Tony Parker

Western Notes: Hart, Alvarado, Rockets, Jazz

The Trail Blazers have made a decision on their starting small forward job, according to Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian, who hears from a source that Josh Hart has won the training camp competition.

Hart had been competing with Nassir Little and Justise Winslow for the right to start at the three for Portland this season, alongside a backcourt of Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons and a frontcourt of Jerami Grant and Jusuf Nurkic.

Hart, whom the Blazers acquired in last season’s CJ McCollum blockbuster, has earned praise from head coach Chauncey Billups for his effort on defense and his basketball IQ, as Fentress notes. The veteran swingman is entering a potential contract year — his 2023/24 salary is currently non-guaranteed and he also has the ability to opt out of his deal after the season.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Second-year Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado has long admired Tony Parker‘s game and got the chance to work with the former Spurs star this offseason, meeting Parker at the Las Vegas Summer League and then traveling to San Antonio to train with him. “Actually, I (direct messaged) him and said, ‘I’m a big fan of you,'” Alvarado said, per Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “‘Is there any chance me and you can get in the gym this summer? I would love that.’ He replied right away.”
  • Kelly Iko of The Athletic takes a look at where things stand with the Rockets‘ rotation, noting that Tari Eason is making a strong case for regular playing time, while Bruno Fernando appears to have passed Usman Garuba on the depth chart at center. Iko also isn’t sure that any of the players acquired in last week’s trade with Oklahoma City (Derrick Favors, Theo Maledon, and Maurice Harkless) will make the regular season roster.
  • Given how significantly they overhauled their roster this offseason, the Jazz will likely need more than just a few preseason games to develop a real sense of chemistry, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. “It’s going to take us a while to get used to everyone and learn everyone,” Jordan Clarkson said. “We’re still just getting the basics down. We’re not even at the point of knowing guys’ spots and individual games.”

Eastern Notes: Martin, Beauchamp, Mazzulla, Parker, Celtics

Rookie Tyrese Martin signed a two-year contract with the Hawks over the weekend. The second-round selection out of UConn signed for the minimum of $1,017,781 and the contract is only partially guaranteed for $450K, Hoops Rumors has learned. The second year of the contract ($1,719,864) is non-guaranteed.

Martin averaged 13.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG and 2.2 APG in five games at the Las Vegas Summer League.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Bucks rookie MarJon Beauchamp delivered some solid Summer League performances, Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes, with his 3-point shooting standing out. However, it’s not always indicative of what will happen in the regular season, he adds. Nehm also breaks down the performances of two-way players Sandro Mamukelashvili and AJ Green.
  • The Jazz hired Celtics assistant Will Hardy as their new head coach but Joe Mazzulla, another Boston assistant, was also a finalist for the position, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe notes. He’ll now have a front-of-the-bench role due to Hardy’s departure. Jazz CEO and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge hired Mazzulla in 2018 out of the Division II ranks. “I just liked his presence,” Ainge said. “He just had a good way about him and how he developed players. … He just has a great way about him of pushing guys, holding them accountable, and letting them know this is a serious time.”
  • The Spurs bounced back from losing the 2013 Finals to Miami to win the championship the following season. Retired Spurs star Tony Parker told The Athletic’s Jay King that the Celtics can use their loss in this year’s Finals as a motivational tool. “For me, the way we lost in 2013, it created what happened in 2014,” Parker said. “Maybe one of the best finals in NBA history. Maybe the best Spurs basketball that we played. In 2014, the way we played, the passing game, everything, we were maybe at the highest level of my whole career. It started with a tough loss in 2013.”

And-Ones: Parker, Ware, Nouhi, Brazil

Longtime Spurs guard Tony Parker has long-term plans to own an NBA team, he told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. Parker, the president and majority owner of French team ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne, is part of the French group Olympique Lyonnais and hopes to eventually purchase an NBA franchise. “Right now, we have different objectives and goals,” he told Spears. “But in five to 10 years … I am the type of person who always dreams big.”

