It’s been a difficult year for San Antonio Spurs legend Tony Parker. In the playoffs last season, Parker suffered a torn quad that lingered throughout the summer and caused him to miss the first 26 games this season. When Parker finally returned to the Spurs, it didn’t take long to realize that he just wasn’t the same Tony Parker anymore.
While the severity of his torn quad will take some responsibility for Parker’s decline, we’re talking about a 35-year old point guard that spent year after year making deep playoff runs for one of the most successful franchises in sports. By any NBA standard, 35 is old. And at this point Parker is an old 35.
To everyone’s credit, Gregg Popovich and the Spurs organization identified what was best for the team early, electing to start 21-year-old point guard Dejounte Murray and in turn, push Parker to the bench. Considering Parker’s legacy with the Spurs, it’s an uncomfortable and difficult decision, but one all parties handled with the kind of class you’d expect from the Spurs.
Parker, Popovich, and the Spurs are saying all the right things here, but with Parker entering unrestricted free agency this summer, it’d be easy to speculate that he might want to go somewhere that would allow him to compete for a starting job. He has made no indications that retirement is imminent. He wants to play.
Jabari Young of the Express-News caught up with Parker on Thursday to talk about his upcoming free agency, and he made one thing clear; he’s a Spurs lifer. This is where he wants to be.
“I want to stay,” Parker told the Express-News. “My priority is to stay here. I want to stay here for sure.”
Young also confirmed that Parker wants to play for a few more seasons, while Parker noted that whether or not he stays in San Antonio is entirely up to Gregg Popovich but, again, his “priority is to stay with the Spurs.”