Southwest Notes: Jackson, Grizz Roster, Rockets, Pelicans

Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. will be eligible for a contract extension of his rookie deal in August, and Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal contends that Memphis’ executive VP Zach Kleiman should exercise caution with Jackson, who has been healthy for just 126 of a possible 227 regular season games across his three seasons with the Grizzlies.

Barnes notes that the Grizzlies could take some steps to insure themselves against future Jackson maladies, like possibly baking an Exhibit 3 clause into a new contract to temper Jackson’s guaranteed money. The Grizzlies can opt to hold off on inking Jackson to an extension until October 18, the day before the 2021/22 season is set to begin.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • With the young Grizzlies having officially entered their offseason, Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian takes a look at the club’s most valuable players. Point guard Ja Morant, Jackson, and wing Dillon Brooks comprise Herrington’s top three. Herrington wonders about the offensive ceiling of Brooks and the long-term healthy of JJJ.
  • The suddenly-rebuilding Rockets find themselves faced with a variety of offseason questions, writes Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Iko thinks that Houston may look to add some intriguing, cost-effective restricted free agents this summer, along the lines of Bulls power forward Lauri Markkanen and Lakers shooting guard Talen Horton-Tucker, tantalizing role players who may be asked to do more with a developing Houston club. Iko also opines on which of the Rockets’ own restricted free agents will be retained. He notes that, in more minor free agency news, that the Rockets may look to shore up their center depth behind Christian Wood.
  • To get back into the playoff mix, the Pelicans need to add more perimeter shooting this offseason, writes Christian Clark of A revamped Pelicans roster in the 2020/21 season, led by new coach Stan Van Gundy, finished the year ranked 25th in three-point attempts and 26th in three-point percentage. The team’s lack of consistent reliable perimeter scorers made it easier for defenses to game-plan against its best players, forwards Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.
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