Chandler Parsons

Latest On NBA’s Load Management Dilemma

The NBA sent a memo to all 30 organizations this week instructing teams not to use the phrase “load management” to describe an injury, as Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today details in a series of tweets. According to the NBA’s memo, “load management” is a permissible description of a player’s absence only if he’s missing a game due to rest under the league’s resting policy.

The Hawks, who had been listing Chandler Parsons as out due to “load management” during the first few weeks of the season, adjusted their approach on Tuesday, according to Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal Constitution (Twitter link). Parsons’ new designation was “injury management (bilateral knees).” We can probably expect the Clippers to make a similar change to Kawhi Leonard‘s injury-report description the next time he sits.

While the NBA’s latest request may seem arbitrary or semantic, it reflects what a delicate subject load management has become for the league. It’s one of the “most debated, least understood” issues in basketball today, according to ESPN’s Kevin Pelton and Kevin Arnovitz, who go into detail on the science and the goals behind load management programs.

“It is rare to find a sports scientist or performance specialist who believes that the NBA season doesn’t require some attention to load management to assure that a player has a chance to be at peak performance in the postseason,” Pelton and Arnovitz write. However, the ESPN duo acknowledges that while teams have more data points available to them than ever, interpreting that data “is still an art” rather than a hard science.

As load management continues to be a popular topic of discussion in the basketball world, here are a few more items related to the phenomenon:

  • Ethan Strauss of The Athletic surveyed executives, coaches, and players around the NBA in an attempt to determine the best fixes for the load management problem and received a variety of responses. Reducing the amount of games in a season or stretching the season to create fewer back-to-back sets was the most popular answer in Strauss’ survey. One agent also suggested teams should make an effort to rest players during non-national TV games and make their plans clear as soon as they know them.
  • WarnerMedia chairman Jeff Zucker said this week that he’d like to see the NBA be more proactive in addressing “load management” games that coincide with national TV broadcasts. (Twitter links via Ben Fischer of SportsBusiness Journal). I think the league has some influence over teams and i would like them to exert that influence,” Zucker said. TNT falls under the WarnerMedia umbrella, so Zucker obviously has a vested interest in stars suiting up for marquee games.
  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban came out strongly in favor of load management this week, calling it “the best thing to ever happen to the league,” as Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe tweets. While fans may be frustrated to see star players sitting in regular season games, Cuban argues that it increases the chances of keeping those stars healthy for the most important games in the spring. “You actually get more of your stars [in the playoffs],” Cuban said, per ESPN. “You get shorter rotations of more of the guys playing in the playoffs, which is what you want to see anyway, right?”
  • Lakers star LeBron James believes that young players could probably benefit from “load management” – or at least more favorable scheduling – at the AAU level, as he tells Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “A lot of these [AAU] tournaments don’t have the best interest of these kids, man,” James said. “I see it. It’s like one time, they had to play a quarterfinal game, a semifinal game and a championship game starting at 9 a.m., and the championship game was at 12:30 p.m. Three games. I was like, ‘Oh, hell no.’ And my kids were dead tired. My kids were dead tired. This isn’t right. This is an issue.”

Injury Updates: Kuzma, Nene, Crabbe, Hawks

After a report earlier this week indicated that Kyle Kuzma wouldn’t be healthy for the start of the Lakers‘ training camp, the team has confirmed as much, announcing in a press release that Kuzma is rehabbing a stress reaction in his left foot.

According to the Lakers, Kuzma hasn’t been cleared to practice and is scheduled to undergo an MRI next month when the team returns from its trip to China. The second of L.A.’s two international preseason games vs. Brooklyn takes place in Shenzhen on October 12, so Kuzma’s MRI presumably won’t happen until sometime after that contest.

The Lakers provided updates on a couple more players, announcing that rookie Talen Horton-Tucker is receiving treatment for a stress reaction in his right foot and will be a limited participant in camp. Camp invitee Jordan Caroline, meanwhile, is expected to miss 10-12 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left foot earlier this month.

