Tony Parker shocked the NBA world this summer when he signed a two-year, $10 million free agent deal with the Charlotte Hornets, ending his storied run with the San Antonio Spurs.
Many surmised the main reason Parker left the Spurs to sign with the Hornets was because Charlotte offered the veteran point guard more money. Turns out, that wasn’t the case.
In an interview with French outlet L’Expresso, Parker says the Spurs offered him the same deal the Hornets did, but that Charlotte was giving him a bigger role and that’s why he chose to sign with them.
“The Spurs offered me the same thing (contractually) as Charlotte, but it was more about the role,” Parker said. “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. I wanted to play.”
Parker appeared in 55 games last season with the Spurs and averaged 7.7 points, 1.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists, shooting 45.9 percent from the field and 27.0 percent from three. He missed the early part of the year recovering from a serious quad injury.
The future Hall of Famer also mentioned the chance of playing for his childhood idol, Hornets owner and Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan, was something he couldn’t pass up.
“When Michael Jordan called me, my idol, I thought let’s go,” Parker said. “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.”
Parker will have his jersey retired in San Antonio one day. In 1,198 games with the Spurs, Parker averaged 15.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists. He’s a six-time All-Star and was named the 2007 Finals MVP.