reunited with former Spurs assistant coach James Borrego, who was recently named Charlotte’s head coach.

“Tough decision. Tough three days. Tough communicating it all to Pop,” Parker said in a press release.  “But I had to move on. It was a very emotional conversation with Pop and (Spurs general manager) R.C. Buford. I will always love San Antonio. I will always be a Spur. My family and house are in San Antonio. But I’m excited to play for my idol in M.J. (Hornets owner Michael Jordan), coach J.B. (James Borrego), who I played for in San Antonio, and with my little brother Nicolas Batum.”

Parker played 17 years (2001-2018) with the Spurs averaging 15.8 points and 5.7 assists and helping lead San Antonio to win four of the five the franchise’s NBA titles. Adding to the 36 year-old’s lengthy career accomplishments, he was also the 2007 Finals MVP, a six-time All-Star, is the No. 4 all-time scorer in franchise history and San Antonio’s career assists leader.

“It’s difficult to put into words how important Tony Parker has been to the Spurs franchise over the past two decades,” San Antonio’s head coach Gregg Popvich said in a statement. “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.”

How does Parker’s move impact the Spurs?

Parker was drafted as the No. 28 overall pick for the Spurs at the start of his career in 2001, and has grown to be a face of the San Antonio’s franchise. He is the second pillar of the iconic Spurs Big Three to leave the Spurs after Tim Duncan’s retirement in 2016, truly marking the end of a Spurs era. Only Manu Ginóbili of the trio remains on San Antonio’s roster.

Last season Parker returned from a quad injury to play 55 total games, averaging a career low of 7.7 points and 3.5 assists in 19.5 minutes per game while shooting 45.9% from the field, 27% from deep, and 70.5% the free throw line.

For the first time in his career, Parker was playing mostly off of the bench and was not creating as large of an impact on the team stats. His veteran presence was seen in the locker-room, but as Parker teeters towards the later side of his career, this leaves San Antonio a chance to give other guards a chance to set up and prove themselves.

What does this mean for the Hornets?

What is San Antonio’s loss is Charlotte’s gain. The veteran presence that Parker has could provide the Hornets with a new leader in the locker-room with championship experience. While Parker may not be starting in Charlotte, he provides a quality back-up option to Kemba Walker, adding depth to the Hornets’ roster.

With LeBron James out of the Eastern Conference after signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, depth is something that all of the Eastern conference can use in order to try to get themselves an easier ride to the NBA Finals. Adding Parker to Charlotte’s roster certainly gives the Hornets options for the guard position as the season progresses.

As the remainder of NBA free agency unfolds, time will tell how this decision will play out for both teams and how they could potentially rank in the Eastern Conference this upcoming season.

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