Anthony Tolliver

Grizzlies Notes: Morant, Tolliver, Cap Room, Draft Pick

Ja Morant‘s 35-point performance against the Trail Blazers Saturday was even more remarkable considering he was playing with a fractured right thumb, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. The likely Rookie of the Year told reporters he suffered the injury four games ago.

It’s the latest in a series of mishaps that left the Grizzlies fighting for their playoff life in Orlando after holding a 3 1/2-game lead for the eighth seed when the hiatus began. Jaren Jackson Jr., Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow were all unavailable as the team tried to hang on. Still, Memphis was among the league’s biggest surprises this year and is already looking forward to next season.

“I’m proud of everybody — our whole staff, our players. I mean, we played through a lot of adversities,” Morant said. “We faced injuries early in the season — starting with me and then Brandon (Clarke) and then Jaren. Coming here, we still faced some injuries to some key guys on the team. But we never gave up. I’m proud of our fight.”

There’s more on the Grizzlies:

  • Anthony Tolliver, who started the season with Portland, told Morant to use Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard as an example as he develops his game, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Tolliver is most impressed by the way Lillard bounces back after failure. “I told Ja that has to be in your DNA,” Tolliver said. “If you want to be the best guard in this league, which you have the potential to be, that has to be in your DNA, the ability to learn to respond and lead your team when you need it.”
  • Memphis has its entire projected starting five under contract through at least 2021/22, so it won’t need to make any major moves this offseason, writes Bobby Marks of ESPN. The addition of Winslow and Gorgui Dieng at the trade deadline, along with the decision to take on Dion Waiters‘ $12.7MM salary, means the Grizzlies won’t have any cap room to work with. They will have an estimated $9.3MM mid-level exception, part of which may be used to re-sign De’Anthony Melton and Josh Jackson.
  • Saturday’s loss puts the Grizzlies in the lottery, but their pick will go to the Celtics unless they land a top-four selection in Thursday’s drawing, Marks tweets. If Memphis holds onto the pick, it will become unprotected next year (Twitter link).

Southwest Notes: Ingram, Popovich, Doncic, Zion

Brandon Ingram had planned to be a Lakers star for a long time, but that changed when Anthony Davis became available last summer. Ingram was part of a package of young talent that was sent to the Pelicans for the star big man, but he has fond memories of his three seasons in Los Angeles, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register.

“I think it’s love from each end, because if it was a bad remark or a negative remark, maybe go back, re-tune something and get better at it,” he said of his relationship with Lakers fans. “If it was a good remark, then I thank them for knowing the game of basketball and the person that I am, and that I was gonna get better. So it’s all love from each side. I still got love for the Laker fans, I still got love for the Duke fans.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Gregg Popovich continues to stress player development even though his Spurs are in the middle of the battle for the eighth and ninth seeds in the Western Conference, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Veteran guard Patty Mills sat out Friday’s win over the Jazz to give time to Keldon Johnson, Quinndary Weatherspoon and Drew Eubanks, none of whom have playoff experience. “This is all about development, I’ve said that from the beginning,” Popovich said. “The young guys, they get evaluated, we see them playing together and we get to determine how valuable they are in terms of the guys we want to move forward with.”
  • The Grizzlies used a lineup change Friday to pick up their first win since arriving in Orlando, Vardon adds in the same story. Brandon Clarke had been replacing injured big man Jaren Jackson Jr., but coach Taylor Jenkins opted to go with Anthony Tolliver. Memphis outscored Oklahoma City by 21 points while Tolliver was on the court.
  • Three ESPN writers look at what to expect from Mavericks guard Luka Doncic as he gets ready for his first NBA playoff series.
  • Zion Williamson is expected to be ready to face the Spurs tomorrow in a crucial game in the playoff race, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. Williamson missed Friday’s game, but the Pelicans didn’t list anyone on today’s injury report.

Grizzlies Sign Anthony Tolliver For Remainder Of Season

JUNE 23: The signing is official, according to the team’s Twitter feed.

JUNE 22: The Grizzlies and forward Anthony Tolliver have reached a verbal agreement on a deal that can be officially completed once the NBA’s transaction window opens on Tuesday, league sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).

