Tony Parker

Hornets Notes: Lamb, Kaminsky, Parker, Batum

Jeremy Lamb might be the Hornets’ starter at shooting guard, but he could also be entering his final season with the team, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer in his latest mailbag column. Lamb started 18 times in his 80 games last season and posted the best numbers of his six-year NBA career, averaging 12.9 points per game and shooting 37% from 3-point range.

Bonnell expects new coach James Borrego to use Nicolas Batum at small forward more often, opening a spot in the backcourt that will be filled either by Lamb or Malik Monk. Lamb improved his defense last year and provides more size than Monk, so he’s considered the favorite to win the starting job heading into camp.

Lamb is entering the final year of a contract extension he signed in 2015 and will be seeking a raise from his salary of just under $7.5MM. Charlotte will have a tight cap situation heading into the summer with Kemba Walker also as a free agent. With Batum, Monk and Dwayne Bacon as alternatives as shooting guard, the team may decide not to spend big on Lamb.

Bonnell offers more news on the Hornets in the same piece:

  • Expect Frank Kaminsky to see more minutes at center in the preseason, and that could wind up being his primary position in the future. Kaminsky has been used mainly as a power forward during his first three seasons in the league, but the Hornets may want a better outside shooter in the middle after trading away Dwight Howard. Charlotte’s front office will have to decide soon whether to extend a qualifying offer of roughly $5MM to Kaminsky to make him a restricted free agent next summer.
  • The Hornets plan to use free agent addition Tony Parker as Walker’s primary backup this season. The longtime Spur will play about 15 to 17 minutes a night and could be used in combination with Walker to close out games. Rookie Devonte’ Graham looked good in Summer League, but Bonnell doesn’t expect him to be given a large role this season.
  • Offseason changes may put Batum in position for a bounceback year. The addition of Parker, Batum’s close friend and teammate from the French national squad, should help, as should improved health after Batum missed the entire preseason last year with an elbow injury. Bonnell notes that Batum was an awkward fit with Howard, who liked to dominate the ball in the post and often slowed down the offense.

Southwest Notes: Belinelli, Parker, Doncic, Rockets

Marco Belinelli will focus on the upcoming NBA season instead of playing for Italy’s national team, according to a Sportando report. The veteran shooting guard will skip World Cup qualifiers next month against Poland and Hungary in order to prepare for the Spurs’ training camp, the report continues. Belinelli, who had a previous two-year stint with San Antonio, played a combined 80 regular-season games last season for the Hawks and Sixers and averaged 12.1 PPG. He’ll back up DeMar DeRozan and could also see some action at small forward after signing a two-year, $12MM deal.

In other news from around the Southwest Division:

  • Tony Parker will come back to San Antonio to end his career, he told the Chinese website Hupu.com in an interview that was relayed by AmicoHoops.net. Parker, who signed a two-year deal with the Hornets, intend to sign a one-day contract with the Spurs when he’s ready to call it quits. “Yes, I will retire as a Spur,” Parker said.
  • Mavericks guard Luka Doncic should be able to handle the physical grind of the NBA but his athleticism and quickness will be tested in his rookie season, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes. He also has to prove he can consistently knock down 3-pointers from behind the NBA arc, Sefko adds. Doncic is expected to jump right into the starting backcourt alongside Dennis Smith Jr.
  • Another trip to the Bahamas is on the docket for Rockets players, Mark Berman of Fox 26 reports.  The team will try to build chemistry by holding a bonding experience there in early September, something it also did last season.

Southwest Notes: Conley, Hunter, Parker, Broekhoff

Last month’s signing of Kyle Anderson will enable Mike Conley to adopt a different role for the Grizzlies this season, according to Peter Edmiston of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. A point guard throughout his 11-year career, Conley will be used off the ball more frequently and will be counted on to provide more scoring.

Conley said he talked to former Memphis coach David Fizdale about such a move two years ago. However, any progress was short circuited last year when an injury ended Conley’s season after 12 games and Fizdale was fired in November.