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA point guard Casper Ware has opted out of his NBL contract with the Sydney Kings, ESPN’s Olgun Uluc reports. Ware was the highest paid foreign player in the NBL this past season and would have had his 2020/21 salary cut by 50% under a new agreement between the league and its players. The Kings will continue to hold Ware’s NBL rights if he chooses to return to Australia for the upcoming season. Ware, who averaged 17.9 PPG this past season, played for the Sixers during the 2013/14 season.
  • Belgian guard Ayoub Nouhi has decided to forgo his final two years of college ball with UT-Arlington and begin his pro career, according to Sportando’s Ennio Terrasi Borghesan. Nouhi did not enter his name in the 2020 draft, but would become auto-eligible in 2021 if he plays professionally this year. He appeared in 26 games as a sophomore, averaging 1.9 PPG in 12.5 MPG.
  • Brazil’s NBB league has cancelled the remainder of its season, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Former NBA guard Leandro Barbosa tested positive for COVID-19 after the league halted play in March.

Atlantic Notes: Kanter, Celtics, Jordan, Raptors

After signing with the Celtics in the offseason, Enes Kanter was the team’s starting center on opening night, but hasn’t suited up since then, having been on the shelf since the regular season opener due to a left knee contusion. Having missed seven games, Kanter has now been cleared to return, as Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston tweets.

While it’s not clear what role he’ll play in his first game back, Kanter should be active for the Celtics on Monday night vs. Dallas. Boston won all seven contests he missed and will look to keep up that streak now that the big man is reentering the rotation.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • With Tony Parker set to have his jersey retired in San Antonio, Mike Monroe of The Athletic revisits the 2001 draft, when the French point guard was nearly selected at No. 21 by the Celtics. As Monroe tells it, new Boston GM Chris Wallace was prepared to select Parker, but was overruled by C’s legend and team president Red Auerbach, who wanted Joseph Forte instead. Forte only ended up playing in eight games for the Celtics, while Parker – selected by the Spurs at No. 28 – became a six-time All-Star and future Hall-of-Famer.
  • In his Friday column for ESPN.com, Zach Lowe noted that DeAndre Jordan has gotten off to a poor start in the first season of a lucrative four-year contract with the Nets, failing to deter opponents from scoring at the rim. Brooklyn will need more from the veteran center going forward to justify its investment, Lowe argued. As Brian Lewis of The New York Post details, Jordan was one of the few bright spots during a blowout loss to Phoenix on Sunday, scoring 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting and grabbing 12 rebounds.
  • In the wake of the Raptors‘ impressive shorthanded win over the Lakers, Mark Medina of USA Today explores how Toronto has set itself up in both the short-term and long-term to stay competitive despite the loss of Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

Hornets Notes: Rotation, Williams, Friedman, Rozier

With Kemba Walker no longer on the roster, the Hornets are entering rebuilding mode, and head coach James Borrego has made it clear he’ll prioritize developing the team’s young prospects during the 2019/20 season. Still, as Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer details, that doesn’t mean that the Hornets’ veteran players won’t have opportunities to play regular roles.

“If I’m going to be a coach who says, ‘Competition is the No. 1 thing on my board,’ then I have to give (veterans) the ability to compete for minutes,” Borrego said. “I’m not strictly handing minutes to young guys. The young guys have to go earn this.”

Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Bismack Biyombo are among the high-priced veterans on the Hornets’ roster who could be competing with younger players like Malik Monk, PJ Washington, Miles Bridges, Willy Hernangomez, and Dwayne Bacon for minutes during the 2019/20 season. It’s possible the situation could lead to some frustration over the course of the year, but for now Williams had nothing but praise for the way Borrego is handling things.

“J.B. has been amazing for us older guys. He’s been straightforward with us, he told us the direction he’s going in, and what he wants from us. That’s all you can ask,” Williams said. “We understand the situation. When we get our opportunities, we’ll make the most of it.”