Stein first reported over the weekend that Tolliver was drawing interest from a handful of teams, but appeared likely to rejoin the Grizzlies. According to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link), the veteran free agent ended up deciding between the Grizzlies and Raptors, opting to return to Memphis.

Tolliver, 35, appeared in 33 games for the Trail Blazers this season and another nine with Sacramento before he was bought out by the Kings. In five games on his initial 10-day contract with the Grizzlies, he averaged 5.4 PPG and 2.4 RPG on .381/.412/1.000 shooting in 19.2 minutes per contest.

Tolliver’s last 10-day deal, signed on March 2, had been set to expire on March 11, the night the NBA officially suspended its season. So even if the league had carried over active 10-day pacts once the season resumes, Tolliver would have needed to sign a new contract. He figures to get a rest-of-season deal that will put him on track to reach unrestricted free agency in the fall.

Anthony Tolliver Likely To Re-Sign With Grizzlies

With the NBA’s transaction window starting next week, Anthony Tolliver will likely end up re-signing with the Grizzlies during that period, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times (Twitter link). However, Stein cautions that Tolliver has attracted interest from multiple teams, so the veteran forward’s return to Memphis is not yet a done deal.

Tolliver, 35, was on a 10-day contract with Memphis that was set to expire just before the NBA suspended its season in March. The NBA veteran had split the 2019/20 campaign with the Blazers, Kings and Grizzlies. Across 47 games, he averaged 3.5 PPG and 2.8 RPG.

As Stein mentions in a separate tweet, players who are eligible to be signed are those who held a job in either the NBA or the G League this season. Additionally, players who were not under contract with a team outside of the United States are eligible to be signed as well.

Coronavirus Notes: Tolliver, Dudley, Testing, Asterisk

Add Anthony Tolliver to the list of players who believe there’s strong support throughout the league for finishing the season. Tolliver, a member of the NBPA executive committee, offered some insight into the players’ position during an interview with Darren Wolfson of KSTP (video link).

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that guys want to play, and I think guys want to do it in a safe way,” Tolliver said. “We need to figure out a way where we’re not putting the assistant coaches, especially the older people who would be in that environment, as long as we’re not putting them in serious health risk — I think that’s going to be the biggest key. Guys want to play ball. Guys don’t want to lose money. I think that as long as we have the protocols in place that everybody’s confident in, that’s whenever things will start to pick up some momentum.” 

It was already an eventful year for Tolliver, even before the league shutdown. He left the Timberwolves last summer to sign with the Trail Blazers, then was traded to the Kings in January. Sacramento waived him a month later, and he signed a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies on March 2. Tolliver says he was planning to ink a second 10-day deal on March 12, but the league hiatus got in the way.

There’s more coronavirus-related news:

  • Lakers forward Jared Dudley believes the season will start again in July, probably in a bubble atmosphere in Las Vegas or Orlando, relays Steve Popper of Newsday. Appearing on ESPN Radio in New York, Dudley said the amount of money at stake will drive the league to find a solution. “We’re going to be safe in this bubble because of the testing — we’re going to be doing them before every game,” he said. “That’s why Adam Silver wants to wait another month or two to be able to sign off on it because he wants everybody in society to be able to get tests first. And second, the data will show the virus that between the ages of 19 and 35, it’s what, 0.001% that someone has died and that’s not even a professional athlete.”
  • The NBA’s willingness to push back the start of next season increases the likelihood that this season will be completed, writes Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. He adds that the decision to permit asymptomatic testing in some cities shows that the league is serious about playing again.
  • The unusual circumstances surrounding the end of the season means this year’s champion should receive an asterisk, especially if the playoffs are affected because some players have to be quarantined for two weeks, argues Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. However, ESPN’s Jalen Rose disagrees, telling Mike Singer of the Denver Post that champions have always had to overcome some type of obstacles.

Seven Players On 10-Day Contracts When NBA Suspended Season

A moratorium agreement between the NBA and the NBPA will reportedly affect players on 10-day contracts, as Shams Charania of The Athletic said earlier today. Following up on that point, ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter links) confirms that the clock will stop on the 10-day contracts that were active when the NBA suspended its season.

Presumably, Grizzlies forward Anthony Tolliver won’t be impacted. His 10-day deal with Memphis was set to expire on Wednesday night, the last night of game action before the suspension began. Once the moratorium is lifted and play resumes, he’ll likely have to sign a new 10-day contract or rest-of-season pact with the Grizzlies to remain with the team.