“When Kyle and anybody else on the ball make plays, I don’t have to make plays for myself,” Conley said. “I’m excited about that and I think it bodes well for my season and our team.”

Conley also addressed questions about his injured heel that required season-ended surgery, saying he’s feeling “on track” and expects to be at full strength when the new season starts in October.

There’s more today from the Southwest Division:

  • R.J. Hunter has become a Summer League regular after the Celtics made him a first-round pick in 2015, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Hunter, who has a two-way contract with the Rockets, played for Houston’s entry this year in his fourth consecutive Summer League. He has appeared in just eight NBA games since the Celtics waived him in 2016, but said his time with the Rockets has been a valuable learning experience. “Whenever I’m on the bench, just see what they need on the court,” Hunter said. “I think it’s more of a thinking game. Houston’s old. A lot of their players are vets, so they’ve been teaching me how to think the game and be patient.”
  • Tony Parker, who signed with the Hornets after 17 years with the Spurs, reflects on his time in San Antonio in a letter on The Players’ Tribune. Parker talks about his embarrassing audition with the team, the transition to Dejounte Murray as the starting point guard and the meaning of “Spurs culture.”
  • After losing Doug McDermott in free agency, the Mavericks hope they have found a replacement in sharpshooter Ryan Broekhoff. The Dallas Morning News takes a closer look at the Australian star, noting that Matthew Dellavedova lobbied the Bucks to sign him.

Hornets Notes: Howard, Parker, Backcourt

While Dwight Howard joked in his introductory press conference with the Wizards about being “stung” by the Hornets, he admits to Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports that there was some truth behind that remark, since he was confused by Charlotte’s decision to trade him earlier this offseason.

“I didn’t see any signs,” Howard said. “I wouldn’t think after having a really good season a team would be like, ‘OK, let’s trade you.’ That really caught me off-guard. That’s why I said in the press conference, the Hornets stung me.

“I asked [Hornets GM] Mitch [Kupchak] and I asked the coach: ‘What did I do? Was it something in the locker room that I did?'” Howard continued. “And Mitch said, ‘No, it had nothing to do with the locker room. It has nothing to do with you as a person. We just felt like we wanted to go in this direction as a team.’ I asked him, ‘If this is the truth, you need to come out and say this stuff, because people are thinking it’s because I did something in the locker room or acted a certain type of way.’ And I’m like, ‘This is not who I am.'”

As Howard moves from one Southeast team to another, let’s check in on a few other Hornets-related notes…

  • Tony Parker‘s two-year deal with the Hornets, which is now official, is non-guaranteed in year two, per ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link). Sources tell Lowe that the second year – which has a guarantee date of July 4, 2019 – is worth $5.25MM, bringing the overall value of the pact to $10.25MM.
  • As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer relays, Parker said this week that the opportunity to help former Spurs assistant James Borrego succeed in his first head coaching job was part of what drew him to the Hornets this summer. The veteran point guard also hopes to help his friend Nicolas Batum bounce back from a down year. “He’s been a business partner and my little brother,” Parker said. “I hope we can get the best out of him next season.”
  • In a mailbag for The Observer, Bonnell explores whether a Kemba Walker/Malik Monk backcourt pairing would work, given their size and their defensive limitations. Bonnell also addresses the Hornets’ starting center job, Miles Bridges‘ potential, and Kupchak’s influence on the team culture in Charlotte.

Hornets Sign Tony Parker

JULY 23: The Hornets’ deal with Parker is now official, the team confirmed today in a press release.

“We are thrilled to add a player of Tony’s caliber and experience to our roster,” GM Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “We believe his track record of success and playoff resume will add backcourt depth to our roster and veteran leadership to our group. Parker’s experience with Head Coach James Borrego will be an invaluable asset to us moving forward as well. We are excited to welcome Tony to Charlotte and for him to continue his Hall-of-Fame career with the Hornets.”

