Chandler Parsons will rejoin the Memphis Grizzlies and be inserted into the rotation following the All-Star break after the franchise failed to find a suitable deal to move the forward by the trade deadline.
“I’ve been eager to get back on the court since I was cleared to play on Dec. 21,” Parsons told ESPN on Saturday. “I’m glad the Grizzlies are giving me that opportunity. I’ve been training hard in Los Angeles for the last month and hoping I’d get a chance to play again this season. I’m ready to get back to Memphis and help my team win any way I can.”
Parsons has been training in Los Angeles for the past month due to a mutual decision with Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace about his path to returning to NBA game action after a lengthy absence caused by soreness in his left knee.
Parsons was cleared to play on Dec. 21, but Wallace twice asked him to go on extended assignments with the G League’s Memphis Hustle with no guarantee of a return to the Grizzlies’ active roster — requests that Parsons denied.
Wallace then asked Parsons to train on his own, either in Memphis or Los Angeles (where his offseason home is located), and both parties believed at the time that he probably wouldn’t play for the Grizzlies again.
“I am extremely disappointed that I didn’t get to finish this season alongside my teammates and the Memphis coaching staff,” Parsons told ESPN in a statement a month ago. “Unfortunately that option wasn’t presented to me.
“The Grizzlies training staff medically cleared me to play 5-on-5 in mid-December, and I have been practicing with the team ever since. I will continue to work out and train until my agent and the team reach a resolution. I am ready to play and committed to getting back on the court.”
Parsons has one season remaining on his four-year, $94.4 million maximum contract that he signed in the summer of 2016, when the Dallas Mavericks didn’t attempt to re-sign him due to knee problems that required season-ending surgery the previous two seasons.
The Grizzlies had discussions before the deadline about trading Parsons in salary-dump deals but didn’t find an offer they deemed worthy of accepting, sources said. They declined one offer that would have cost Memphis two future second-round picks and taking back salary for next season, a source said.
Parsons has been limited to 73 games, primarily because of knee problems, since signing with the Grizzlies. He earned a starting job in training camp this fall but played only three games before knee soreness sidelined him again. He has averaged seven points in 19.3 minutes per game for the Grizzlies.
Sources said coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who has had a close relationship with Parsons since his rookie season with the Houston Rockets, had hoped to be able to reinsert the forward into the Grizzlies’ rotation and believed Memphis would benefit from his shooting before his departure.
The Grizzlies (22-34) rank last in the league in scoring (100.3 points per game) and 26th in 3-point shooting (34.0 percent).