Tony Parker was able to work out a deal with Tony Parker that Tony Parker found acceptable and now Tony Parker will be playing in France if the lockout drags out.
Parker, the Spurs point guard, has signed a deal to play for ASVEL Villeurbanne, the team he co-owns in France, during the lockout, according to Sportando.
It will be formally announced at a press conference on Thursday.
In the meantime, at Radio Montecarlo, Parker confirmed the deal: ‘Today I can say that I signed with ASVEL for the lockout period. I took my decision on Monday. For me it is a big honor to return to France and it is a logical choice to play for ASVEL”. As reported by Basketusa.com, Parker accepted to play for the minimum salary, €1.500 per month and paid his own insurance. ‘I had a rich offer from China and an important one from Barcelona, but I said since the beginning I would have played just in France’ said Parker.
Parker will miss the team’s first game but will debut against Paris-Levallois. Parker played for France during the EuroBasket and was the best guard in the tournament, leading France to a third place finish and a spot in next summer’s pre-Olympics qualifying tournament.
While a number of NBA players have signed, or at least flirted, with a deal overseas during the lockout, only one real star has signed up — Deron Williams of the Nets headed to Turkey.
But that is going to change as the lockout moves forward. And while most of the big names will likely be thinking China — big money and a league that doesn’t start until December, although there are issues there — Tony Parker is thinking of heading back home.
At least that’s what he told ESPN. He is thinking France (where he already owns a team).
“My agent talked about China a little bit,” Parker said after totaling 23 points, seven rebounds and four assists in France’s 82-60 victory (over Great Britain in an exhibition). “But for me I just want to focus on the national team, that’s most important for me.
“I’m not going to take any decision until the end of September, after the European Championships. I want to see if I’m healthy, if I’m hurt and by then we will also know a lot more what is happening with the situation of the lockout. If I play (abroad), I will definitely play in France, for my fans, for my team, ASVEL.”
Since he owns the team he can probably arrange an opt-out for when the lockout ends.
Tony Parker has laid out the more likely path for name NBA players to head to Europe.
Speaking with BasketUSA (via Hoopshype), he said that if there are no games come the new year and the NBA is talking about cancelling a season, then he would return to France and play. Parker played four seasons in the French league before coming to the NBA, and he is part owner of a team there.
While there is a lot of talk of players going to Europe, for name players this is the likely course — if the NBA season is cancelled they will see if there is a team that will take them on. (Deron Williams is the exception to prove the rule.) These teams will tend not to be the big clubs in Europe — teams that already have good rosters filled with well paid players, teams that will demand a full season commitment — but rather second and third tier teams who can spend a little to rent a star.
Parker also said he and Joakim Noah will play for France this summer at EuroBasket, where Olympic qualifying for the 2012 games in London takes place. While there are questions about insurance for NBA players (who are currently without) Parker said that issue is not as serious as it has been made out to be.