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • The losses of Walker and veteran guard Tony Parker created something of a leadership void in the Hornets’ locker room, but Borrego believes that Williams is capable of setting an example for his younger teammates, per Bonnell. “One of the biggest things for our young guys is (to think), ‘Look at Marvin, he’s a true pro.’ Marvin checks those boxes every single day. He takes this as his job, as his profession, and there is a pride about his work every single day,” Borrego said. “I’m going to expect him to lead us in that area. He understands that.”
  • In a mailbag for The Charlotte Observer, Bonnell suggests that the Hornets probably shouldn’t expect to net more than a second-round pick if they try to trade a veteran on a pricey expiring contract this season. Biyombo, Williams, and Kidd-Gilchrist are all on expiring deals worth between $13-17MM.
  • The Hornets issued a press release today announcing a series of changes and additions to their basketball operations staff, including Nick Friedman being named a player development coach. Friedman will bounce back and forth between the Hornets and the Greensboro Swarm, accompanying players on G League assignments.
  • Ben Nadeau of Basketball Insiders explores whether a breakout season is around the corner for new Hornets starting point guard Terry Rozier.

Southwest Notes: Howard, Ledbetter, Finney-Smith, Parker

Waiving Dwight Howard would be the most likely scenario for the Grizzlies, Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian writes. Howard is reportedly working out for the Lakers this week as Memphis looks to move the veteran center. Best case scenario for the Grizzlies would be a buyout agreement with Howard, who is owed $5.6MM. Using the stretch provision is unlikely since the team could have significant cap space next summer and probably wouldn’t want to add dead money to the bottom line.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Spurs have offered guard Jeff Ledbetter an Exhibit 10 deal, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando (Twitter link). Ledbetter is interested but is also mulling other options in Europe, Lupo adds. Ledbetter averaged 15.8 PPG in five Las Vegas summer league games for San Antonio. Ledbetter, 31, averaged 13.6 PPG and 3.9 APG in 19 games with the G League’s Austin Spurs last season.
  • Dorian Finney-Smith is a candidate to start at small forward for the Mavericks, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News writes. He’ll complete with Justin Jackson and Tim Hardaway Jr. for starting time at that spot. Dallas re-signed Finney-Smith this summer on a three-year, $12MM pact.
  • The Spurs will retire Tony Parker‘s No. 9 jersey in a November 11 ceremony, according to a team press release. Parker finished his career with the Hornets after playing 17 seasons with San Antonio.

Hornets Waive Tony Parker In Procedural Move

The Hornets have waived guard Tony Parker, the team announced today (via Twitter). The move was a procedural one, as Parker formally announced his retirement last month.

When Parker signed with the Hornets last summer, he inked a two-year, $10.25MM contract which included a non-guaranteed salary in year two. By releasing the longtime Spur, Charlotte will avoid having his $5.25MM salary for the 2019/20 season become guaranteed. That would have happened if he had remained under contract through Thursday, per Basketball Insiders.

Technically, this frees up Parker in the event that he decides to make an NBA comeback down the road, but there’s no indication that’s something he’ll consider.

Tony Parker Announces Retirement

Longtime NBA point guard Tony Parker has decided to retire from the NBA, he tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. Parker, who had spoken in the past about wanting to play 20 seasons, will instead call it a career after spending 18 years in the NBA.

“I’m going to retire,” Parker told Spears. “I decided that I’m not going to play basketball anymore.”

Parker, the 28th overall pick in the 2001 draft, made his debut for the Spurs later that year and played in San Antonio for the next 17 seasons. During that stretch, he made six All-Star appearances and earned four All-NBA nods. He won four championships with the Spurs and was named the NBA Finals MVP in 2007.

Over the course of his career, which include with one season with the Hornets in 2018/19, Parker averaged 15.5 PPG and 5.6 APG in 1,254 regular season games (30.5 MPG). The Frenchman appeared in 226 postseason contests, averaging 17.9 PPG and 5.1 APG in those games.

Parker, who turned 37 years old in May, tells Spears that he feels like he’s physically capable of playing two more seasons in the NBA. However, he feels like the time is right to move on from his playing career.

