Kurt Helin

Report: Grizzlies, Mike Conley on verge of agreement on five-year, $153 million contract


When Mike Conley recruited Chandler Parsons to the Grizzlies — and Parsons agreed to take Memphis’ money — you knew it was just a matter of time before this came down the pike:

Mike Conley and the Grizzlies are on the verge of agreeing to a five-year, $153 million contract, according to multiple reports.

Apparently, that video worked.

With this move, Memphis stays relevant in the deep West and a threat (although not elite). They needed to keep Conley, he is one of the best defensive point guards in the league, a smart floor general, shot 36.3 percent from three, and he’s good at getting players the ball when and where they want it. He would have been an All-Star had the West not been loaded with other great point guards at the same time (Curry, Westbrook, Lillard, Parker, etc.).

This is the move Memphis had to make, but I like how they have reshaped their roster. Now we’ll see what coach David Fizdale can do with it.

Report: Dwight Howard is going home to Atlanta on three-year, $70.5 million contract

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Dwight Howard is going home.

Dwight Howard is also going to a team and organization built on selflessness, acceptance of roles, ball movement, and just fitting in. Is he up to that?

We’re about to find out because Dwight Howard is going to Atlanta, something broken by Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports and since confirmed by other sources.

That works out to an average of $23.5 million a season (fully guaranteed, no option years), allowing Howard to save face after opting out of a $23 million season in Houston. Some teams balked at giving him that number (but if Timofey Mozgov can get $16 million a year, Howard had to be in this range).

Howard can still put up numbers: he averaged 13.7 points a game on only 8.5 shot attempts, and added 11.8 rebounds a night last season. He played good defense, although not at the pre back surgery levels.

The issue with Howard has been ego and fit. While the NBA has trended smaller and looking for bigs who are mobile, Howard has demanded to play in the post and try to be Shaq circa 2001. That doesn’t work anymore — even true centers like DeMarcus Cousins can now step out and space the floor a little. It’s frustrating because Howard has always been a much better pick-and-roll big man than a post-up big, but somehow he let Shaq/Barkley/whoever get into his head and convince him he needed to be this old school center. Which he’s not.

If Howard buys into his role, defends and rebounds, and can stay healthy, he can be a quality center for the Hawks and improve that team (providing they can keep Al Horford, no sure thing). But there is a wake of broken relationships and fired coaches in Howard’s wake that make you question if things can be different this time.

Even back in his hometown.

Chandler Parsons on why Memphis: “I really believed in Coach Fiz”


Let’s be clear: There are 94 million reasons that Chandler Parsons chose Memphis.

Money is almost always the primary free agent motivation. But Chandler Parsons could have chosen to get his max money in Portland — which has far more hipster coffee houses he could frequent — or a number of other teams that would have thrown the cash at him.

So why Memphis? Tim MacMahon of ESPN asked him.

Text message from Chandler Parsons on why he chose the Grizzlies: “I really believed in Coach Fiz (David Fizdale). Nobody in the league has coached better wings than him. I trust [assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff] with my life. They have nobody like me, and their veteran, experienced players are a perfect fit with me.

“Toughest decision of my life though. Portland is incredible.”

Can’t blame the man for taking the cash.

Memphis is an interesting team with Parsons — providing he can stay healthy. That’s the gamble. But they soon will re-sign an elite point guard in Mike Conley, they will still have an elite center in Marc Gasol in the paint, and they will have a new coach in Fizdale to try and put the pieces together.

This is a good team, just a team that will fall short in a West with Golden State, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio.

By the way, Chandler Parsons confirmed the move on Instagram.

Report: In smart move, Pelicans reach four year, $52 million deal with Solomon Hill

Associated Press

If Larry Bird had extended a qualifying offer to Solomon Hill before he had a breakout season with the Pacers last year, Indiana would not be losing a nice young player.

Indiana’s loss is New Orleans’ gain.

The New Orleans Pelicans have reached a deal with the combo forward, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

That top end number is close to $52 million, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. With that much money (leaving the Pelicans will less than $15 million to spend) it’s hard to imagine Ryan Anderson returning to the Big Easy.

Hill showed promise last season both as a three and a small-ball four in Indiana. While his raw numbers are not eye popping — 4.2 points a game, 32 percent shooting from three — he was able to make plays, get to the rim, and play improved defense. The Pelicans are betting on his ability to improve his shot and take another step forward — if so this is a fair deal.

Hill is the kind of young, athletic player the Pelicans need to bring in so they can play the Alvin Gentry up-tempo system properly. This is a good signing.

Report: Chandler Parsons near four-year, $94 million deal with Memphis

chandler parsons grizzlies mavericks
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Grit-and-grind is not going away — Memphis is getting better.

The Grizzlies have been in need of shooting for years and it appears they are going to roll the dice on getting it — and hopefully some stable knees — from Chandler Parsons. For max money. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports broke the news.

First, this almost guarantees that Mike Conley is coming back to Memphis. They will be better next season (not contender good, but better).

Parsons was smart to opt out of the $16 million a year option with Dallas.

When healthy, Parson’s versatility is what the Grizzlies need. He can shoot from the outside (41.4 percent from three last season), put the ball on the floor, has arguably the best shot fake in the game, is a good passer, and is a solid team defender. It is everything the Grizzlies need.

The question is his health — he played 66 games two seasons ago and 61 last season because of multiple surgeries on his right knee. The Grizzlies are betting those are not chronic issues but things in the rear-view mirror of the 27-year-old. If not, this contract will be an anchor. But it’s a smart gamble by Memphis.