NBA Free Agency threw up a number of shocks in the first week of July, with moves to the Golden State Warriors for Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade to the Chicago Bulls changing the entire landscape of the league.
But a more under the radar surprise came in Tennessee, with Chandler Parsons opting to leave the Dallas Mavericks after a two-year stint to join the Memphis Grizzlies.
Why was it a surprise?
The main reason this was such a surprise is that Parsons, one of the better free-agents available this summer, appeared as if he would have been more than happy to stay in Dallas and no indication throughout the year pointed towards an exit.
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Parsons had a close relationship with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and seemed as though he would be one of the key pieces for the side heading into the future as Dirk Nowitzki edges closer towards retirement.
This past season he had produced an unspectacular number of points per game at an average of 13.7, however, that was much more reasonable when you consider Parsons begun the season on a strict minutes restriction following knee surgery last May, and had his season ended again with minor knee surgery.
But when you look closely, in the time that he was on court, Parsons scored those points extremely efficiently. He shot almost 50% from the field and over 41% from three-point range, which is nothing to be scoffed at.
How does Parsons improve the Grizzlies?
That last figure is particularly important, and something the Grizzlies will be very much looking forward to when Parsons gets on the floor at the start of the new campaign, as shooting from distance has been something the side has struggled with most in recent years.
It is also the clearest indication yet that the Grizzlies are moving away from their old-fashioned ‘Grit and Grind’ style which bought them success in the past few seasons, first under Lionel Hollins and then Dave Joerger, who departed this offseason for the Sacramento Kings.
Memphis now finally have three stars with which to build their side around, as point guard Mike Conley Jr has now been given the biggest contract in NBA history – 5 years, $152million - to remain with the side, and Spanish center Marc Gasol will make his comeback from injury prior to the new season.
Parsons made attempts while in Dallas to recruit players from opposition team to joining him at the Mavericks in the hope of winning a title, and has already said he is happy to be part of that process once again in Memphis as the team try to round out their squad.
Mavericks have dealt with exit well
As for the Mavericks, what looked like a summer that may have sudden thrown the future of the franchise up in the air, while 28 other teams were left in a state of panic after Kevin Durant joined the Golden State Warriors, Dallas opted to pounce.
They not only used thee Durant trade as a way to acquire center Andrew Bogut, former number one overall pick in the draft, who the Warriors had to rid themselves of to clear cap room for Durant, but also signed Harrison Barnes to a huge contract, who will now act as a replacement for Parsons.
Any time you are able to add two starting players from a team that won an NBA-record 73 games the previous season you take that opportunity, and Dallas certainly seem to have capitalised where others faltered, and it could see them at least remain competitive for the next couple of seasons while Cuban’s franchise regroups.
Dallas, for better or worse, deemed that Parsons was not a max-contract player for them. Whether that is down to injuries we may never know, but the Memphis Grizzlies are certainly delighted with their pickup and, if he can stay healthy, have a new star going forward.