Grizzlies Acquire Mario Chalmers

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

5:10pm: The trade is official, the Heat and Grizzlies have announced, though no mention was made of a second-rounder changing hands in the deal. “This is a tough day for myself and the organization in trading Mario Chalmers and James Ennis,” said Heat president Pat Riley. “Mario was a part of two championships with us and Ennis is a solid young player, but it is part of the business and it was a move necessary to make because of our crowded backcourt. We feel that it is in the best interest of Mario and we want him to be successful and be a part of a good team. We wish them nothing but the best. We would also like to welcome Beno Udrih, an accomplished veteran and someone that has playoff and championship experience, and the addition of Jarnell Stokes, a young player that we would like to develop.

4:04pm: The Heat don’t see either Udrih or Stokes as long-term pieces, but they’d still execute the two-team trade with the Grizzlies if they can’t find a third team, Stein writes. The ESPN scribe also invokes Andersen’s name, suggesting that he remains available.

2:57pm: The Heat are looking for a third team willing to take Udrih, Stokes or both, and that’s keeping the deal with the Grizzlies from becoming official, reports Marc Stein of (Twitter links). Miami has the option of simply pulling off the two-teamer with Memphis, but the Heat would prefer to include a third team, Stein adds.

12:27pm: The Grizzlies and Heat are have agreed to a deal that will send Mario Chalmers and James Ennis to Memphis for Beno Udrih, Jarnell Stokes and a second-round pick, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links). Wojnarowski’s full story indicates Miami is receiving a second-round pick from Memphis, too, but it makes no mention of, who was in Wojnarowski’s Twitter report, which didn’t include the second-rounder. In any case, the teams are preparing for a trade call with the league office today, Wojnarowski notes. Marc Stein of first reported a week ago that the sides had talked about a potential trade involving Chalmers, and a few days later Stein wrote about growing concern within the Grizzlies organization amid a slow start. Memphis, at 3-4, next plays Wednesday at home against the Warriors.

The move is a cost-cutter for the Heat, who give up the $4.3MM salary of Chalmers in exchange for Udrih and his pay of $2.17MM, which is only a little more than half of what Chalmers makes. Stokes and Ennis are have identical one-year veteran’s minimum salaries, though Stokes has a full guarantee while Ennis has a partial guarantee of only about $254K, since he and the Heat reworked the terms of his contract before the start of the regular season. Memphis will likely use part of its $967,500 trade exception left over from the offseason Jon Leuer deal to absorb the $845,059 that Stokes makes and offset the unbalanced exchange of salaries, notes Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (on Twitter).

Miami is set to remove about $6MM from its potential luxury tax bill with the trade, according to Wojnarowski, though the tax isn’t calculated until the final day of the regular season. The Heat would still be in line to pay repeat-offender tax penalties in the wake of today’s deal, and many of the same offseason rumors that raised the idea of a Chalmers trade also made mention of Chris Andersen, who could be the next to go, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel speculates (Twitter link).

Memphis hasn’t been pleased with the play of its bench and hopes that Chalmers will be an upgrade behind starting point guard Mike Conley, league sources told Wojnarowski. Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal had heard from some people, ostensibly around the Grizzlies, who quietly expressed disappointment with what they perceived to be Udrih’s lack of conditioning, athleticism and defense, and the team wasn’t ready to turn the backup job over to third-stringer Russ Smith, Tillery also wrote.

A desire to avoid the tax plus confidence in Tyler Johnson and Gerald Green helped prompt the Heat to make the move, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link), though Green remains away from the team following his hospitalization last week. Green is out of the hospital and is reportedly expected to return to the team soon, however. In any case, the acquisition of Udrih gives the team an experienced backup at the point as it attempts to regain its status among the Eastern Conference elite, even with the concerns about Udrih from Memphis. Of course, no guarantee exists that the team won’t flip Udrih to further its efforts to dodge the tax, tweets Ethan Skolnick of the Miami Herald.

Chalmers first became a trade candidate in June, when Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of reported that the Heat were shopping him and Andersen to try to clear room for a new deal with Dwyane Wade. Team president Pat Riley denied that, ESPN’s Zach Lowe heard in July that Chalmers and Andersen could be had “for nothing” in return, which speaks to the idea that the Heat wanted their salaries off the books. Miami had apparently backed away, at least temporarily, from the idea of a Chalmers trade by late August, but at that point they wouldn’t rule out a deal as soon as October, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported.