JULY 6: After spending 17 seasons in San Antonio, Tony Parker will head to Charlotte for the 2018/19 season. The veteran point guard has reached an agreement to sign with the Hornets, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).

Parker will sign a two-year, $10MM contract with the Hornets, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). A tweet from Charlotte forward Nicolas Batum first hinted that Parker – Batum’s teammate on the French national team – would join the franchise.

The Hornets had been on the lookout for a backup point guard after struggling to find consistent production behind Kemba Walker in recent years. Parker, 36, will provide a steady presence at that spot, though he’s no longer the impact player he once was. In 2017/18, the longtime Spur lost his starting job to Dejounte Murray and averaged a career-low 7.7 PPG and 3.5 APG in 55 games (21 starts).

As Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News tweets, there were about five or six teams interested in Parker, but he chose the Hornets because the team sold him on more playing time and a significant role.

Parker’s departure is the latest development in what has been an unusually dramatic year in San Antonio. The Spurs will now be without a point guard who first joined the franchise back in 2001 and has appeared in more than 1,400 total regular season and postseason games with the team.

According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Parker called Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich within the last hour to inform him of his plan to head to Charlotte. Although the Spurs wanted Parker back, the veteran will reunite with former San Antonio assistant James Borrego, who was hired as the Hornets’ head coach this spring.

This is the second time in recent years that a club headed by a former Spurs assistant has made a play for a longtime Spur. The Sixers and Brett Brown were unable to lure Manu Ginobili to Philadelphia in 2016, but Borrego and the Hornets were able to secure Parker’s services this time around.

Parker’s deal figures to be completed using a portion of the Hornets’ mid-level exception, since the team is over the cap. The trade that sent Dwight Howard to Brooklyn helped Charlotte create the flexibility to complete a signing like this one without going into tax territory.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kemba Walker Doubts He’ll End Up With Knicks

Kemba Walker wants to stay long-term with the Hornets and doubts he’ll wind up with the Knicks, he told Michael Scotto of The Athletic.

The Charlotte point guard and New York native is heading into his walk year and has a very movable $12MM contract. Cleveland has been oft-mentioned as a potential landing spot if he gets traded.

The Knicks have several point guard options, including Emmanuel Mudiay, Trey Burke and Frank Ntilikina, but Walker would generally be considered an upgrade.

“As far as seeing me in New York, I doubt it,” Walker told Scotto. “I’m a Hornet, and I’m planning on being a Hornet for a long time, so, yeah, I’m not sure about that (New York).”

Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak has said he’d like to retain Walker but a contract extension isn’t feasible due to salary-cap restraints. Thus, Walker is headed to free agency next summer if he doesn’t get traded.

The Hornets have a stopgap option in Tony Parker, who agreed to a two-year, $10MM contract in free agency. Walker welcomes Parker’s presence and hopes to learn a few new tricks from the wily 36-year-old.

“Having Tony Parker is huge,” Walker told Scotto. “He’s a guy who’s been through it all. He knows a lot. He’s won championships. He knows what it takes to win in this league. I don’t think there’s any better point guard to learn from than Tony Parker.”

Hornets Notes: Trades, Howard, Biyombo, Parker

In exchange for taking on an extra year of salary when they traded Dwight Howard for Timofey Mozgov, the Hornets acquired a pair of second-round picks. However, the Nets also sent cash to Charlotte in that deal, and now we know just how much. According to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), the Hornets received $5MM for their troubles.

During the 2018/19 league year, an NBA team can only acquire up to $5.243MM in cash in trades, so the Hornets nearly reached their limit in that transactions with the Nets. Charlotte did reach its limit shortly thereafter, when the team flipped one of the second-rounders it acquired from Brooklyn to the Thunder. In that swap, which sent Hamidou Diallo to Oklahoma City, the Hornets received $243K in cash along with a 2019 second-round pick, tweets Pincus.

