Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego didn’t want to say a lot Saturday about the impending signing of point guard Tony Parker, but what Borrego did say was emphatic.
“We’ve identified a player for our roster who can really help us grow, take that next step: credibility, accountability, wisdom, experience,” said Borrego, who was an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs for much of Parker’s 17 seasons there.
“That’s what we went into free agency looking for. And we believe we found something.”
Parker agreed Friday to a two-year deal expected to be worth $10 million to be a point guard off the bench behind Kemba Walker. Parker will sign that contract next week.
The Hornets wanted a veteran point guard behind Walker in addition to rookie Devonte Graham. Parker had an offer to return to the Spurs (though reportedly for only one season in a limited role) and also drew interest from the Denver Nuggets.
“We were trying to find a player in free agency that had experience, had wisdom, had winning DNA,” Borrego said at practice on UNLV’s campus before Sunday’s summer league game against the Miami Heat.
“He is such a valuable piece and has been to that San Antonio organization. We’re very fortunate right now.”
Parker had a limited role last season with the Spurs, starting 21 of his 55 game appearances. He had career lows in minutes (19.5), points (7.7) and assists (3.5). Borrego said Parker was still impressive for coming back to be effective after suffering a ruptured quadriceps tendon in May 2017 during a Spurs playoff game.
“The biggest thing for Tony, coming off a major injury, (was) the fact that he was even playing for us and playing at such a high level,” Borrego said.
“The fact that he wanted to come back, prove to himself, to his team and to his coaches that he could come back from this injury and help our team. The credit goes to Tony in how hard he worked.”