The Tony Parker era for the Spurs may not have ended Sunday, but it may have entered its twilight era when Spurs coach Gregg Popovich started Dejounte Murray at point guard in place of a healthy Parker.
The 35-year-old Parker has started almost every game he's played for the Spurs since 2001, helping lead them to four NBA championships. But as he's seen with some of his Spurs' teammates through the years, from Tim Duncan to Manu Ginobili, Father Time eventually comes calling.
"(Popovich) told me that he thought it was time. I was like, ‘Oh, no problem,'" Parker said (via the San Antonio Express-News). "Just like Manu, just like Pau [Gasol], that day's going to come. And if Pop sees something that is good for the team, I'll try to do my best."
Parker missed the first month of this season as he recovered from a ruptured left quadriceps he suffered in the playoffs last May. He is averaging career lows in points (8.0) and assists (4.0) this season, not surprising given he's playing a career-low 21.7 minutes per game. His minutes have declined each of the past four seasons.
The veteran said recently he's still not fully recovered from his injury, saying "I'm just more focused on my leg because I know I [still] have another two months before I feel 100 percent."
With that in mind, Parker knows he might be of more help to the team off the bench going forward.
"If Pop sees something that is good for the team, I will try to do my best," Parker said. "But I will support Pop's decision, and I will try to help DJ the best I can, and try to be the best I can in that second unit with Manu and Patty (Mills)."
Parker scored 12 points and dished out five assists in 20 minutes in a 94-86 loss to the Pacers Sunday. The 21-year-old Murray scored eight points, with seven rebounds and four assists.