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Grizzlies GM: Chandler Parsons will continue rehab in LA

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Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace says Chandler Parsons has chosen to continue rehabilitation in Los Angeles out of the options Memphis gave the 30-year-old forward.

“We will continue to monitor Chandler’s progress,” Wallace said in a statement Sunday night.

Wallace issued his statement just hours after ESPN.com reported that the Grizzlies and Parsons had agreed to a split, with Parsons leaving Memphis while his agent, James Dunleavy, and the team negotiate an end to his contract.

The Grizzlies GM says they met with Parsons and spoke with both the forward and his representation numerous times during the forward’s rehab on how to “integrate a healthy and effective Chandler” back on the court.

“In the last of these conversations, we presented Chandler clear options for him and his representatives to choose, which included a short three-home-game stint for the Memphis Hustle or rehab either in Memphis or in Los Angeles with the training team of his choice,” Wallace said. “Chandler subsequently chose to continue his rehab in Los Angeles.”

Parsons has played three games in the third season of the four-year, $94 million contract he signed in July 2016. Limited by injuries, he played a combined 70 games over the first two seasons of that contract, but Dunleavy told The Commercial Appeal on Dec. 28 that Parsons had been cleared and was ready to play.

Dunleavy did not immediately return messages from The Associated Press on Sunday night.

Parsons was the Grizzlies’ big free agent signee in July 2016, with Memphis believing it finally had the 3-point threat the team has lacked for years. Parsons has been nothing but a disappointment with injury after injury. Before signing with Memphis, Parsons had never played fewer than 61 games in a season in the NBA with stints in Houston and Dallas.

At media day in September, Parsons said he thought his knee issues were past him after playing with no limitations during the summer.

“Let’s face it, the last two years have gone horribly and not the way I planned, but the reasons why I came to Memphis are still all intact,” Parsons said then.

Parsons last played for Memphis on Oct. 22, going scoreless in just over six minutes in a win at Utah. Now the Grizzlies have lost five straight and are 2-8 over their last 10 games. They have dropped to 12th in the Western Conference after sitting atop the West at 12-5 in late November.

It’s been a busy few days for the Grizzlies.

Wallace apologized Thursday for an apparent altercation in the locker room between Garrett Temple and Omri Casspi after a loss to Detroit the night before. Hours later, the Grizzlies traded for guard Justin Holiday , sending guards MarShon Brooks and Wayne Selden Jr. along with second-round picks in 2019 and 2020 in the deal.

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Chris Paul playing cornhole. Luka Doncic trick shots. Welcome to life in the NBA bubble.

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Teams have emerged from quarantine in the Walt Disney World campus in Orlando, getting some run in on the court, and are starting to explore life in the NBA bubble.

Then they are documenting it on social media.

For example, Chris Paul and Darius Bazley played some cornhole.

Dallas’ Luka Doncic was hitting trick shots on the court.

Then Doncic and Boban Marjanovic were doing Disney Channel ads.

Complaints about the food by players have died down, in part because they are out of quarantine and get a choice of restaurants, in part because they saw the backlash and realized the complaints looked elitist. Or maybe it’s just the Mickey pancakes.

Everyone is out and exploring the campus and having fun…

Well, except for Robin Lopez, who sees no reason to leave his room.

Zion Williamson “just went back to square one” with quarantine workouts

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Zion Williamson looks cut — like he spent the entire quarantine doing workouts — and ready to be a force at the NBA restart in Orlando.

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Built for this 💪

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What workouts did Zion Williamson do during the break to get that look? He took everything back down to step one and built it up again working out with his stepfather Lee Anderson, Williamson told reporters on Friday (hat tip Andrew Lopez of ESPN):

“It just felt like I was 5 years old again,” Williamson said Friday. “Just went back to square one, tried to get my body where it needs to be, get my fundamentals back to square one and start from there. So yeah, it was just like starting over at 5 again. It was a great process to learn it all over.”

