Chandler Parsons is frustrated by his subpar play but Grizzlies coach David Fizdale indicated Thursday that the small forward will remain in the rotation, Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com reports. Parsons signed a four-year, $94MM free agent contract last summer but has battled knee injuries while averaging 6.1 PPG on 34.5% shooting in 19.5 MPG. Fitzdale said Parsons remains a big part of the team’s plans this season but admits Parsons is feeling the heat. “He feels like he’s letting his team down, he feels like he’s letting this city down, and he doesn’t want that,” Fizdale told the assembled media.
In other news around the Southwest Division:
- Point guard J.J. Barea hopes he can return to action during the Mavericks’ five-game homestand that begins on Friday, according to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. Barea hasn’t played since January 20th after straining his left calf. Barea joined the team on their road trip to Atlanta on Wednesday to work out with team’s training staff, Sefko adds.
- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban would like to see the team grab a playoff spot but doesn’t see a downside regardless of how the season plays out, Sefko writes in a separate story. Dallas currently trails the Nuggets by 3 1/2 games for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. “To me, it’s a win-win,” Cuban told Sefko. “If we lose, we get a better draft pick. If we win, we get in the playoffs.”
- Spurs center Pau Gasol doesn’t mind coming off the bench, as Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com relays. Gasol found himself on the second unit this week after returning from a fractured finger on his left hand. Dewayne Dedmon started at center. “I think [Spurs coach Gregg Popovich] is trying to do a good job of putting the best lineups and how they work together, and also maximizing everyone’s talents,” Gasol told Wright. “With the second unit, I have more opportunities to score, to play my game. With the first unit, it’s a little more limited, my options.”