Horton-Tucker has a guaranteed contract and his spot on the Lakers’ roster won’t be affected by his injury, but Caroline is on a non-guaranteed deal and figures to be waived in the coming days or weeks.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • The Rockets announced today that Nene has re-aggravated a chronic adductor injury and won’t be able to participate in training camp, as David Aldridge of The Athletic relays (via Twitter). Based on the incentives in Nene’s deal, it’s unlikely he’ll play much this season anyway, but health problems would further reduce the likelihood of him seeing regular action.
  • The Hawks issued a series of injury updates on their players, including John Collins (hip strain), Kevin Huerter (knee pain), Alex Len (low back pain; left ankle sprain), and Allen Crabbe (right knee surgery). Collins, Huerter, and Chandler Parsons (load management) are expected to be somewhat limited in training camp, while Crabbe will likely miss all of camp and the preseason. Len’s status remains up in the air.
  • Keith Pompey of Philly.com takes a look at the work Sixers shooting guard Zhaire Smith has put in to get healthy after missing nearly his entire rookie season due to injury and illness.

Kevin Huerter Talks Hawks’ Draft, 2019/20 Goals

Culture and locker-room fit were important considerations for the Hawks as they made roster moves this offseason, second-year shooting guard Kevin Huerter tells Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. As Huerter explains, head coach Lloyd Pierce talked on multiple occasions about not bringing in anyone who would be detrimental to the culture the team is trying to build in Atlanta.

“I think every player we brought in has some sort of relationship with one of our coaches or [executives], so they know that we’re bringing in really good guys,” Huerter said. “I think that was really important, first and foremost, especially with a team that could still go through a lot of ups and downs. You don’t want someone in the locker room who is making everyone miserable.”

While Huerter is optimistic about what Allen Crabbe, Jabari Parker, Evan Turner, and Chandler Parsons can contribute on the court, he views those incoming veterans as guys who will “contribute off the court as well,” as he tells Kennedy.

Huerter spoke to Kennedy about many more topics, including the Hawks’ draft, their future free agent outlook, and their expectations for the 2019/20 season. The Q&A is worth checking out in full, but here are a few highlights from the former Maryland standout:

On the Hawks drafting De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, and Bruno Fernando:

“I thought our draft was great. There are very few teams that can come out of the draft saying they got exactly who they wanted, but those three guys are literally the exact players we wanted going into the draft. Anytime that happens, it’s an extremely successful draft.

“I think those guys bring a different dynamic to our team that we didn’t have. De’Andre is a 3/4 and he’s a really good defender, so he was a great pick for us. Cam just has so much potential on the offensive end and what his ceiling could be makes him great for us as well. Bruno is NBA-ready. I think it can be tough for some bigs as they enter the NBA because of how physical it is, but Bruno is physically NBA-ready. Again, I thought it was a really good draft for us.”

On whether free agents will seriously consider the Hawks as they continue to improve:

“Hopefully. Any team that wins becomes pretty attractive to free agents. You see that happen a lot. But for me, our core group of guys could – and should – be enough for us. That’s the way that winning teams are built, at least in the old days. When you want to want to build something that lasts, it’s homegrown guys. But, again, hopefully if we win, [players will want to sign here] and we can figure out which positions we need moving forward. Adding free agents down the line won’t be a bad thing, but first you need to win and then everything else comes with it.”

On whether the Hawks have discussed a goal of making the playoffs in 2019/20:

“Honestly, no. Playoffs, for us, isn’t really a word we talk about – all we talk about is winning more than 29 games. We know how honestly close we were last year – we weren’t too far off from that eighth seed – but we’re probably not going to talk about it for most of the year. It’s not something we talk about in the locker room, trying to sneak in [to the playoffs]. It’s literally just, ‘We’re going to win more than 29 games and continue to get better.’ Then whatever happens, happens.”

