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The ugly divorce of Chandler Parsons and the Memphis Grizzlies

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Could this have all been avoided?

Memphis Grizzlies v Washington Wizards Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

After a couple weeks of building tension, and a few passive aggressive Instagram posts, the Memphis Grizzlies and Chandler Parsons have agreed to part ways indefinitely, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon. Parsons, the Grizzlies biggest free agent signing in franchise history, had a disappointing tenure with the team. Parsons only played in 73 games, averaging 7 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.7 assists.

Parsons and the Grizzlies have spent the past couple of weeks trying to come up with a resolution to Parsons’ future with the team after he was medically cleared to play on December 21st. Ultimately, they couldn’t come to an agreement both sides thought was fair which led to last night’s Woj bomb.

The Grizzlies and Parsons separation seemed inevitable, but at the same time this final chapter seemed very avoidable with both sides sharing some blame. Here’s how.


Chandler Parsons

NBA: Preseason-Houston Rockets at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Wallace and the Grizzlies front office wanted Chandler Parsons to play in 3 games during the Hustle’s upcoming home stand that begins tonight. 3 games isn’t that long of a rehab stint with the G-League squad, especially for someone with Parsons’ injury history. Parsons hasn’t played in more than 3 straight games since November of 2017. Parsons hasn’t proven once that he is able to play consistently over the past 3 seasons, so it’s fair for the team to want him to prove he can play multiple games without the “knee soreness” that has flared up so much.

Parsons has talked about how much he just wants to play basketball, so it is a bit confusing as to why he wouldn’t take the opportunity to prove himself to the front office with excellent play with the Hustle.

The Front Office

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies-Press Conference Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

In Parson’s defense, there were rumors he was open to a rehab stint with the Hustle as long as their was a clear plan in place for him. Apparently the front office never had a clear enough plan for Parsons and his camp, with Wojnarowski reporting that the stint in Southaven might not be enough to convince the organization to throw Parsons back in the rotation. The Grizzlies have gone 6-16 over their past 22 games, causing them to plummet down the Western Conference standings. If Parsons was willing to do a short stint in Southaven and was able to prove he was healthy, would his inclusion into the rotation really hurt the team? Even with the concerns about his ability to defend other NBA players, he couldn’t make the Grizzlies much worse than they are right now.

It’s understandable the Grizzlies don’t have the most trust in Parsons’ knees to hold up to play on a consistent basis. I can understand why the Grizzlies would want Parsons to prove he is healthy enough to play again. But to do so, the Grizzlies should have been able to provide a clearer path to Parsons’ return to the rotation if he were able to prove his health.


At this point, it seems like Parsons played his last game as a Grizzly in Utah in just the 3rd game of the season. It is to be determined how exactly Parsons and the Grizzlies will officially part ways, whether it be by trade or buyout, but Parsons is seemingly done as a Grizzly. Whether it was Parsons sucking it up and playing for the Hustle, or Chris Wallace and ownership giving Parsons another chance as the team continues its downward spiral. Either way, it seems as if this entire situation could have been resolved. It’s odd that this has been the tipping point between Parsons and the organization.

Until Parsons is officially no longer a member of the Grizzlies, there is a chance that they can work these things out. However, I wouldn’t bet on things working out anytime soon.

Follow @sbnGrizzlies