The Hornets now won’t be able to acquire any more cash in a trade until the 2019/20 league year begins, though they can still send out up to $5.243MM in deals this season.

Here’s more out of Charlotte:

  • Explaining the decision to trade Howard, Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak said the team considered waiving and stretching the veteran center like the Nets ultimately did, but decided the trade with Brooklyn was the best way to go. Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer has the details, along with the quotes from Kupchak.
  • According to Kupchak, Bismack Biyombo‘s rebounding and rim-protecting abilities are a key reason why the Hornets flipped Mozgov to Orlando for him (link via Rick Bonnell). Kupchak also spoke about the increasing value of second-round picks around the NBA — Charlotte has made five trades so far this offseason, and all five have included at least one incoming or outgoing second-rounder.
  • Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com doesn’t believe the Hornets will receive great value from the two-year, $10MM deal they gave Tony Parker. Pelton cites Parker’s .498 true shooting percentage, which ranked 252 out of the 275 players who played at least 1000 minutes last season, as one reason for pessimism, adding that Charlotte failed to take advantage of a buyer’s market for point guards.
  • Even if Parker’s on-court numbers for the Hornets are lacking, new head coach James Borrego values the veteran leadership the longtime Spurs point guard will bring to the franchise, as Rick Bonnell writes. “We were trying to find a player in free agency that had experience, had wisdom, had winning DNA,” Borrego said. “He is such a valuable piece and has been to that San Antonio organization. We’re very fortunate right now.”

Spurs Notes: Parker, White, Anderson, Leonard

Tony Parker wanted to stay in San Antonio, but the Spurs wouldn’t offer a multi-year deal or guarantee significant playing time, relays Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Parker hasn’t given up on his goal of playing 20 NBA seasons, but he’ll need three more to get there and it became increasingly clear that wouldn’t happen in San Antonio.

“The Spurs will always be home,” said Parker, who agreed to a two-year, $10MM contract with Charlotte. “San Antonio will always be a big part of my life. At the end, I just felt like the Hornets wanted me more.”

Parker will have a defined role in Charlotte as the primary backup to point guard Kemba Walker. Playing time wouldn’t have been guaranteed with the Spurs, who wanted him to serve primarily in a mentorship role. Parker, who spent 17 years in San Antonio and won four NBA titles, met with longtime teammate Tim Duncan two weeks ago to discuss the decision to leave.

“I never took for granted that what we did was hard,” Parker said. “Me, Manu [Ginobili] and Tim took less money in free agency every time. It’s not easy to have a dynasty. I think some people maybe took it for granted. I don’t think what we did will ever happen again.”

There’s more today from San Antonio:

  • The loss of Parker should create more playing time for Derrick White, McDonald writes in a separate story. The former first-round pick can handle either backcourt position, but is being used primarily at point guard during summer league play.
  • The Spurs haven’t decided whether to match the Grizzlies’ offer sheet for Kyle Anderson and will probably go right to today’s deadline before making an announcement, McDonald notes in a another piece. Memphis extended a four-year, $37.2MM offer to Anderson on Friday that includes a 15% trade kicker. Anderson, 24, had a career-best season in 2017/18, starting 67 of the 74 games he played and averaging 7.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals per night. The Spurs are already near the tax line, and matching Anderson’s deal would move them about $3MM closer on top of his $6.45MM cap hold.
  • The decision on Anderson could provide a clue on what the Spurs plan to do with Kawhi Leonard, McDonald tweets. If they plan to keep Leonard and try to fix their strained relationship, the Spurs won’t have significant minutes to offer Anderson. If they expect to trade Leonard before the season starts, there’s no one else on the roster who can fill Anderson’s role on defense.
  • The Spurs made a front office move over the weekend, adding former Pistons director of player personnel Adam Glessner, according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link).

Latest On Kawhi Leonard

Tony Parker‘s decision to sign with the Hornets won’t change Kawhi Leonard‘s desire to leave San Antonio, tweets Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports. Schultz notes that Leonard “remains irate” with Parker over what he considers a downplaying of his quad injury. However, the locker room dysfunction goes beyond the relationship between Leonard and Parker, Schultz adds.