“A lot of different stuff ultimately led me to this decision,” Parker said. “But, at the end of the day, I was like, if I can’t be Tony Parker anymore and I can’t play for a championship, I don’t want to play basketball anymore.”

While Parker moved on from the Spurs last summer, his retirement still represents the end of an era in San Antonio, where Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili also retired in recent years. The NBA has now lost three future Hall-of-Famers at the end of the 2018/19 season, with Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade also playing their final games.

According to Spears, Parker plans to continue living in San Antonio during his retirement, but will also spend time in France, where he’s the owner and president of French basketball club ASVEL. Spears’ article includes a lengthy Q&A with the veteran point guard, and is worth checking out in full.

Technically, Parker’s contract remains on the Hornets’ books for the 2019/20 season, but his $5.25MM salary is non-guaranteed. The club figures to release him at some point before his guarantee date on July 4.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Tony Parker Expected To Decide On Future In June

After telling reporters a month ago during his end-of-season media session that he was “50-50” on continuing his career, Hornets guard Tony Parker reiterated that point during an appearance on French TV, as relayed by Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops (via BeBasket).

“It’s 50-50. I haven’t made my decision yet,” Parker said, addressing the possibility of retirement.

Repeating another point he made at the end of Charlotte’s season, Parker admitted that the Hornets’ regular season game in Paris next season is an incentive to return. While he’s still on the fence about what to do, the veteran point guard – who turns 37 next Friday – said he expects to make a decision before the 2019/20 league year begins in July.

“I told the club that I will give them an answer in June,” Parker said. “I really hesitate. I have nothing to prove. I want to spend time with my family. And there’s another part of me that wants to make one last season. There will be an NBA match in France, in Paris. It will be a beautiful event.”

If Parker decides to play one more season, the Hornets will have the opportunity to keep him on their roster — his two-year contract with the team features a non-guaranteed salary of $5.25MM for 2019/20.

It sounds as if Charlotte would welcome him back, and he’d get the chance to play in Paris if he’s still a Hornet. But it could ultimately be in the best interests of both sides to part ways, especially if Kemba Walker signs elsewhere.

Parker told reporters last month that he wants to play on a team that’s at least fighting for the playoffs, rather than a rebuilding club, and the Hornets would almost certainly be lottery-bound without Walker. They also may be looking to cut costs and develop younger players in that scenario, making them a poor fit for Parker.

Hornets Notes: Batum, Walker, Offseason Plans

Hornets coach James Borrego isn’t sure how Nicolas Batum fits into his plans for next season, Borrego admits to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Batum was placed in a variety of roles but had another disappointing season and was briefly benched by Borrego. The team’s highest-paid player has two years and $52.5MM remaining on his contract, making him virtually untradeable unless Charlotte sweetens the pot with a first-round pick or young player. Bonnell suggests making Batum a utility player where he sees minutes at shooting guard, small forward and power forward.

We have more on the Hornets:

  • Unrestricted free agent Kemba Walker was unhappy that an attempt to acquire veteran center Marc Gasol from Memphis before the February trade deadline fell through, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (hat tip to NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman). The outline of the proposed deal would have sent out center Bismack Biyombo, forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and a protected first-round pick for Gasol. Memphis instead chose to make a deal with playoff-bound Toronto.
  • If Walker re-signs with the club, Jeremy Lamb will likely be a cap casualty, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks points out in his offseason preview. Getting a commitment from Walker would push Charlotte past the luxury tax threshold. Re-signing Lamb for a conservative estimate of $11MM in the first year would trigger an approximate $27.5MM in additional luxury tax penalties. The team also has to make some hard decisions on non-guaranteed contracts, including Tony Parker‘s deal. The Hornets are unlikely to give forward Frank Kaminsky a $4.5MM qualifying offer before the June 30 deadline, Marks adds.
  • Walker’s chances of returning are pegged at 30% by Bonnell in his player-by-player breakdown of the roster. Those odds will rise only if GM Mitch Kupchak can pull off a blockbuster deal before free agency to entice Walker to stay.