Chandler Parsons ‘ready to play’ but circumstances may keep him off court for a while

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Chandler Parsons is in Los Angeles, working out to stay ready but away from the Memphis Grizzlies, to whom he is under contract. It’s a mutual thing, Parsons is frustrated that he is medically cleared to play but cannot get on the court, the Grizzlies are less confident in where Parsons is at in his recovery from another left knee surgery and how much he can help them make the playoffs in the West.

Parsons told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN he is disappointed things did not work out in Memphis but that he’s ready and wants to play.

“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. “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.”

The report goes on to say the Grizzlies and Parsons’ agent are looking for a trade.

However, unless there is a dramatic change, it’s hard to imagine Parsons getting back on the court this season.

The reason is Parsons is making $24.1 million this season (about $13 million of that still to be paid), and a fully guaranteed $25.1 million next season. No team is going to trade for that without getting a couple first round picks, or one first rounder and a player, back in the trade, and Memphis reportedly has not been willing to put a pick in the trade. Wojnarowski said the Grizzlies would be willing to take on long-term money to move Parsons, but that will not be enough.

A buyout this season also is unlikely. The Grizzlies would rather keep Parsons’ money on the books as part of some yet-to-be-devised trade this season or early in the summer, unless Parsons was willing to give them a deep, deep discount in money he would take. And why would Parsons do that? Even if he proves he can come back and play, his next contract will be a tiny fraction of this one, Parsons isn’t just going to give that money away.

It’s more likely the sides part ways next summer. That may be either as a trade piece (Parsons will be an expiring contract with more value after July 1) or the sides do reach buyout terms (entering a final season Memphis will accept less of a discount just to save money, especially depending on what happens with Marc Gasol, if he opts out of the last year of his contract and becomes a free agent).

But for now, Parsons is just going to be working out in Los Angeles. And that could be going on for a while.