JUNE 30TH: Parker has become president of Asvel Villeurbanne, the team announced (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). Carchia confirms that this means he’s now the majority owner of the team (Twitter link). Former NBA players Michael Finley and Corey Maggette will become minority owners, Parker said as part of the team’s release.
MARCH 21ST: Tony Parker will purchase a controlling interest in Asvel Villeurbanne, the French team that he’s owned in part since 2009, as Le Progres reports on its website (hat tip to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando; translation via Jeff Garcia of Project Spurs). Parker said he plans to play five or six more seasons in the NBA and round out his playing career by suiting up for his own team.
Parker’s contract with San Antonio runs through next season, though only $3.5MM of his $12.5MM salary in 2014/15 is guaranteed. The Spurs will almost certainly retain him and pay out his full salary next season, making him a part of a marquee free agent class in the summer of 2015, when he’ll be 33 years old. Parker’s timeline would have him leaving the NBA when he’s 37 or 38.
Parker is a native of Belgium, but he identifies as a French national, having played in France prior to his arrival in San Antonio for the 2001/02 season. The Spurs also have French native Boris Diaw on their roster, and they employed Nando De Colo, another French native, until they traded him to Toronto at the deadline. The Spurs have a greater number of players from overseas than any other NBA team, and they’ve long been innovators in mining the international market for talent.
The Spurs took Asvel Villeurbanne’s Livio Jean-Charles with the 28th pick in the draft last summer, although San Antonio has yet to sign him. I wouldn’t be surprised if San Antonio envisions using its partnership with Parker to funnel more prospects through Asvel Villeurbanne and utilize the team as though it were an international farm club of sorts, though that’s just my speculation. Parker’s plan to buy the French team could also draw scrutiny from the NBA, which may see it as a conflict of interest or an arrangement that could give the Spurs an unfair competitive advantage.