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Report: Spurs would like Tony Parker to return in mentorship role

Tony Parker is no longer the Hall of Fame version of himself, but the San Antonio Spurs still see value for the point guard as a leader.

Michael C. Wright of ESPN reports Parker’s representation are shopping for a deal, and the only franchise he’s ever known has interest in retaining him.

But there’s a catch, and you might’ve picked it up.

The Spurs apparently only envision Parker as a mentor. In other words, they’re not looking for him to play often.

That isn’t a surprise, considering he averaged 7.7 points and 3.5 assists last season while playing fewer than 20 minutes per night. Parker also shifted into a bench role for the first time in his career.

His replacement in the starting lineup was Dejounte Murray, who stands above Patty Mills and Derrick White on the depth chart. Murray and White certainly could use Parker’s guidance, and the latter appears poised for minutes in 2018-19 after thriving in the G League last season.

Additionally, the Spurs selected Lonnie Walker in the 2018 NBA draft. One key area of improvement for the Miami product is his ball-handling ability as a secondary playmaker. Parker would be a terrific mentor in that area.

However, that also means Walker reduces the need for another point guard in the nightly rotation. There simply aren’t enough minutes to go around, and Parker could — and perhaps should — be the odd man out.

If he wants to play regularly, the Spurs might wince and let him leave. But if he wants to serve as a leader, Parker could stay in San Antonio.