The Grizzlies have to renounce cap holds for unsigned free agents from years past who didn’t return to the NBA, notes former Nets executive Bobby Marks (All Twitter links). The cap holds they’re renouncing are the ones for Gilbert Arenas, Leon Powe, Stephen Hunter and Marcus D. Williams, according to Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal (Twitter link). That’s because those cap holds technically put the Grizzlies over the tax line, which would mean they could only take in 125% plus $100K of what they sent out — not enough to accommodate this deal, as Marks explains. Renouncing the cap holds would up that limit to 150% plus $100K, which allows the trade to take place, Marks notes.

Which team do you think is getting the better end of this deal? Leave a comment to let us know.

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10 thoughts on “Grizzlies Acquire Mario Chalmers

  1. formerlyz

    As much as I’ve talked about moving Rio, he has been good for us in multiple guard lineups as a combo guard, and I don’t feel that this is the time to make a deal, considering the way that Dragic has played on both ends of the floor. I’m going to miss him. He has been here for 7+ years after being a 2nd round pick, and obviously gave us big contributions in our back to back Championship runs. He will always be part of the Miami Heat

    Meanwhile, I don’t like including Ennis in the deal as well. This will open up a roster spot to add the shooter we need, but this is a subtraction for now (though I expect Josh Richardson to get more playing time now with Rio gone)

    For memphis, I expect Ennis to step into the rotation. He gives them much needed athleticism on the wing, and he can knock down the 3 at a decent clip. Chalmers is an obvious upgrade over Udrih, who hasn’t been nearly as good as he was the last year and a half

    • We should have kept Cole and traded Chalmers instead. Cole scores just as much as Chalmers and plays better defense. I did not like that we got rid of him.

      Beno is a good pickup though. He can still play and contribute. I was just hoping for something better.

      • formerlyz

        Obviously, I’m a big fan of Norris, but I’m guessing that he was necessary to get Dragic

  2. This is absolute garbage, I officially despise Micky Arison, get him out of here asap

    • formerlyz

      Now we have 2 put of shape guards on the roster…

      I have to think that this has some to do with wanting to get Josh Richardson more playing time as a combo guard, and not entirely to do with tax issues. Otherwise, I think the Heat probably wait longer to make a deal. Also, we opened up a roster spot, and got a 2nd round pick, which is what we were looking for in moving Rio

  3. rxbrgr

    My guess is that Stokes was acquired via one of Miami’s TPE, probably the smaller one from the Napier trade. That would then let them create a new TPE that’s the difference of Chalmers’ and Udrih’s salaries, so worth ~$2.13MM.

    • Chuck Myron

      That sounds about right, rxbrgr, though we’ll see how that turns out if this turns into a three-teamer.

  4. Jeremy

    Will always miss Rio (and Norris Cole)… but sadly time moves on. 7+ great years, 2 titles, 4 EC titles…. he’s there on the Heats all time greats list. Nothing but the best brother. Hope he wins every game he’s not playing the Heat in.

  5. formerlyZ

    As I speculated, and Pat Riley later confirmed, the move seemed to be more about getting Josh Richardson into the rotation, as well as solidifying Tyler Johnson’s spot. I would assume that they will still eventually attempt to open up a roster spot to add a shooter. I dont think they would have made the deal now had they not felt strongly about Richardson, and his ability as a combo guard right now, and obviously moving forward, especially on the defensive end. Also, I think they genuinely wanted to do well by both Rio and James Ennis. Both of them will see more consistent minutes in Memphis. On a final note, I’ve heard that the Heat were interested in Jarnell Stokes before the draft last year, and Pat Riley referred to him as “a beast,” when referencing him in his press conference. I dont know if that means they see him as a long term piece, and what that means for Birdman, but I would assume they will want to take a look at him before opening that spot up later on, and pursuing the shooter I mentioned once buyouts start happening

    All of that being said, the timing is definitely the part that I’m not entirely on board with, but I also have spoken about them moving Rio since the draft, and I personally am high on both Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson. At the end of the day, its not hard to trust in Pat Riley, especially when he just continues to be able to read our situation, and understand our needs moving forward. His vision is legit amazing. I have full confidence that he already has his sights on what they will do later on this season when the time comes to add that shooter. In the meantime, this team is top 4 in defensive efficiency, and is top 5 in differential efficiency early on. They’re fun to watch. We’ll miss Rio, but its rare to see a guy stay with an organization for as long as he has been here, and this team is evolving with some real energetic young athletes

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