Southeast Notes: Magic, Parsons, Hornets, Rozier, Dragic

The Magic have scrapped any notion of rebuilding and are building off of last season’s playoff appearance, Josh Robbins of The Athletic contends. Orlando made $179MM in contractual commitments to re-sign Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross and add forward Al-Farouq Aminu. That approach could backfire because the franchise will have minimal salary-cap flexibility in upcoming summers and little chance to chase top-notch free agents, Robbins continues. It was also a vote of confidence that the young players on the roster will show significant growth, Robbins adds.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Chandler Parsons recently underwent a procedure in Germany to relieve his knee pain, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Parsons had another Regenokine treatment in which a person’s own tissue is collected, processed and then placed back into the body. The Hawks officially acquired the veteran forward from the Grizzlies on Sunday for Solomon Hill and Miles Plumlee.
  • The Hornets are willing to pay the luxury tax in future seasons if they become contenders, GM Mitch Kupchak told Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Kupchak indicated he’s currently allowed by majority owner Michael Jordan to spend up to the luxury tax threshold. “If we ever get to the point that we feel we can advance in the playoffs, Michael has made it clear that we will go into the tax,” Kupchak said. However, that seems a long way off after losing franchise player Kemba Walker in free agency.
  • Terry Rozier, Walker’s de facto replacement after the sign-and-trade with Boston was completed, was underrated coming into the NBA, Kupchak said. Rozier was the 16th pick of the 2015 draft but should have gone higher in light of his production with the Celtics, Kupchak said in a quote relayed by the team’s PR staff (Twitter link). “We feel like if he was in the draft this year, Terry Rozier would have been a lottery pick,” Kupchak said.
  • Goran Dragic‘s $19.2MM expiring contract gives the Heat a valuable asset to dangle in a trade to continue their roster makeover, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. They could use it this offseason to acquire another star player such as Russell Westbrook, whom the Heat are reportedly interested in, or at the February trading deadline.

Grizzlies Trade Parsons To Hawks For Plumlee, Hill

JULY 7: The trade is official, the Hawks announced in a press release.

JULY 3: The Grizzlies and Hawks have agreed to a trade, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that Memphis will send Chandler Parsons to Atlanta in exchange for Solomon Hill and Miles Plumlee.

Like the Hawks’ trade earlier this offseason of Kent Bazemore for Evan Turner, this deal will be a swap of expiring contracts and will be a virtual wash in terms of salary. Unlike that Bazemore/Turner trade though, it’s not clear if any of the players involved in this deal will actually see regular playing time in 2019/20.

Parsons, who will earn about $25.1MM next season, signed a four-year, maximum-salary contract with the Grizzlies during the summer of 2016, but battled injuries and failed to make an impact for the team during his three seasons in Memphis. In total, he appeared in just 95 games over three years, averaging 7.2 PPG and 2.6 RPG with a .393/.341/.779 shooting line.

Parsons and the Grizzlies had a particularly tumultuous year in 2018/19, with Parsons claiming in December that he was healthy and that the team was refusing to play him. He later took a leave of absence from the club.

According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), the two sides were unable to reach an agreement on a buyout this summer, so Memphis will send Parsons to Atlanta, removing a potential distraction from the roster. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks points out (via Twitter), the mid-sized contracts of Plumlee and Hill will be easier for the Grizzlies to move in subsequent deals.

It remains to be seen if the Hawks believe Parsons has the ability to be an on-court contributor for them in 2019/20. Even if they don’t plan to play (or keep) him, there are a couple potential benefits for Atlanta. Moving two contracts for one will open up a roster spot, and Parsons’ salary is worth slightly less than the combined total of the salaries for Plumlee ($12.5MM) and Hill ($12.76MM).

A pair of separate trades will need to be completed before this one can be finalized. Hill is going from New Orleans to Atlanta in a trade involving the No. 4 pick, which in turn is part of the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis trade. The Pelicans/Lakers swap will need to be made official first, followed by the Pelicans/Hawks deal, then the Hawks/Grizzlies trade.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Celtics Notes: Irving, Harrison, Free Agency

It seems pretty evident at this point that the Celtics and point guard Kyrie Irving will go their own ways this summer. And if prior reports weren’t enough to convince you, ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan’s report while appearing on the Hoop Collective podcast (h/t to Alexis Mansanarez of Sporting News) this week should do the trick.

Per MacMullan, by the time this past season ended, Irving had issues with the city of Boston itself, as well as head coach Brad Stevens, general manager Danny Ainge, and teammates Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown.

“I’ve been told this by many people: He didn’t like living in Boston,” MacMullan said. “He just didn’t. By the end, he had issues with Brad. By the end he had issues with Danny. By the end he had issues with pretty much all of us.”