A rival GM tells Schultz that the Spurs haven’t relented at all on their asking price for Leonard (Twitter link). The organization doesn’t care if Leonard is unhappy in San Antonio and is refusing to consider reduced offers to resolve the situation. Schultz speculates that the Leonard trade drama could last through most of the summer, just as Carmelo Anthony‘s did a year ago.

There’s more news on Leonard to pass along:

  • Parker tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that his reported feud with Leonard was blown out of proportion. “I have no problem with Kawhi Leonard,” Parker said. “We never had an argument. When the journalist asked me if my injury was worse than Kawhi’s, I said yes because it was true. But that didn’t lessen the significance of his injury. He took over the franchise and I gave up the torch of the franchise willingly. It’s very sad that the media took one quote and made it sound like I didn’t want to play with him. He was the face of the franchise.”
  • If he gets traded to the Eastern Conference, the Sixers are the only team Leonard would consider re-signing with, ESPN’s Chris Haynes said in an appearance on The Jump. Los Angeles remains Leonard’s first choice, Haynes adds, but he would be open to a long-term deal in Philadelphia if he winds up there. He notes that Leonard would not be interested in a similar arrangement with the Celtics, who are another reported suitor.
  • ESPN’s Michael C. Wright is the latest observer to say that the Clippers have overtaken the Lakers as Leonard’s preferred destination. Speaking on his podcast, Wright says “someone who would know” tells him that Leonard doesn’t want to be “second fiddle” to LeBron James with the Lakers. Wright adds that the Spurs aren’t impressed with anything the Clippers have to offer in a potential trade.
  • Up to eight teams have done background work on a possible trade for Leonard, reports Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). The Lakers, Clippers, Sixers and Celtics have been most prominently mentioned in trade rumors, but Kyler states that others are weighing the risks of a potential “rental” deal.

FA Rumors: Jerebko, Warriors, Thomas, Magic, Smart

After being waived by the Jazz today, Jonas Jerebko is already being eyed by the Warriors, among other teams, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, there’s strong mutual interest between Jerebko and Golden State, one of the teams the forward will consider upon clearing waivers.

There’s a possibility that Jerebko won’t make it to free agency, but in order to claim him, a team must have cap room or a trade exception worth $4.2MM. If Jerebko does become a free agent and wants to join the Warriors, he’ll have to settle for the minimum, since the Dubs already committed their taxpayer mid-level exception to DeMarcus Cousins, and won’t have access to the bi-annual exception.

Here are a few more notes and rumors on free agents from around the NBA:

  • According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), the word in Las Vegas is that the Magic discussed a potential deal with Isaiah Thomas, but are unlikely to complete an agreement at this time, preferring to maintain flexibility to see what other opportunities develop. As Kyler notes, a patient approach to free agency helped net the club Jonathon Simmons last summer after San Antonio eventually withdrew Simmons’ qualifying offer.
  • Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe provides an update on the Marcus Smart situation in Boston, confirming that Smart is frustrated by the negotiations – or lack thereof – with the Celtics so far. However, according to Himmelsbach, the C’s still consider Smart an “integral” part of their future and don’t view the current situation as a “standoff.” Himmelsbach also reports that there’s interest around the league in Smart at a price point of about $9MM per year, but he wants more, and could ultimately sign his $6MM qualifying offer if the offers don’t improve.
  • Tony Parker, who reached an agreement with the Hornets on Friday, tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link) that he received offers from the Spurs and Nuggets before deciding on Charlotte. I’d imagine those other offers didn’t come with the guarantee of as much money and/or as significant a role.
  • ESPN’s Kevin Pelton explores whether Carmelo Anthony – who is headed for a split with the Thunder – would fit best with the Lakers, Heat, or Rockets, three teams said to be interested in his services.