Spurs’ Tony Parker opens up about move to bench

San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker. (Jason Szenes/EPA)

The San Antonio Spurs have moved veteran point guard Tony Parker out of the starting lineup, a position he has had since the 2001-02 season, according to a report from Tom Osborn of the San Antonio Express-News.

Parker broke the news Sunday night when he spoke to reporters after the Spurs lost 94-86 to the Indiana Pacers, a game in which Parker came off the bench for the first time since 2010.

Parker said head coach Greg Popovich told him after the game that they would be moving second-year player Dejounte Murray into the starting role.

Murray, 21, has made 23 starts in his career. Parker, 35, has made 1,151.

For his part, Parker appears ok with the decision, telling reporters “If Pop sees something that is good for the team, I will try to do my best.”

Parker was a key component to the Spurs dynasty that has been a dominant force since the turn of the century. He was a member of four of the five championship-winning teams under Popovich, and was named Finals MVP in 2007. The six-time all-star has appeared in 1,164 games over his 17-year career, shooting 49 per cent from the field and averaging 5.8 assists per game.

But this season has been different. After missing more than a month with a quad injury to start the season, Parker has been given limited starts so far. In all, he started 21 of the Spurs 48 games this year.

Murray got the start on Sunday, but Parker still played 20 minutes against the Pacers. He shot 5-of-10 from the field and collected five assists in the game.

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