Tony Parker

Southwest Notes: Paul, Parker, Grizzlies, Mavs

Heading into last summer’s free agent period, it looked as if Chris Paul was poised to opt out of his contract and sign a new max deal. When he picked up his player option instead as part of a trade to Houston, there was a belief that CP3 and the Rockets had an understanding about what his next contract would look like. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski suggested as much during a recent podcast, as Shane Mickle of notes.

“When the Rockets made that deal for Chris Paul, knowing they would re-sign him, they made a conscious decision that they were going to have to live with [a] $46-47MM salary when he’s not nearly the player anymore in his late 30s, but, ‘We’re going to make a run at it now, we want to win a championship now. We’ll deal with it [Paul’s contract] later,'” Wojnarowski said, according to Mickle.

“We’ll see how that plays out in their contract talks [with Paul] here in free agency,” Wojnarowski continued. “Chris Paul didn’t turn down $200MM from the Clippers because he thought that somehow the Rockets were gonna talk him into saving them luxury tax money. I don’t imagine it playing out that way.”

While it sounds like Wojnarowski expects Paul to look to maximize his earnings, the Rockets are headed way into tax territory if both CP3 and Clint Capela sign lucrative new deals. It will be interesting to see whether GM Daryl Morey and the Houston front office can convince the veteran point guard to take any sort of discount in order to help accommodate other roster reinforcements.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • It’s hard to imagine Tony Parker playing anywhere besides San Antonio, but the Spurs point guard will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, prompting Frank Urbina of HoopsHype to explore a few potential landing spots.
  • Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal identifies five prospects the Grizzlies could consider with the No. 32 overall pick as they look to replicate the success of last year’s Dillon Brooks selection.
  • Appearing on ESPN Radio 103.3 FM in Dallas, Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki talked about his recovery from ankle surgery and the team’s No. 5 overall pick, as The Dallas Morning News relays. “You’re not going to carry a team on your back and carry them to the playoffs at age 19,” Nowitzki said of the Mavs’ incoming rookie. “When you draft somebody that young, you’re looking for somebody who’s obviously already good and can contribute a bit. But you draft for upside when somebody’s 19. So we’ll see what’s there.”
  • While the Mavericks are unlikely to land a superstar free agent this July, there are a number of second-tier targets that are more realistic. Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News lists five of them, including restricted free agents Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon.

Tony Parker Eyes 20 Seasons, Not Married To Spurs

Tony Parker, who will hit unrestricted free agency in July, has a goal of playing 20 seasons in the league and he’ll look to check that accomplishment off his list regardless of whether or not he spends the rest of his career with the Spurs.

“It is not yet sure that I’ll stay with the Spurs,” Parker said (via Michael C. Wright of “I am open to all proposals. I would like to make my entire career in San Antonio. The sport remains a business, and we will have to make choices. “

Parker previously indicated that he’s alright with coming off the bench for the Spurs should he return to the team. He was the starter for nearly all of his 17-year tenure in San Antonio before Dejounte Murray took over the gig to begin the 2018 calendar year.

The veteran only suited up for 55 games this past season, posting career-worst marks in points (7.7) and assists (3.5) per game. Part of the decline can be attributed to age and part of it may be health. Parker tore his quadriceps tendon during the 2016/17 and Wright notes that it typically takes two years to recover from that kind of ailment.

“I’m almost back to 100 percent,” Parker said. “There are ups and downs, times when we’re not feeling well. It takes time, and this summer it’s going to be important to do some rehabilitation. We’re always better the second season.”

The veteran point guard made $15.4MM this past season, though it’s unlikely to come anywhere close to that annual figure on his next deal. Spurs GM R.C. Buford told Wright that the team will make a decision on Parker when it comes time too.

“I have been 17 years with the Spurs. I would always be nostalgic, but it’s not the end of the world if I change my club,” Parker said. “I say two or three years more [I can play if] I can go somewhere else, I’m 50-50. I do not see myself outside of basketball yet. I want to stay three more years to do the 20 seasons.”

Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki are the only players in NBA history to play at least 20 seasons with one franchise.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2018: San Antonio Spurs

The fate of the Spurs is in the hands of Kawhi Leonard and it’s hard to get a clear read on his current relationship with the franchise. With Leonard, a savvy veteran core, and a world-class coaching staff, the Spurs are capable of competing in the West. Without him, however, the forecast in San Antonio is considerably more bleak, and that impacts everything, including the club’s pending free agency decisions.

