“I think they thought I’d be like Manu and just stay,” Parker told ESPN’s Michael C. Wright.
Parker added that he decided to consider other opportunities once Gregg Popovich informed him that he’d be San Antonio’s third-string point guard.
“They really didn’t take me seriously that I was going to leave,” Tony Parker says in a room full of folding chairs at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, more than 1,200 miles from the place he still calls home. […]
“Pop just told me that I was going to be the third point guard, and I had to think really hard about if I was going to stay,” Parker says. “So then I told him I’m not gonna stay. I think they really didn’t believe I was gonna leave anyway. I think they thought I’d be like Manu and just stay.” […]
Still, he needed to meet with Popovich one last time.
“That was tough,” Parker says. “Like, it was kind of shaky, his voice. But I was like, ‘You know, Pop, I love you. And I will always love the Spurs. But I just can’t do it because I don’t think I’m done, and I don’t think this is the right opportunity. I don’t want to finish being on the bench and not playing.'”