National Basketball Association veteran Tony Parker - who agreed to a two-year, $10 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets on Friday morning - cleared something up for Spurs fans on Friday as he prepared to leave San Antonio for the first time in his career.
"It's hard to put into words how important Tony Parker has been to the Spurs franchise over the past two decades", Popovich said in a statement.
Parker, 36, was drafted by the Spurs 28th overall in 2001 draft and has spent his entire professional career in San Antonio. The six-time All-Star is the No. 4 all-time scorer in Spurs history and the franchise's career assists leader. I will always be a Spur.More news: Heat linked to Carmelo Anthony exodus from Thunder
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Leonard is eligible to sign a five-year $219m supermax contract extension in San Antonio this summer and is still said to have a good relationship with coach Popovich. We are grateful to Tony for 17 years of truly fantastic memories.
Parker, speaking to The Undefeated today, denied he ever had a problem with Leonard saying: "We never had an argument". But that didn't lessen the significance of his injury.
Anthony averaged 16.2 points on 40 percent shooting last season, both career lows.
Parker told reporters the injury he suffered in May 2017 was similar to Leonard's issue with his right quad but "a hundred times worse" and required eight months of rehab. Parker willingly gave up his starting role to youngster Dejounte Murray last season. Parker had an offer from the Denver Nuggets too, but he chose to head to the Eastern Conference instead, where he'll be joining his countryman and Charlotte swingman Nic Batum while reuniting with former Spurs assistant coach James Borrego, who is now the head coach of the Hornets, succeeding Steve Clifford.