Given the franchise’s track record of stability, I’d posit that Leonard returns at full health next season and this entire debacle gets chalked up to a superstar-level player lacking faith in an organization’s medical staff mandated to prod him back into action as soon as reasonably possible.

While much of the disappointment around the team this year can be traced back to this one isolated case of melodrama, that shouldn’t veil the fact that the Spurs – who’ve been ancient for over a decade now – are looking older than ever. Is a major shakeup right around the bend? That may be the case with or without Leonard eventually, but in 2018/19 at least, we can expect something along the lines of the status quo.

Kyle Anderson, SF, 24 (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $6MM deal in 2014
Like any good Spurs prospect, Anderson slowly marinated in winning culture for three years before taking a leap in the final year of his rookie contract. The versatile forward thrived in the minutes made available by the injury to Leonard and could draw interest as a capable, multifaceted young asset on the open market this summer. San Antonio has some flexibility to match a raise if Anderson’s camp goes out and gets one — the Spurs may have no other choice if they end up needing to consider a full roster reboot anyway.

Davis Bertans, PF, 25 (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $2MM deal in 2016
Although he didn’t play major minutes on a consistent basis for the Spurs in 2017/18, Bertans established himself as a player who could contribute when given an opportunity. The stretch four isn’t likely to command a significant price tag as a restricted free agent, so San Antonio could probably lock him in as an affordable, yet capable rotation piece in an effort to add depth to an aging frontcourt.

Bryn Forbes, SG, 24 (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $2MM deal in 2016
With much of San Antonio’s rotation planted firmly in their late-30s, competent young players that can be locked in to affordable deals are a special commodity. In Forbes, the club has a combo guard capable of instant offense off the bench. The MSU product could generate interest from other teams looking to add fresh legs and a potent long ball, but the Spurs should have enough financial flexibility to match anything within reason.

Rudy Gay, PF, 31 (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $17MM deal in 2017
An Achilles injury forced Gay into signing a short-term “prove-it” deal with the Spurs last summer and the combo forward appears to have done just that. Still, while Gay performed admirably in a reduced role with his new franchise, it’s hard to imagine he’d garner much interest on the open market given his age and relatively underwhelming portfolio as a big investment. Gay looked solid as a supplementary player for the Spurs in 2017/18 and seems to be content. Given that there won’t be a long line of teams interested in overpaying for the 31-year-old in 2018, accepting the $9MM player option for next season may be Gay’s best bet.

Danny Green, SG, 31 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $40MM deal in 2015
While Green’s calling card has become ever more important in today’s NBA, there’s no denying that the three-point specialist benefited from perfect timing the last time he hit free agency. Green could conceivably turn down his 2018/19 player option worth $10MM next season in the hopes of landing a modest raise on a lucrative short-term deal like J.J. Redick did last summer, but the former bit player could also play things safe and continue to enjoy his last haul.

Joffrey Lauvergne, C, 26 (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $3MM deal in 2017
Lauvergne has seen his role decrease as he’s bounced from destination to destination over the last three seasons, but he remains a vaguely intriguing reserve asset despite the fact that he’ll turn 27 before next season. This summer, the big man’s best option to stick around in the league long-term might be to accept his 2018/19 player option and battle his way into a bigger role in San Antonio’s frontcourt. If he does that, he could open more opportunities for himself.

Tony Parker, PG, 36 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $56MM deal in 2014
The Spurs have consistently paid their veteran point guard eight-digit salaries for the past decade and while his place in the upper echelon of franchise history is secure, the organization doesn’t face any pressure to sign him to a bloated lifetime achievement contract as he enters the twilight of his career. Parker handled a demotion to the second unit professionally this year and has previously said that he’d like to play 20 seasons. That said, if indications that the team’s culture is going south are true, there may not be much of a point to keeping the band together.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Spurs Notes: Leonard, Ginobili, Parker, Gasol

A meeting with Kawhi Leonard will be the Spurs’ top priority of the offseason, according to Michael C. Wright of ESPN. Head coach Gregg Popovich is expected to lead the session as the team tries to determine whether it can work through a dispute with its top player and forge a long-term relationship.

An MVP candidate last year, Leonard was limited to nine games this season by a lingering quad injury. He was cleared to return by team doctors, but not by his personal physicians in New York, where he made two extended visits during the season. Rumors persisted of disharmony between Leonard and the organization, and they intensified when he opted not to join the team for its playoff series.