Williamson did a little more than that. He also had approval from the league to go to the Pelicans practice facility throughout the quarantine and get treatment on his knee, the one that kept him out the first 45 games of the season. So he stayed healthy.

He also worked on other aspects of this game, such as his jump shot. Williamson took 76.7% of his shot attempts at the rim this season, and while getting to the rim is critical to his game, he’s going to have confidence in his shot and knock down jumpers to reach higher levels in the league.

The Pelicans enter the bubble 3.5 games back of Memphis for the eighth seed in the West, and with the softest schedule of any team in Orlando (matching their schedule before the interruption), they have a legitimate chance of forcing a two-game play-in series. It’s not easy, but there is a path to the playoffs for New Orleans (setting up a Zion vs. LeBron James first-round showdown that league broadcast partners are drooling over).

A stronger, improved Zion could help get the Pelicans there.

Paul George: “I feel great again,” says Clippers finally fully healthy

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Paul George symbolized the Clippers’ health all season long. George missed the first 11 games of the season recovering from shoulder surgery, then all season long it was still a lingering issue — until the suspension of play gave him time to heal.

“The whole season, all the way up until maybe a month or two ago, I had to always do shoulder rehab stuff, warming the shoulder up,” George said Friday on a conference call with reporters. “Just so much went into stuff I had to do before I actually took a foot on the floor. Now I feel great again.”

It wasn’t just Paul George, the Clippers had Kawhi Leonard managing his knee/thigh issue and an assortment of other injuries that didn’t give Doc Rivers the full arsenal at his disposal. That was until around the All-Star break — after that break Los Angeles went 7-2 with a +11.5 net rating that was best in the league by far.

The season being shut down may have halted that momentum, but it also gave a banged-up Los Angeles roster a chance to get healthy.

“For this team, man, I think our aspirations, again, this time off has given us what we needed,” George said. “We had some guys that was banged up, nagging injuries. The more time gave us more time for us to aid those injuries and to get back to 100.”

Health matters — which is why Montrez Harrell brought his own personal, portable sauna, a secret Reggie Jackson let out of the bag.

Health matters to Rivers, too, but what he wants more is that team chemistry back — and the Clippers have a long way to go on that end in Rivers’ eyes.

“This is not a normal way of starting back,” Rivers said of the mini-training camp all 22 teams at the NBA restart will get in Orlando. “Usually going into training camp, guys have been scrimmaging for three and four weeks, they’ve been playing, shooting on hoops. That’s not happening. This is a group, some of the guys have not touched a basketball or seen a gym until two weeks ago. We got a lot of work to do on both ends.”

The Clippers are not alone, every team is going to take time to find its rhythm again. Pick-and-roll combos need to get used to reading each other (and the defense) again at full speed, defensive rotations will be a step slow, and a few passes are going to head into the bench rather than the player in the corner.

When the Clippers get that rhythm back, with a healthy roster — finally — they again become a legitimate threat to win it all.

First, they just need to navigate the bubble. And maybe borrow Harrell’s sauna.

Atlanta G League affiliate promotes Tori Miller, first female GM in league

Tori Miller
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The Atlanta Hawks aren’t just talking about progress and giving Black women a chance. They are acting.

The College Park Skyhawks, Atlanta’s G-League affiliate, has promoted Tori Miller to general manager. She is the first female GM in the G-League.

Miller, who grew up in Decatur (a city next to Atlanta), had worked for the team in Erie (when they were the Bayhawks) and followed the team with its move closer to its parent franchise. Miller served as an assistant GM last season before being promoted.

G League front office positions can be a stepping stone into an NBA front office.

The Hawks progressive move comes just as the team’s WNBA franchise, the Dream, has players trying to oust co-owner Kelly Loeffler, a Republican Georgia U.S. Senator, because she advocated against the league supporting Black Lives Matter. Loeffler has said she will not sell. It’s a problem not going away anytime soon.