The Grizzlies have signed point guard Kalin Lucas, the team announced. The move is intended to fortify the team’s depth as Mike Conley nurses a tender ankle, according to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal, who originally reported the deal (Twitter link). Memphis has been carrying only 14 players, as our roster counts show, so the team has room to accommodate Lucas without letting anyone go. Lucas was with the Grizzlies during the summer league and in preseason before Memphis cut him a few days shy of opening night, as Tillery points out. Terms of the deal aren’t immediately clear, and while GM Chris Wallace has slightly more than the rookie minimum salary left on the team’s mid-level exception to float Lucas extra cash, make the deal a long-term arrangement, or both, it seems unlikely he would do so.
The 25-year-old Lucas went undrafted out of Michigan State in 2011, but he’s clearly made a strong impression on the Grizzlies in his time with the club. He played in all eight of the team’s preseason games, averaging 3.1 points and 1.0 assists in 8.0 minutes per contest. He put up 17.0 PPG and 3.4 APG in 33.4 MPG in his senior year with the Spartans in 2010/11 before spending time in Turkey, Greece and the D-League over the first three years of his pro career.
Memphis already had three point guards on its roster before adding Lucas, but Nick Calathes still has nine games to go on his 20-game drug-related suspension, which left Beno Udrih as the only available point guard if Conley had been unable to play. The Grizzlies haven’t felt any ill effects so far, having sprinted to a 4-0 start.