“Kawhi, everybody asks questions, but he’s still here,” Danny Green said after last night’s season-ending loss at Golden State. “He’s still locked in. He’s a part of the team until things change.”

This summer’s meeting will go a long way for the Spurs in deciding whether to offer Leonard a supermax extension valued at about $219MM over five years. Complicating matters, Wright notes, are divorce proceedings between Peter Holt, the team’s former chairman and CEO, and Juliana Hawn Holt, the current chairman and co-CEO, which could affect any major financial decisions for the organization.

Wright offers more news about possible changes coming in San Antonio:

  • Manu Ginobili is signed for $2.5MM next season, but isn’t sure if he’ll return. Ginobili, who will turn 41 in July, plans to make the decision sometime this summer. “As I’ve done it the last two or three seasons, I’ll sit back, relax and, after two or three months, see if I feel retired or not,” he said. “I like to let it season a little bit, to see how I feel. Don’t expect news until July, probably. I just don’t know. I let a month, two months go by and see how I feel. I’m not the type of guy who makes decisions on the fly, and when you are upset, hurt or whatever.”
  • Tony Parker, who turns 36 next month, is headed toward free agency after 17 years with the Spurs. He has expressed a desire to return to the team, but will probably have to accept a significant pay cut after making $15.4MM this season. “I said already I want to keep playing,” Parker stated. “I’m happy I don’t have those retirement parties. I want to keep playing, and we’ll see if it’s in San Antonio. Everybody knows I would love to stay here. But free agency is always crazy, so we’ll see.”
  • Pau Gasol, 37, expressed a desire to play another three to four seasons. He is under contract for $16.8MM next year, with a non-guaranteed $16MM in 2019/20.
  • Green [$10MM for next season], Rudy Gay [$8.8MM] and Joffrey Lauvergne [$1.7MM] all have a June 29 deadline to exercise their player options. “This organization is a big part of me,” Green said, “and I would love to play here again, would love to come back. But things get interesting in free agency.”

Texas Notes: Spurs, Barnes, Finney-Smith, Harrison

Yesterday, Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News relayed that the original narrative about the Spurs‘ players only meeting regarding Kawhi Leonard being tense was not accurate, writing that Leonard even received support from some teammates who urged him not to return until he feels healthy enough to do so.

Today, Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio-Express News seconded his colleague Young’s reporting, with quotes from Spurs’ veterans Danny Green and Tony Parker. Green, who tweeted a strong denial to the alleged tense nature of the meeting, said “(the report) was incorrect, wrong, false. I guess that’s the only way to put it. There was a meeting. That’s probably the only thing that was true in the article. Nobody in (the meeting) was frustrated or took it the wrong way. We were communicating like adults.”

For his part, Parker neither affirmed or denied the original report, essentially telling Spurs’ reporters that what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room. “You should know better that I can’t talk about that. That’s private stuff, locker room stuff. We always talk as a team, but you know we can’t talk about that.”

Interestingly however, Orsborn writes in another, related story that Parker contrasted his quadriceps injury from last season with Leonard’s injury this season in a thought-provoking manner, saying “I’ve been through it. It was a rehab for me for eight months. Same kind of injury, but mine was a hundred times worse, but the same kind of injury. You just stay positive.” Parker also spoke highly about the Spurs’ medical team, while Leonard received a second opinion from outside medical professionals.

Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News also has some news from Dallas:

  • The experiment of Harrison Barnes at power forward is over, and Barnes couldn’t be happier about it. Since the Mavericks returned Barnes to small forward four games ago, he has averaged 24.3 points per game and when asked about the move back, simply said, “I love it.” Barnes goal for the remainder of the season is to continue to work on his playmaking, which makes sense considering Barnes only averages 2.0 assists per game, which doesn’t even crack the top-20 for small forwards.
  • Dorian Finney-Smith is one of a handful or more of Mavericks‘ players who aren’t guaranteed a spot of the Dallas roster next season, with his 2018/19 contract of $1.54MM currently non-guaranteed. But luckily for Finney-Smith and the others, the Mavs’ down year has given them an opportunity to showcase their talents for potential suitors. “It’s tough, losing like this, (but) they’re doing a good job playing hard,” says veteran J.J. Barea. “You never know who’s looking. They’re getting opportunities to play, to show themselves to everybody, to get better at what they do.”
  • Faced with a glut of big men on their roster, the Mavericks signed former Kentucky stand-out Aaron Harrison to a 10-day contract yesterday, electing to let Jameel Warney return to the G League. Whereas Warney clogged an already crowded position, Harrison is now only the second healthy player on the team’s entire roster who could reasonably be classified as a shooting guard.

