Southwest Notes: Conley, Parsons, Evans, Motiejunas

The Grizzlies never gave any thought to tanking, even as Mike Conley was added to their long injury list, according to Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Conley will miss at least six weeks after fractures were discovered in his lower back. He joins injured teammates Vince Carter, Chandler Parsons, James Ennis and Brandan Wright, while Zach Randolph is on the bereavement list. “It’s obvious that we have done everything to stay competitive,” said GM Chris Wallace. “Ownership has given us the financial commitment for our intent to be competitive at a high level over the past several years. That just doesn’t stop with the injury to Mike Conley.”

There’s more news from the Southwest Division:

  • Parsons admits coming to Memphis was a “culture shock,” but he liked the talent the Grizzlies had in place and wanted to be part of the organization, relays Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Injuries have limited Parsons to six games so far after signing a four-year max contract over the summer. “The real reason why I went there was the current players that they have on their team,” Parsons said, “guys like Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, Z-Bo [Randolph], Tony Allen. See, they’re all guys that have had so much success, and I felt like plugging me into that lineup, being able to play with those guys as kind of the piece they’ve been missing [would be great]. And with the new coaching staff with [David] Fizdale and J.B. Bickerstaff, those are two guys I’ve had previous relationships with and I just hit it off with them. Those are guys that I’ve trusted, and I think we’re going to have special seasons as soon as we get fully healthy. We’ve got a lot of guys banged up right now, but I think we’re going to be a tough team to beat come playoff time.”
  • The Pelicans will have to wait longer for Tyreke Evans‘ season debut, tweets Justin Verrier of Evans, who is recovering from two surgeries on his right knee last season, reported tightness in his calf. New Orleans was hoping to have him back by Thanksgiving, but GM Dell Demps said Evans will not take the court until he is fully healthy. Once he returns, coach Alvin Gentry envisions Evans taking on a role similar to what Lance Stephenson did before he was injured and waived (Twitter link).
  • The Rockets are very interested in keeping Donatas Motiejunas, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The Lithuanian power forward has been meeting with the Nets and is expected to receive an offer sheet, possibly by today. Even though Houston pulled its latest offer to Motiejunas last month, the organization will strongly consider matching whatever offer Brooklyn presents. “We’re big fans of Donatas,” said GM Daryl Morey. “We hope to have him at some point this year.”
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