Memphis, Tennessee—Shockingly, the Houston Rockets will not pick up the team option on their starting small forward Chandler Parsons. This move makes Parsons a restricted free agent this summer according to Yahoo Sports.
Parsons is only 25 years of age. Last season, he averaged 16.6 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game. Additionally, Parsons only earned $960,000 last season as part of his rookie contract. With his ability to shoot from the perimeter and confidently handle the ball, Parsons would be a good fit for many playoff or championship caliber teams in the league. Perhaps, the Memphis Grizzlies could make a play after Parsons.
Here are a few reasons why the Grizzlies should pursue Chandler Parsons.
- They need a starting small forward. Quincy Poindexter was signed last summer to a reasonable deal, but he is often injured. Additionally, Poindexter has not displayed the type of skills required for a starting small forward position for a championship caliber team. Mid-season pickup James Johnson showed flashes of brilliance this season with the Grizzlies; however, he cannot consistently spread the floor with his erratic shooting stretches. Lastly, Tayshaun Prince, the current starting small forward for the Grizzlies, is on his last legs of value at the age of 34. He no longer can stretch the floor or keep up defensively with the league's top small forwards. Parsons can stretch the opposing team's defense with his long-range shooting allowing Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol plenty of space to dominate down low.
- They can make the finances work. According to CBS Sports the projected 2014-2015 salary cap is $63.2 million and the tax level is projected to be $77.0 million. The Memphis Grizzlies' current salary cap is $58.67 million. If the Grizzlies quickly take care of Zach Randolph's contract situation after he opts out, the Grizzlies can make a move for Parsons. According to Yahoo Sports, Randolph and the Grizzlies are currently in contract negotiations. Hopefully, the Grizzlies and Randolph could secure a three year deal around $33- to $36 million dollars paying Randolph $12 to $13 million a season. Additionally, letting Ed Davis go will free up $7.8 million against the Grizzlies' cap.
- The Grizzlies would have a championship caliber team. The Grizzlies already have one of the best up-and-coming point guards in Mike Conley and the best big men pair in Randolph and Gasol. Tony Allen is the best perimeter defender in the league. Courtney Lee is one of the top dribble-and-shoot players in the league. Pondexter, if healthy, has potential to be a three point shooter and top defender. Jon Leuer is extremely valuable as a stretch power forward. Jamaal Franklin needs to continue to develop. Kosta Koufos, if he returns, may be the best backup center in the entire league. Nick Calathes, if he returns, showed flashes of brilliance during the end of regular season. Mike Miller and Beno Udrih, if they both return, add a scoring punch off of the bench for the already-stacked Grizzlies' roster. Adding Parsons to that mix makes the Grizzlies very dangerous.
The recent fiasco behind Grizzlies' owner Robert Pera's firing of Jason Levien and Stu Lash and almost letting head coach Dave Joerger leave is over. Joerger is back as the head coach with a new contract. Zach Randolph is working on a new deal. Pera's recent public admission that he is willing to spend to bring a championship to Memphis sounds good to Grizzlies' fans; however, the proof is in the pudding. If Pera really wants to build a championship caliber team that looks great on paper, it starts with this off-season's moves. As soon as free agency opens up, the Grizzlies need to make quick, intelligent decisions to bring the right players and personnel to continue the Grizzlies' success. Making the playoffs every year is no longer good enough. Fans want more. The ball is in Pera's court.
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