New York, June 30: Tony Parker has confirmed that heralded teenager Victor Wembanyama will be leaving his ASVEL club to seek more playing time and better prepare for the 2023 NBA draft.
Wembanyama, a towering 18-year-old who is considered to be one of the early favourites to go number one overall in next year’s draft, averaged just 18.4 minutes per game for champions ASVEL in LNB Pro A, the top professional league in France.
In 13 EuroLeague games, the Frenchman averaged 17.5 minutes per contest.
Wembanyama exercised a get-out clause in his contract with AVSEL, which had one year remaining.
"The overriding feeling is 'too bad'," former San Antonio Spurs star Parker said in an interview with L'Èquipe. "Honestly, he’s a good kid. He has a really good attitude and it's a shame he didn't give us an opportunity to continue."
L'Èquipe reported that Wembanyama is considering signing with one of two Paris-based clubs, either Paris Basketball or Metropolitans 92. Another option for the talented power forward could be to move to the United States to play for the NBA G League’s developmental team, the Ignite.
Parker, who has been in charge of AVSEL since 2014, said Wembanyama would have played a far more prominent role with his team next season.
"We would have had him play 30 minutes per game next season. That was the plan; give him responsibility and grow. That’s what we promised," Parker said. "That's why I don’t understand. If he thinks he will have a better opportunity with Boulogne-Levallois or Paris, which are the current rumours, I respect his decision.
"I wish him all the happiness in the world. He will succeed anyway. But it's really unfortunate for us."
Wembanyama averaged 9.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in LNB Pro A last season and received the league’s best young player award for the second straight campaign.