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Report: Spurs Demote Tony Parker to Bench, to Start Dejounte Murray

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San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker met with Gregg Popovich before Sunday’s 94-86 loss against the Indiana Pacers, and the coach told him he “thought it was time” to go with someone else in the starting lineup.

So, with second-year man Dejounte Murray hitting the court with the starters at point guard, Parker came off the bench for the 21st time of his 17-year career (postseason included), and for the first time since the 2010 playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks.

“I was like, ‘Oh, no problem,'” an upbeat Parker said of his reaction to Popovich’s decision. “Just like Manu [Ginobili], 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. I support Pop’s decision, and I’ll try to help [Dejounte Murray] out as best I can, and try to be the best I can in that second unit with Manu [Ginobili] and Patty [Mills].”

After undergoing surgery to repair a torn quadriceps tendon last May, Parker spent seven months working through the rehabilitation process, and returned to the lineup Nov. 27 in a win over the Mavericks. Throughout Parker’s return, the Spurs have worked to manage the veteran’s minutes. But Parker admitted to “hitting a wall” recently, saying “I’m just more focused on my leg because I know I [still] have another two months before I feel 100 percent.”

Source: Michael C. Wright of ESPN

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Sources: Suns, Austin Rivers Agree to Part Ways

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After trade with Wizards, Suns agree to part ways with G Austin Rivers, per ESPN sources. Rivers – earning $12.6M in final year of deal – becomes a free agent upon clearing waivers. As a veteran, sides concluded Rivers fits better on an older team that’s pursuing playoffs.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

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Sources: Jazz Interested in Jabari Parker

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The Utah Jazz are one of the teams interested in Parker, according to multiple league sources. Derrick Favors is an awkward fit next to center Rudy Gobert, and his $16.9 million on the books for next season is non-guaranteed, meaning he could be one of the pieces involved. Favors can’t be traded until January 15, so Chicago would have to wait. Would it be worth it? The Bulls are loaded with young bigs, so it’s hard to see them taking back Favors unless additional assets are included. Utah has all of its future picks, except for a 2020 second-rounder going to the Cavaliers, and has two other seconds incoming.

Source: Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer

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Sources: Thunder Pick Up Option on Head Coach Billy Donavan

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The Oklahoma City Thunder has picked up option on Coach Billy Donovan’s contract for the 2019-20 season, the fifth year on his original deal, league source tells ESPN. Donovan is the fourth winningest coach with same team over his four years, behind Kerr, Popovich and Stevens.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

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