Spurs Held Players-Only Meeting To Discuss Kawhi Leonard’s Status

11:37am: Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News provides a few more details on the Spurs’ players-only meeting, writing that Leonard’s veteran teammates wanted to know if he planned to play this season, and whether he’d return in time to help them with their playoff push. Leonard was “caught off guard by the meeting” but “stood his ground,” writes Young, adding (via Twitter) that the conversation wasn’t “tense,” as ESPN’s report suggested.

According to Young, Leonard received support from some teammates, who urged him not to return until he feels healthy enough to do so. The meeting, which lasted for about five or 10 minutes, ended without a clear update or timeline on Leonard’s status, Young notes.

For what it’s worth, Danny Green tweeted a response to Wojnarowski’s story, saying that it “couldn’t be any more incorrect.” My guess is that Green is pushing back specifically against the idea that the Spurs are pressuring Leonard to return.

11:21am: The Spurs held a players-only meeting following Saturday’s win over Minnesota in an effort to implore Kawhi Leonard to return to the lineup, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

According to Wojnarowski, veteran guard Tony Parker “quarterbacked” the meeting, which saw several Spurs players expressing frustration and confusion over an apparent divide between Leonard and the team that has generated tension within the organization. Wojnarowski adds that Saturday’s conversation was described as “tense and emotional at times” by league sources.

Leonard, who has missed all but nine games this season due to a quadriceps injury, was reportedly cleared by team doctors to return from that injury, Wojnarowski reported a month ago. However, the star forward has not felt comfortable enough from a health standpoint to play, and hasn’t received medical clearance from his own doctors. According to Wojnarowski, Leonard remained “resolute” during Saturday’s meeting, insisting that he had good reason to remain sidelined.

League sources tell Wojnarowski that Leonard has impressed teammates and coaches in 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 workouts as of late, and there was a belief that he’d be able to return sometime in mid-March. According to Woj, Leonard has targeted games within the last week as possible return dates, but ultimately hasn’t felt confident enough in his health to play.

The Leonard situation has been one of the most bizarre storylines of the NBA season, with whispers of tension between the Spurs and their star player plaguing the typically stable franchise for much of the year. Reports have suggested that both sides still anticipate a long-term union – Leonard will be eligible for a long-term extension this offseason – but that no longer appears to be the lock it once was.

Spurs players, including Manu Ginobili, told reporters on Wednesday that they need to move forward as if Leonard won’t play again this season.

Texas Notes: Nowitzki, Cuban, Parker, J. Johnson

The workplace misconduct scandal surrounding the Mavericks hasn’t changed Dirk Nowitzki‘s plans to play another season, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. As the organization prepares for an independent investigation, Nowitzki said Friday that he still expects to return for a 21st season.

“I signed up last summer for two years,” he told reporters. “I would love to play next year again. But we’ll kind of see how the rest of the season plays out and how I feel in the summer. But as of now, I want to play again next year. I feel OK. I only missed one game. So the body is holding up OK. I only missed one game and that one I could have played, too. Obviously, I didn’t have any major, major issues.” 

There’s more new tonight out of Texas:

  • Of the possible penalties facing owner Mark Cuban in the wake of the workplace scandal, the NBA isn’t likely to take away the franchise, Sefko adds. That happened to Donald Sterling, who was forced to sell the Clippers in 2014 after several of his racially charged statements became public. Sefko believes it’s more likely Cuban will be suspended or draft picks will be forfeited.
  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich tells Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News that he likes the way veteran point guard Tony Parker has adapted to a reserve role since Dejounte Murray was named the starter last month. Now 35 and in the final year of his contract, Parker has adopted a new routine to keep him ready to come off the bench. “Tony has handled it fantastically well,” Popovich said. “He’s been a really mature, high-character guy. He understands what’s best for a basketball team.”
  • Joe Johnson will continue to get playing time in a crowded Rockets rotation, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Johnson logged 22 minutes Friday night in his second game since joining the team and is making a quick impression. “Joe Johnson played really well,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He’s getting more comfortable, especially in the second half. I’ve known Joe forever and he’s a machine. He just keeps playing, doesn’t get tired, he’s strong, and just really understands his game. If you watch it, he’s really good.” The addition of Johnson may mean a lighter workload for Trevor Ariza, Feigen adds in a separate story. Ariza, who had been averaging 34.8 minutes per night, returned to the lineup Friday after missing nine games with a strained hamstring.

