Hornets guard Tony Parker says Spurs didn’t really take potential departure seriously in free agency
Charlotte Hornets point man Tony Parker’s move from the San Antonio Spurs was one of the most shocking moves of this past free agency period, as the lifelong Spur took his talents eastward, joining former assistant, now-head coach James Borrego in Charlotte after negotiations didn’t go as planned.
“They didn’t really take me seriously that I was going to leave,” said Parker, according to Michael C. Wright of ESPN.
The teams will meet for the first time this season, which will bring Parker plenty of memories, hoping to “focus on the great 17 years we had” rather than the reasons that tore them apart.
Parker has been a strong fit as Kemba Walker’s backup, a move he had already made when giving the keys to Dejounte Murray last season in San Antonio.
“He’s got more freedom here at this stage of his career than he probably had in San Antonio,” said Walker.
The front office has had to make adjustments after losing three of their main players in Parker, Manu Ginobili (retirement), and Kawhi Leonard (via trade). Yet Parker’s constant leadership is one loss that stings to this day.
“I think it’s more difficult not having him with us every day than it was to see him make a decision he felt was right for him,” said general manager R.C. Buford. “And I think all of us respected him too much to not honor his goals. We miss Tony because it’s the first time in many years he hasn’t been a big influence in our program. You don’t lose those kinds of influences without them having an impact.”
Tony Parker is likely to finish his career in Charlotte, but also sure to get a commemorative jersey retirement in San Antonio once he decides to hang them up. Despite not being taken as seriously as he would’ve liked, Parker stands by his choice to leave.
“But I’m not the type of guy who regrets. I will always love the Spurs,” said Parker. “I have no grudges.”