Offseason In Review: Memphis Grizzlies

Hoops Rumors is in the process of looking back at each team’s offseason, from the end of the playoffs in June right up until opening night. Trades, free agent signings, draft picks, contract extensions, option decisions, camp invitees, and more will be covered, as we examine the moves each franchise made over the last several months.

Signings

Extensions

Trades

  • Acquired 2014 pick No. 35 from the Jazz in exchange for the more favorable of Toronto’s and Boston’s 2016 second-round picks.

Waiver Claims

  • None

Draft Picks

Camp Invitees

Departing Players

Rookie Contract Option Decisions

  • None

After a rough start to the 2013/14 season, the Grizzlies got Marc Gasol back into the lineup and got back to the kind of basketball that we’re accustomed to.  From January on, they fired on all cylinders and managed to make the playoffs as the No. 7 seed in the brutally tough West.  The Grizzlies pushed the Thunder to a seven game series in the first round and coach Dave Joerger was, well, nearly fired.  You read that right.

After owner Robert Pera fired assistant GM Stu Lash, CEO Jason Levien followed him out the door, putting the futures of Joerger, front office exec John Hollinger, and others in question.  The Wolves came calling for Joerger but, ultimately, he wound up staying put while GM Chris Wallace saw his power restored.

The biggest question surrounding the Grizzlies offseason was whether they would keep Zach Randolph in place.  Randolph had a $16.5MM option on 2014/15 but was pushing hard for an extension.  Right after the draft, Z-Bo picked up his option and the two sides shook hands on a two-year, $20MM deal, which would seem to be a pretty fair deal for both sides.  Randolph, 33, gets a nice payday on what could be his last big deal.  The Grizzlies, meanwhile, get to keep their star forward at a reasonable price.

Randolph might not be a top flight player in his age 35 season, but the additional two years on his contract is preferable to the three that he was seeking.  And, it’s hard to say how things would have played out for Z-Bo in free agency, but he was one of the top players available on the open market and ranked 10th in our free agent power rankings at the time.  The new deal wasn’t cheap, but Randolph was bound to find other lucrative offers elsewhere.

While one big name vet was retained, Memphis lost another.  The Grizzlies were discussing a new deal with Mike Miller for some time over the summer but eventually they informed him that they’d be going in a different direction.

That direction, it turns out, was vertical: the Grizzlies replaced the sharpshooting Miller with prolific high flyer Vince Carter.  VC can’t get up like he used to, but he averaged a solid 11.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 3.7 APG in 24.4 minutes per night for Dallas last season.  He’s also a pretty solid outside shooter, even if he’s not on Miller’s level in that regard.  The eight-time All-Star came aboard on a three-year, $12.264MM deal, though the final year of the pact is only partially guaranteed.  As Carter later explained, Dallas had him on the backburner while they waited to see how the Chandler Parsons situation would turn out.  Memphis gave him something of a take-it-or-leave-it offer, and he had little choice.

I kind of understood how it goes from there. It’s a business. I get it, so there’s no hard feelings or anything like that. I understand how it goes. It was a great situation, a great offer from Memphis. It was kind of like, ‘If I pass on this now, what would be left here [in Dallas] for me?’ Obviously not much. Had to move on,Carter said in October.

The Grizzlies’ other signing was a move to keep one of their own – guard Beno Udrih.  Beno didn’t see a lot of burn for Memphis during the regular season – just 55 minutes, in fact – but he played a key role for them in the playoffs when Nick Calathes was suspended.  Udrih averaged 7.9 points and 1.7 assists in 16.4 minutes per game in that first round series and was rewarded with a two-year, $4.247MM deal.

With Ed Davis and James Johnson moving on, the Grizzlies got reinforcements in the draft.  With the No. 22 overall pick, Memphis selected UCLA shooting guard Jordan Adams, a player widely regarded as one of the draft’s best scorers but also one of the worst athletes in the class.  Some people aren’t crazy about the pick, especially since Duke guard Rodney Hood was still on the board, but time will tell if the advanced stats tell the real story when it comes to Adams.  In the second round, the Grizzlies plucked blue collar rebounder Jarnell Stokes out of Tennessee.  Stokes doesn’t have world class athleticism or size (he’s only 6’6″), but he has tons of grit and is deceptively strong.

All in all, it was a rather quiet offseason in Memphis.  But, given the chaos of the spring, that’s just fine for the Grizzlies.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

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