While Leonard impressed the Spurs in workouts late in the season, the former NBA Defensive Player of the Year and 2014 Finals MVP backed down each time he or the Spurs wanted him to return to the court.
Parker, who had become an unrestricted free agent this summer, called Spurs coach Gregg Popovich in the last hour to inform him of decision to accept Charlotte's offer, a source told Wojnarowski.
The move reunites Parker with new Charlotte coach James Borrego, who most recently was an assistant in San Antonio.More news: Kim Dotcom faces extradition to United States , will appeal ruling
LAS VEGAS Tony Parker went to San Antonio as a teenager almost two decades ago, quickly became part of the Spurs' legendary Big Three and celebrated four championships while wearing silver and black. With Popovich's blessing, Parker will see out his illustrious career in the Eastern Conference, in a more prominent role alongside Kemba Walker, himself the subject of trade rumors. The veteran point guard was drafted by the Spurs with the 28th pick in 2001. We are grateful to Tony for 17 years of truly fantastic memories.
"It's hard to put into words how important Tony Parker has been to the Spurs franchise over the past two decades", Popovich said in a statement. Plus, the Hornets already have one of Parker's friends, fellow Frenchman Nic Batum.More news: Las Vegas’ Miki Sudo wins 5th straight Nathan’s hot dog contest
"I have no problem with Kawhi Leonard".
Parker fell out of favor with the Spurs last season, averaging just 20 minutes and making 21 starts, in 55 games appearances.
Parker is the third player in National Basketball Association history to play at least 17 seasons with one team before leaving. He averaged 7.7 points and 5.7 assists per game during that season. Popovich and Spurs star Tim Duncan combined for 157 playoff wins.More news: Russian Federation enjoying advantage at World Cup due to fan support
The Denver Nuggets were also reportedly interested in Parker.