However, there were seven other players whose 10-day contracts had yet to run their course as of Wednesday night. Here are the affected players, with the number of days remaining on their deals noted in parentheses:

We’ll have to wait for official details on the moratorium agreement to confirm exactly how these 10-day deals will be handled.

Based on today’s reports though, it sounds like the contracts for players like Chealey, Hall, and Randle, which would have expired on Thursday night, will carry over to the day the season resumes. A player like Noah, who still had a week left on his 10-day contract, should play out that week following the resumption of the season.

Unless we learn otherwise, our roster counts page and 10-day tracker will assume these seven 10-day contracts remain active.

Western Notes: Conley, Turner, Howard, Suns

After a long, successful run with the Grizzlies, Mike Conley was viewed heading into this season as the player who was going to help turn the Jazz from a solid playoff team into a bona fide contender. However, it has been an up-and-down first season in Utah for Conley, who is averaging just 13.5 PPG on 39.8% shooting.

Speaking to Tony Jones of The Athletic, Conley admitted he hasn’t been able to entirely block out the criticism he has faced this season, and that he understands that criticism.

“Nobody is more frustrated than me,” Conley said. “Not the fans, not the media, not my teammates. I’m not a guy who runs from looking in the mirror. But, at this point, I have to control what I can control. I have to stay locked in. I have to focus on what I can handle. I know what’s being said. But in a big way, it’s not in my control what people may think.”

As Conley gears up for the home stretch and looks to become a consistent, reliable contributor for the Jazz, let’s round up a few more notes from around the Western Conference…

  • The Timberwolves and Evan Turner “came close” to reaching a buyout agreement by Sunday night, but couldn’t finalize a deal, tweets Darren Wolfson of SKOR North. According to Wolfson, Turner would still like to play this season, but that seems unlikely to happen with the Wolves, who are prioritizing the players they expect to be longer-term pieces.
  • Discussing Dwight Howard‘s initial stint with the Lakers, team owner Jeanie Buss singled out former Lakers – and current Rockets – head coach Mike D’Antoni as a reason why the veteran center didn’t succeed and chose to leave in free agency. “We hired a coach that didn’t respect his game and wasn’t going to put him in a position to succeed,” Buss said (video link via The Los Angeles Times).
  • Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic examines how Jordan McRae could fit with the Suns this season and potentially beyond. Phoenix reportedly intends to place a waiver claim on McRae, but there’s a possibility Detroit will do so as well, and the Pistons would have the higher priority.
  • NBA fans interested in the league’s salary cap minutiae will enjoy Jeff Siegel’s latest article at Early Bird Rights, which details the unusual case of the Kings‘ buyout agreement with Anthony Tolliver and explains why it could indirectly cost the Trail Blazers a little money.

Anthony Tolliver Signs 10-Day Contract With Grizzlies

11:02pm: The Grizzlies officially signed Tolliver and waived Bell prior to tonight’s game, according to a team press release. Tolliver logged 19 minutes and had a +25 rating, knocking down 4-of-5 three-pointers in Memphis’ blowout win over Atlanta.

4:19pm: Veteran power forward Anthony Tolliver has agreed to a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. In order to open a roster spot, the team is waiving forward Jordan Bell, Charania reports in another tweet.

Tolliver was waived on Saturday after finalizing a buyout agreement with Sacramento. Tolliver gave back $144,901, the same amount as a 10-day contract, as we relayed this afternoon. Tolliver was on a veteran’s minimum contract, so Sacramento will still have a cap hit of $1.6MM.

Tolliver, 34, began the season with the Trail Blazers and appeared in 33 games, including nine starts. He was dealt to the Kings and saw action in nine games before getting waived. Tolliver is a career 37.3% 3-point shooter, though he’s struggled from the perimeter this season.

Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke and Justise Winslow are all currently sidelined with injuries and Memphis obviously didn’t feel comfortable giving Bell expanded minutes.

Bell began the season with the Timberwolves, then was dealt to the Rockets. They quickly flipped him to Memphis for Bruno Caboclo just before the trade deadline. Bell, who has a $1.62MM contract, appeared in just two games with Memphis after coming off the bench in 27 games with Minnesota.

