Grizzlies’ Postgame Meeting Turns Physical

The Grizzlies‘ slide down the Western Conference standings continued on Wednesday, as the team lost its third consecutive game – and 10th of 13 – to slip below .500 for the first time since October. After the game, frustrations with that slump boiled over in Memphis’ locker room, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports that veterans Garrett Temple and Omri Casspi were involved in an altercation after a team meeting turned physical.

League sources tell Charania that the meeting began with coaches and players “questioning each other about their effort and what each can do to improve.” However, when the bench unit was accused of a lack of enthusiasm, Casspi “became vocal in his defense.” Temple and Casspi had a verbal exchange which turned physical before the two men were separated, per Charania.

A source tells ESPN.com that the scuffle between Temple and Casspi was “heat-of-the-moment stuff,” and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff didn’t mention it during his post-game comments. At the time that Bickerstaff addressed the media, approximately 30 minutes later than expected, news of the physical altercation hadn’t yet leaked, giving the coach some leeway to downplay what happened in the locker room.

“A conversation that needed to be had that will stay between those of us that were in that locker room,” Bickerstaff said, according to Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian. “I think addressing larger issues was the conversation that we needed to have. Right now it’s not X’s and O’s that need to be resolved. I think we resolved some of those issues tonight.”

The Grizzlies, who were 15-9 less than a month ago, now sit at 18-19, tied with the Mavericks for 10th in the West. Memphis is still within striking distance of the top eight, 2.5 games back of the Spurs (No. 7) and Lakers (No. 8), but the club will need to right the ship soon in order to avoid slipping further out of the playoff race in a competitive conference.

Temple and Casspi are both in contract years, on track to become unrestricted free agents this summer, so it wouldn’t be hard to trade one of them before next month’s deadline. However, there’s no indication at this point that that would be necessary. Of the two, Temple is the least expendable — he has started 37 games and averaged 31.8 MPG this season, emerging as a veteran leader for the Grizzlies after arriving from Sacramento in an offseason trade.

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7 thoughts on “Grizzlies’ Postgame Meeting Turns Physical

  1. Welcome back to reality. That’s more like the level at which Memphis belongs, they only have an ageing star in Gasol & a budding one in JJJ, the rest is just a collection of serviceable or just plain average guys. Cannot see them hanging on around the playoff spots much longer.

      • ColossusOfClout

        Conley is over rated. Occasionally he steps up and has a big game then slinks back into mediocrity.

        • GuruGray

          Reggie Jackson is mediocre lol. Conley is in the upper half of the league at point

        • Jason Lancaster

          Conley is a top tier PG – he’s right with Kyle Lowry (top 10) if you look at VORP, ranked 8th for the reason in BPM excluding players who don’t play much, etc.

          All the advanced metrics say that Conley is a top 10 guy. My eyes think that too.

  2. Jason Lancaster

    Memphis had a really soft schedule to start the season. They got the Hawks, Suns, Wizards, and Mavs in the first month of the season, when all 4 teams were playing poorly. They go the Wolves right in the midst of the Butler BS, they got the Jazz twice while Mitchell was hurt, and so on.

    They definitely had some quality wins too, but their record now seems about right. Not quite good, not quite bad. In the West, that leaves you out of the playoffs.

    The question is, do they blow it up or not? Gasol seems like he’s as good as gone, and if Gasol goes it makes sense to move Conley. Maybe Conley is easier to move this summer, but still…this is a team that seems poised to blow it up.

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