There’s more news from Boston this weekend:

  • With Al Horford poised to leave Boston in free agency and Aron Baynes in agreement to be traded to the Suns, the Celtics really need to focus on obtaining some more big men in free agency to help fill out the roster alongside Robert Williams and Guerschon Yabusele, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston.
  • Should the Celtics strike out in free agency, a potential back-up plan is to absorb another team’s large, unwanted veteran contract with one season left on their deal in addition to attached future assets, per Brian Robb of Boston Sports Journal. One name that comes to mind is Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons.
  • According to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, free agent guard Aaron Harrison, who last played in the NBA for the Mavericks during the 2017/18 season, will join the Celtics for summer league play. Per Givony, Harrison is coming off an outstanding season in Turkey with Galatasaray, and he looks to be interested in turning that success into another NBA contract.

And-Ones: Wizards, Thompson, Parsons, Grizzlies

The Wizards are conducting several interviews for their head of basketball operations opening this week. Former Hawks GM Danny Ferry met with the team on Tuesday and current Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas is also in town for his meeting, as we relayed earlier today.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link) reports that Thunder VP of basketball operations Troy Weaver was in D.C. as well to interview for the position. Interim GM Tommy Sheppard is also under consideration.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Marc Stein of the New York Times believes Klay Thompson is “100 percent staying put with the Warriors and will not consider external suitors,” as he writes in his latest newsletter. Thompson will be a free agent at the end of the season.
  • Chandler Parsons had some encouraging stretches for the Grizzlies and he hopes to build on that progress, as David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal passes along. “I’m going to continue to do all the right things this summer and put myself in the best situation to play a lot of games next year,” Parsons said. “Where that will be, I don’t know. You’ve got to ask the guys upstairs. But I’m fully committed to the team and coming back, if that’s what it’s going to be.”
  • Parsons has one year left on his four-year, $94MM deal and Cobb (same piece) wonders if the team will be able to trade the forward. The scribe believes the Grizzlies would have to attach an asset to Parsons in order to extract any value from a trade despite Parsons showing progress this season.

Southwest Notes: Parsons, House, Mills, Capela

Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons is set to rejoin the rotation for the remainder of the season, David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. Parsons has played just three games this season, mutually agreeing to separate from the team early last month as trade talks began to heat up.

“He’ll get minutes like everybody else,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said of Parsons, according to Cobb. “Because of the layoff, he’ll probably have to play through some bumps. But the expectation is for him to contribute and help us win. Those are the guys I’ll always play.”

Parsons’ tenure with the Grizzlies has been tumultuous since he originally joining the franchise on a maximum-salary deal in the summer of 2016. Despite his future looking murky before this month’s deadline, Parsons insists he had no interest in leaving the team in a trade.

“Honestly, no,” Parsons said. “This is just as new a start as going to a new team, except that I’m familiar with the city, familiar with the coaching staff, the defensive terminology. I wanted to play. I’ve wanted to play since I was cleared two months ago. That hasn’t changed. I chose to come here, and I still want to be here. I wasn’t going to just stay in L.A. and watch my team play for the last six weeks of the season. I was going to come, and that’s that.”

Parsons was sidelined to start the season with knee soreness, but has worked his way back to game shape after several months away from the court. The Grizzlies own the second-worst record in the Western Conference at 23-36.

There’s more from the Southwest Division tonight:

  • Danuel House is hopeful to return to the Rockets this season, he stated in an interview with David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders. “Hopefully I can go back to Houston and compete for a title,” he said. “There’s nothing like learning from James [Harden] and Chris Paul, Gerald Green, Eric Gordon and those guys. And now with the additions of [Iman] Shumpert and Kenneth Faried, I’m just excited to hopefully get something done so I can be out there and competing with those guys.” House was unable to agree on a new contract with the Rockets last month, currently playing for the team’s G League affiliate in Rio Grande.
  • Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News details how Patty Mills became the heart and soul of the Spurs, labeling his leadership, commitment and selfless style of play with the franchise over the past eight seasons. “It’s much bigger than me, much bigger than what all of us here today are,” Mills said. “It’s about the past, and about the future. I think it’s really important for the new guys to understand that.”
  • The Rockets are excited about the return of Clint Capela, who missed 15 straight games following thumb surgery and is set to return on Thursday against the Lakers, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. “We’re excited to get Clint back,” teammate P.J. Tucker said. “Clint is a huge piece to our team and he makes a lot of other people’s jobs a lot easier. He makes our defense be able to switch on to guards and be able to guard guards and protect the rim as well, changes the dynamic for us.”

