Tony Parker heads to Charlotte Hornets in free agency

After spending 17 years with the San Antonio Spurs, Tony Parker has decided to move on to a new challenge. The legendary point guard has agreed to a 2-year deal with the Charlotte Hornets. 

According to ESPN, Parker delivered the news to long-time coach Gregg Popovich, in what was termed an “emotional” discussion. Even though the Spurs reportedly wanted to bring Parker back next season, he will see a larger role with the Hornets.

In addition, Parker will be coached by former San Antonio assistant James Borrego. Parker won four NBA championships while with the Spurs. 

"It's difficult to put into words how important Tony Parker has been to the Spurs franchise over the past two decades," Popovich said in a statement. "From his first game in 2001 at age 19, TP has impressed and inspired us.”

Parker will emerge as the immediate backup to point guard Kemba Walker, who has served as the face of the Hornets franchise. He will also help with a leadership role, specifically with young players like Miles Bridges and Malik Monk. 

Michael Carter-Williams, the primary backup for Charlotte last season, recently signed a deal to join the Houston Rockets. That departure paved the way for Parker to become a significant role player at 36 years of age. 

Only Karl Malone and Hakeem Olajuwon played as many seasons with one franchise before leaving for another organization.

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