The Chandler Parsons era in Memphis appears to be coming to a close.
The sharp-shooting forward is returning most recently from surgery on the meniscus in his right knee. Parsons told media last week that he’s been medically cleared to play but that the Grizzlies don’t appear to be ready to release him back onto the court.
According to ESPN, Parsons will reportedly leave the Memphis Grizzlies for the foreseeable future.
The sides will work to find a trade for Parsons, sources said. The Grizzlies’ haven’t shown a willingness to include a first-round draft pick to move Parsons’ deal but have been open to accepting a longer-term contract for him, league sources said. The team still believes Parsons will have value as an expiring contract, even if it takes into the offseason to make a deal.
The final disagreement that led to Parsons leaving the team and city — perhaps permanently — has been centered around the circumstances of a possible G League assignment.
Parsons has been willing to play games with the G League affiliate but wanted a clearer plan and a timetable in place that would return him to the Grizzlies active roster, league sources said. Trips to the G League for veterans are traditionally treated as rehab assignments, not tryouts.
What this means for Parsons and his massive contract isn’t clear. He’s still got $38 million left on his contract, and he’s not exactly the most moveable piece. Parsons joins JR Smith as the most recent player to simply “leave” the team while waiting for a trade, so perhaps he’ll just be stuck in basketball limbo the rest of the year.
Parsons has played just 73 games in three seasons with the Grizzlies, and his knees were of genuine concern for NBA GMs when he was last up for a contract in the summer of 2016. If a team can get him on the cheap — like, single-digit millions cheap — he’s worth a chance. Failing that, Memphis’ best bet is to trade him as an expiring contract next year.
If they do that, it looks like both sides will simply need to wait.