Breaking News: Tony Parker to Play in Villeurbanne!!
The official press conference won't take place until tomorrow, but word on the street is that the deal is done: the Spurs point guard is going to spend his lockout vacation right here in Lyon.
Rumors of such folly have swirled since the NBA lockout began last spring, but no one really thought it was going to happen until recently; even then, last-minute complications regarding the star point guard's rather hefty insurance premiums threatened to derail the move.
According to the ASVEL web site, as of today it's a done deal: Parker will join ASVEL/Lyon, the successful French basketball franchise located in the Lyon suburb of Villeurbanne of which he is part-owner, for the 2011/12 season.
According to public television station France 2, Parker will play for a league-minimum salary of €1500 per month, only slightly less than the roughly €800,000 he earns each month as a San Antonio Spur. To make things even less lucrative for him, he will be paying his own insurance premiums, which amount to nearly €200,000/mo. Clearly the man is not in this for the money.
Truth is that I'd been thinking of buying a season ticket to go see ASVEL in their aging dinosaur of an arena, L'Astroballe, for a couple of seasons, just for fun: it's a short subway ride away, and I thought it would provide a nice alternative to all these soccer matches I keep having to attend to get my sports fix. I stopped by the ASVEL website a couple hours after hearing the news, and there were exactly 11 season tickets left in the upper deck, the only place my budget permits.
Now there are ten. Long live the NBA lockout!!!!