Chandler Parsons To Rejoin Grizzlies After All-Star Break

The Grizzlies were unable to deal Chandler Parsons ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline and the veteran is now set to rejoin the team after the All-Star break, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Parsons, 30, took an indefinite leave from the team in early January after both sides could not come to an agreement on his playing time. He left the Grizzlies’ third game of the season due to right knee soreness and has not played since.

“I am extremely disappointed that I didn’t get to finish this season alongside my teammates and the Memphis coaching staff,” Parsons told ESPN. “Unfortunately that option wasn’t presented to me.

“The Grizzlies training staff medically cleared me to play 5-on-5 in mid-December and I have been practicing with the team ever since. I will continue to work out and train until my agent and the team reach a resolution. I am ready to play and committed to getting back on the court.”

In late December, Parsons cast blame on general manager Chris Wallace for keeping him sidelined. The team reportedly wanted to send Parsons to the G League but refused to tell him how long the stint would last. Under the collective bargaining agreement, veteran players have the power to refuse G League assignments.

“No communication. No nothing,” Parsons said at the time. “I don’t think it’s from a basketball standpoint. It’s definitely not from a health standpoint. I’ve been cleared by the medical staff of our organization, and clearly it’s not about fitting. I already earned a starting spot out of training camp and have shown I can fit with the team. I think the confusion for me is there’s no communication about what’s going on and when I’m going to play.”

Parson will not go to the G League before his return, tweets Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian.

At his peak, Parsons averaged 16.6 PPG and 5.5 RPG in 74 games with the Rockets in 2013/14. Memphis signed Parsons to a four-year, $94.6MM max contract in July 2016. However, a series of injuries have limited Parsons to just 73 games (45 starts) since joining the Grizzlies.

After several deadline deals, most notably the trade of Marc Gasol to the Raptors, the Grizzlies are a different team from when Parsons initially took an indefinite leave. Now, it remains to be seen how he will fit in with the current roster.

Kings, Pistons Show Interest In Marc Gasol

The Kings and Pistons have expressed interest in Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, according to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, citing multiple sources.

The Grizzlies are trying to dump Chandler Parsons‘ contract in the deal. That complicates any potential transaction involving Gasol, since he has a player option for next season worth $25.6MM, O’Connor notes.

Gasol and Parsons are making a combined $48.2MM this season, so packaging them together and making the salaries match up with a trade partner would obviously be a challenging task. Parsons has another guaranteed $25MM remaining in the final year of his contract next season.

Memphis’ willingness to deal its two big-name veterans, Gasol and point guard Mike Conley, became public last week. The Grizzlies have fallen out of the playoff picture, putting them in a seller’s mode.

The motivation for the two suitors mentioned is unclear.

The Kings have been linked to Dallas forward Harrison Barnes as well as Atlanta guard Jeremy Lin in recent weeks. They also showed interest in Knicks center Enes Kanter before talks broke down. So the Kings are seemingly itching to make a move before the February 7th deadline.

How Gasol would fit into their immediate plans is a question mark, since Sacramento has a number of young bigs. It began Monday three games out of the final Western Conference playoff spot. Sacramento’s highest-paid players, Zach Randolph ($11.1MM) and Iman Shumpert ($11.0MM) have expiring contracts, as does Kosta Koufos ($8.74MM).

The Pistons’ interest in Gasol would be centered around dumping salary, so they’d probably have to sweeten the pot with a future first-rounder and a young player. Reggie Jackson, Jon Leuer and Langston Galloway fit the category of bad contracts that run through next season. Detroit is two games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference despite a prolonged slide.

Alternatively, Detroit could go into full rebuild mode and put Andre Drummond in a deal involving Gasol in order to free up much-needed cap space. If the Pistons were to acquire Gasol without including Drummond in the trade, Gasol would have to come off the bench behind Drummond and Blake Griffin.