At age 34, Tony Parker‘s impressive international career is over.
But he’s not done in the NBA — he wants to go until he’s 39.
Parker was in a reflective mood after his final international game Wednesday — a loss to Spain that eliminated France from the Rio Olympics —but he told Jeff Zillgitt of the USA Today he want to play in the NBA until he is pushing 40.
“I want to end my Spurs career on a high note. I want to play five more years,” Parker said.
Parker is under contract for this season and next with the Spurs. For years his name came up in trade rumors, but nothing came close to fruition.
While he is still a good player who can dial up stretches of his vintage self, Parker has seen slippage in his game the past couple NBA seasons. Incredible quickness was always at the core of Parker’s game — on offense he could get to the rim at will, on defense he could stay in front of many guards — but he has been slowed a step the last couple seasons, due to injury and age. That process is not going to reverse itself. He relies more on a midrange game and smart play.
Parker will be sharing more responsibilities with Patty Mills at the point this coming season. But if Parker is willing to gracefully accept a smaller role, he is the kind of smart veteran player Popovich will want to keep around. Maybe for five more seasons.