Buyout Details: Crabbe, McRae, Tolliver

Allen Crabbe surrendered $681,544 in his buyout agreement with the Timberwolves, according to reports from Dane Moore of ZoneCoverage.com and Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights (Twitter links). That’s more than the veteran wing would earn if he signs a rest-of-season deal with a new team after clearing waivers, but it wasn’t quite enough to get Minnesota below the luxury-tax threshold, as Moore and Siegel note.

If the Timberwolves are dead-set on getting out of tax territory, buying out Evan Turner remains a possible path, but it appears less likely now that he would no longer retain his playoff eligibility if he’s released.

The Timberwolves’ other option for sneaking below the tax line would be to cut a little-used player who is likely to be claimed on waivers, like Miami did at the end of last season with Rodney McGruder. That’s a risky alternative though, since any player valuable enough to be claimed on waivers probably isn’t someone Minnesota wants to lose.

Here are more details on the latest round of buyouts from around the NBA:

  • Jordan McRae agreed to give up $390,424 in his buyout from the Nuggets, per Siegel (via Twitter). That’s the equivalent of McRae’s $1,645,357 salary prorated over 42 days. However, if the Suns claim McRae off waivers, as they’re expected to, the buyout agreement will be unnecessary and won’t apply to his cap hit — he’ll simply continue earning the rest of his remaining salary for 2019/20 in Phoenix instead of Denver.
  • Anthony Tolliver gave back $144,901 as part of his buyout from the Kings, according to Siegel. That’s the equivalent of the 10-day salary for a veteran with 10+ years of NBA experience. Tolliver’s cap hit on Sacramento’s books ($1,620,564) will remain unchanged, since the NBA is reimbursing a portion of his minimum salary. However, the Kings will save a little cash as a result of the agreement.
  • Our recap of the 2020 buyout market can be found right here.

Pacific Notes: Bender, Kings, Lakers, Ayton

After failing to become long-term building blocks in Phoenix, former Suns lottery picks Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender have reunited in Golden State. Bender is only on a 10-day contract for now, but Chriss thinks his former and current frontcourt mate is fitting in nicely with the Warriors, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic details.

“I think it’s a good fit for him, especially being around people who believe in you and help you grow,” Chriss said. “I think that’s all he needs.”

Bender’s 10-day contract with the Warriors will expire on Tuesday night, at which time Golden State will have the option of signing him to a second 10-day deal before having to make a decision on a rest-of-season commitment. Bender, who is simply looking to prove he still belongs in the NBA, hopes he’s making a good impression.

“I take it day-by-day,” Bender recently said, per Rankin. “I think there’s always options, but with this team, take it day-by-day and see what happens. Obviously, a great place to be, like I said. Great organization. I’m looking forward to the opportunity, but like I said, take it day-by-day and see what happens.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Although the Kings have missed Richaun Holmes over the last two months, they could actually have a logjam at center soon, writes James Ham of NBC Sports California. Holmes is reportedly nearing a return, but Harry Giles and Alex Len have played well up front for Sacramento as of late, so it’ll be interesting to see how the team divvies up playing time down the stretch.
  • Despite the fact that Anthony Tolliver was waived by the Kings over the weekend, he and Kent Bazemore helped get the team out of its lowest point of the season in January, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. The two recently-acquired veterans told their new teammates in a team meeting that they were better than their record showed. “We were very vocal about the potential here,” Tolliver said. “Coming from Portland and seeing how we played there, and seeing how these guys played here, even though they were losing a lot of games at that point, we were like, ‘You guys are not that far away from winning.'” Sacramento is 11-5 since that motivational pep talk.
  • With a comfortable hold on the top seed in the West, the Lakers are using the final stretch of the season to experiment a little with lineups, says Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. That included starting Alex Caruso when Danny Green missed Saturday’s game with a minor hip injury.
  • Even though he’s not the All-Star and borderline MVP candidate that Luka Doncic is, Deandre Ayton is on an impressive run for the Suns, averaging 20.9 PPG and 12.4 RPG in his last 19 games. Greg Moore of The Arizona Republic makes the case that it wasn’t a mistake for Phoenix to select Ayton first overall in 2018, two spots ahead of Doncic.