The Chandler Parsons derby has a surprising winner. The Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to a four-year, $94 million contract with Parsons, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon. Parsons later confirmed the news on Instagram.
Memphis moved quickly to secure Parsons after it became clear that he would not return to Dallas. Parsons' free agency was made possible when he opted out of a $16 million player option that Mark Cuban tried to encourage him to pick up. The Mavericks didn't want to give Parsons the max that they knew other teams would offer him.
In Dallas, Parsons' good play was marred by two injuries, one much more severe than the other. Parsons underwent hybrid microfracture surgery in 2015 that caused him to miss the whole summer and the first three games last season, and upon he return he spent two more months with minute restrictions. It wasn't until late January that Parsons started showing his full potential, averaging just under 19 points on 52 percent shooting in 10 games in the month of February. One of Parsons' best games came against the Houston Rockets, his former team.
Parsons has a unique skillset, one shared by only five or six more players in the NBA. At 6'10, Parsons is a legitimate ball handler and pick-and-roll creator, joining select company with LeBron James, Gordon Hayward, Nicolas Batum and a few others as a point forward. Parsons is an elite spot-up player as well, as capable shooting the three as he is pump faking and driving into the lane for a layup or floater.
Disadvantages for Parsons come in his defense, which can be solid but often isn't, and his inability to create his own shot. The other major concern is the continued injuries, as Parsons' season last year also ended early with a meniscus tear in the same right knee.
The injury was slightly overblown, since Parsons' four-to-six week injury was only season ending due to how near the Mavericks' season was to completion. But obviously, two surgeries on the same knee, even if Parsons hadn't suffered any major injury concerns prior in his career, is a valid concern.
As long as Parsons stays healthy, though, he's one of the top forwards and best playmakers in the league for his position. His shooting should be a nice boost for Memphis, and his playmaking skills could take some pressure off Mike Conley, should he return. With the addition of Parsons, it now seems likely Conley will be back in Memphis.