Tony Parker

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.

Hornets Notes: Parker, Kemba, Lamb, Kaminsky, MKG

Speaking today to reporters, including Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link), veteran point guard Tony Parker said he’s 50-50 on playing for the Hornets next season. Parker would like to return, but only if he can play on a competitive team.

“I don’t want to play on a rebuilding team,” Parker said (Twitter link). “I want to play for a team that’s fighting to make the playoffs at least.”

The contract Parker signed with the Hornets during the 2018 offseason is a two-year deal, but next year’s $5.25MM salary won’t become guaranteed until July 4, per Basketball Insiders. In other words, even if Parker – who will turn 37 next month – decides he wants to stick around, that interest will need to be mutual.

However, the former Spur said today that the Hornets want him to come back, tweets Bonnell. Parker also admitted that the opportunity to play a regular-season game in Paris is an incentive to return.

As we wait to see what happens with Parker, here are several more Hornets-related notes:

  • As Bonnell relays for The Observer, Kemba Walker said after the Hornets’ regular-season finale on Wednesday that he’s unsure whether he expects to remain in Charlotte long-term. Walker did reiterate today that “this is where I want to be” (video link via Rod Boone of The Athletic), but also said that winning will absolutely be his number one priority (Twitter link via Bonnell).
  • Asked if the Hornets have done enough to convince him they’re serious about winning, Kemba said that’s still in action, according to Bonnell.
  • Walker isn’t the only key Hornet with an uncertain future. As Brendan Marks of The Charlotte Observer details, it’ll be a big summer for veterans like Jeremy Lamb and Frank Kaminsky as well.
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who has a $13MM player option for 2019/20, said today that he hasn’t thought much yet about his decision, per Bonnell (Twitter link). He did say that “happiness” – rather than money – is his main concern going forward, though it’d still be a surprise if he opts out.
  • As we explained earlier today, a random drawing on Friday will go a long way toward deciding where the Hornets will pick in the first round of this year’s draft.
  • Marvin Williams said today that he plans to opt into the final year of his contract. Here’s the full story.

Southeast Notes: Bryant, Carter-Williams, Graham

The Wizards have long been eliminated from playoff contention, but second-year big man Thomas Bryant is taking every late-season opportunity to establish himself as a long-term rotation piece for the club, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post writes.

Bryant recently impressed for the Wizards as the team closed out a tight contest against Phoenix. Bryant’s game-winning bucket, his second of the year, capped off a night in which he racked up 18 points and 19 rebounds, outplaying 2018 first-overall pick Deandre Ayton.

My teammates believe in me. It’s a real big thing,” the Wizards big man told Buckner. “I give it all to my teammates, they believe in me to make that shot, time and time after I missed so many shots this month, this year. To have that confidence is great.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • While his stats don’t jump off the page, Michael Carter-Williams has made an impact during his brief stay thus far with the Magic, John Denton of the Magic’s official site writes. Carter-Williams’ length and versatility have contributed to several late-season wins but his future with the franchise is up in the air.
  • Veteran Tony Parker will cede playing time to Devonte’ Graham, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweets. Hornets coach James Borrego would like to give the 24-year-old additional experience and Parker is on board.
  • If Kelly Olynyk logs 89 minutes over the final eight games of the regular season, he’ll earn a $1MM bonus built into his contract with the Heat, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes. That’s likely but not necessarily guaranteed. “It’s like one of those things that if you want it too much, you’re not going to get it,” Olynyk said. “You’ve just got to focus on the team and winning and the rest will fall into place where it may.

Hornets, Bucks Will Play In Paris

The NBA will hold its first-ever regular-season game in France, with the Hornets and Bucks squaring off January 24, 2020, in Paris, the league announced this morning.

“Our NBA Paris Game will showcase the continued global growth of basketball in one of the world’s greatest cities,” Commissioner Adam Silver said. “With France leading a record number of players from Europe in the league, we look forward to bringing together basketball fans from across the continent for the NBA’s first regular-season game in Paris.”

This will be the first game in France for the Bucks and the second for the Hornets, who played there during the 1994 preseason. The league has staged 10 preseason games in France and has been televising games in the nation since 1984. The game could be a homecoming for veteran point guard Tony Parker if he remains on Charlotte’s roster, but his $5.25MM salary for next season is non-guaranteed.

Today’s announcement was made on the “NBA Extra” show on beIN SPORTS, the league’s official broadcast partner in France, and included an appearance from former Hornet Muggsy Bogues.

The game will take place at AccorHotels Arena, which has hosted nearly all of the NBA’s games in France. Tickets won’t be available until a later date. It will count as a home game for Charlotte, tweets Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

“The Charlotte Hornets are proud to have the opportunity to participate in the first NBA regular-season game in Paris,” team chairman Michael Jordan said. “Having played in the preseason in France during my career, I witnessed first-hand the passion the French fans have for NBA basketball. We are excited to bring our team to Paris for this history-making event.”