Southwest Notes: Parker, Pelicans, Conley

Recently relegated reserve guard Tony Parker will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, but the veteran is eager to remain with the Spurs if they’ll have him, Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express News writes.

My priority is to stay here. I want to stay here for sure,” Parker said before pausing and adding that it’s ultimately Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich‘s decision.

In 28 games for the Spurs this season, Parker has averaged 8.1 points and 3.9 assists. Recently, however, Parker has ceded his starting role to 21-year-old Dejounte Murray. As a starter, Parker averaged 23.8 minutes per game. In seven games off the bench, that’s dropped to 17.4 and his other stat totals have predictably dropped too.

As Young writes, when Parker’s three-year, $43MM deal expires, the 35-year-old could attract the attention of other teams potentially looking to add veteran support. In 2016, the Sixers made a hefty offer to Manu Ginobili.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Veteran Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley made the decision to undergo season-ending heel surgery to correct an issue that he’s been struggling with for some time now, Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. “I’ve had this for three years. All the way back three years ago one of the doctors said eventually you’ll need to have this heel shaved down,” Conley said “I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to exhaust every option before going to that extent.”
  • Teams around the league have realized that Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis isn’t available, but that doesn’t mean circumstances won’t change if the franchise eventually shakes up its front office, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes.
  • Don’t tell Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry how to manage his team’s minutes. Gentry, in his third-year at the helm of the franchise, told William Guillory of The Times-Picayune that he plays his stars big minutes out of necessity.

Tony Parker Cedes Starting Role To Dejounte Murray

The time has come for Spurs guard Tony Parker, as the 17-year vet has officially lost his starting role in San Antonio. Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News writes that Parker has ceded his spot in the first-unit to second-year point guard Dejounte Murray.

Gregg Popovich told me he thought it was time,” Parker said. “Just like Manu Ginobili, just like Pau Gasol, you know that day is going to come. If Pop sees something that is good for the team, I will try to do my best… I will support Pop’s decision.

Parker has started 1,151 regular season games over the course of his career, with career averages of 16.1 points and 5.8 assists per game. This year, in 21.7 minutes per game, he has posted averages of 8.0 points and 4.0 assists.

In 14 starts for the Spurs already this season, the 21-year-old Murray has averaged 8.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists per contest.

Despite the lingering absence of star forward Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs have managed to stay competitive in the West. Even after having lost six of their last 10 games, San Antonio sits tied for third in the conference.

Knicks Notes: Kanter, Hernangomez, Ntilikina, Holiday

Knicks center Enes Kanter isn’t sure if he will opt in for the final year of his contract, as he told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. It was generally assumed that Kanter would not leave $18.4MM on the table but he’s having such a strong season, it’s no longer a given. “It’s always on your mind,” Kanter told Bondy. “But the season is going really well right now. It’s just a contract. I think people worry about it too much and it gets into their head.” If he opts in, the Knicks will head into next summer with virtually no cap space, Bondy notes. If he becomes an unrestricted free agent, the Knicks will try to re-sign him or pursue an athletic wing defender, Bondy adds.

In other developments concerning the Knicks:

  • Backup center Willy Hernangomez has not played in 10 of the last 11 games and he anticipates that something will be done about the logjam at the position, as he relayed to Marc Berman of the New York Post. “I want to play,” he said. “I really want to be here. I love New York. KP (Kristaps Porzingis) is here. But I want to play.” League sources informed Berman that Hernangomez still has trade value but the situation could sort itself out in a different way. Berman speculates that the club will ramp up its efforts to deal Kyle O’Quinn if it nosedives in January.
  • The team’s matchup against the Spurs on Thursday will have special meaning to rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina, Berman writes in a separate piece. He idolizes longtime San Antonio point guard Tony Parker“I’m playing against the best French player in history,’’ Ntilikina revealed to the media. “It will be a challenge playing against him. I never met him but talked to him a bit [after the draft] about the transition and defense in the NBA, a little bit about everything.’’
  • Bulls swingman Justin Holiday believes the Knicks would have taken him back if he had waited longer in free agency last summer, according to another Bondy story. Holiday’s former agent pushed hard for a substantial offer from the Knicks and even tried to make it a package deal with his brother, Jrue Holiday, a source told Bondy. New York wound up signing Tim Hardaway Jr. “It’s not like I hate the Knicks now,” Justin told Bondy. “I mean, I honestly believe if I waited something would’ve happened. But at the same time you never know.”