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VOL. 9 | NO. 28 | Saturday, July 9, 2016

Grizzlies Introduce Free Agent Signee Chandler Parsons

By Don Wade

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Fans who had gathered in the lobby of FedExForum began cheering as soon free agent signee Chandler Parsons came into view – wearing a plum suit – and walking with Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace toward a table where they would sit and conduct a historic press conference.

Memphis Grizzlies fans on Friday met the team's new free agent signee Chandler Parsons, a 3-point sharpshooter who said his style of play "fits perfectly" with the Grizzlies. (Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

On Thursday, July 7, Parsons signed a four-year contract in excess of $94 million, becoming the most significant NBA free agent to pick Memphis over other suitors. On Friday, Parsons, 27, clearly was taken aback by the warm reception he received from fans – many of them wearing Grizzlies gear.

“This is unbelievable, to have this kind of turnout,” said Parsons, a 6-10, 230-pound forward who over five seasons with Houston and Dallas has averaged 14.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists while shooting 38 percent behind the arc. “I think we’ve got some special things brewing and it will be a really fun season.”

Parsons and point guard Mike Conley, who re-signed with Memphis at five years and $153 million, had been in contact for some time. Parsons said he was intrigued about playing with Conley and other Core Four players in center Marc Gasol, power forward Zach Randolph and defensive stopper Tony Allen.

But Parsons also considered Portland, which came with a strong offer.

“I wanted to go through the process,” he said, adding that when meeting with Grizzlies management, including Wallace and new coach David Fizdale in Los Angeles, “It automatically felt right. Their whole vision of how to use me” and the fan support in Memphis.

The move addressed the team’s long-enduring problem of not enough outside shooting and Wallace said, “You have to have perimeter power to win a championship.”

Like Conley and Gasol, Parsons has had injury issues. Last season with Dallas, he set his career high for 3-point field goal percentage at 41.4 percent. But his season was cut short by tearing a meniscus in his right knee. The previous season with the Mavericks he had a cartilage issue in his right knee.

Wallace brushed aside a question about any health concerns.

“If we weren’t 100 percent sold on Chandler, we wouldn’t be having this press conference today,” Wallace said.

While playing with the Rockets, Parsons set his career scoring high with 34 points on Jan. 24, 2014 against the Grizzlies at the Toyota Center. He had just four points at halftime, but made 10 treys in the second half – setting an NBA record for 3-pointers in a half.

The Grizzlies, who have been near the bottom of the league in threes taken and made for years, have plenty of shots from deep available.

“My style of play fits perfectly,” Parsons said.

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