Ben McLemore

Southwest Notes: Forcier, Capela, Rondo

The Grizzlies are finalizing a deal to bring Chad Forcier aboard as the lead assistant to recently appointed head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports writes.

Forcier most recently spent two years with the Magic but bounced around between some formidable Pistons, Pacers and Spurs teams from 2001 to 2016. In 2014, he won a title with San Antonio.

The Grizzlies formally announced their decision to give former interim head coach Bickerstaff the permanent head coaching gig earlier this week.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • For the fourth consecutive season, Clint Capela has rounded out his game. Now the 23-year-old plays a pivotal role for the contending Rockets and has established a foundation of trust with teammate James Harden, Tim MacMahon of ESPN documents the big man’s rise ahead of his pending free agency.
  • Veteran point guard Rajon Rondo sounds open to the idea of returning to the Pelicans, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated writes. Rondo has played for four teams since 2014 but has performed particularly well, especially in the postseason, with New Orleans. Still, it may be tricky for the team to bring him back if he requires a sizable raise, since the Pelicans only hold his Non-Bird rights.
  • There’s no denying that Ben McLemore‘s first season with the Grizzlies was somewhat underwhelming but the 25-year-old remains convinced that his best basketball is ahead of him. Michael Wallace of Grind City Media writes that, in his defense, the swingman has had six head coaches in six seasons but notes that the Grizz may be wise to move on from the $5.5MM they owe him next season if possible.



Sixers, Others Express Interest In Tyreke Evans

11:08am: While the Sixers have expressed interest in Evans, they’re hardly alone. The Celtics, Cavaliers, Pelicans, Thunder, Heat, and Rockets have all inquired on the veteran guard too, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who tweets that it will come down to which team is willing to meet the Grizzlies’ asking price.

10:48am: The Sixers have expressed trade interest in Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans, league sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link), However, according to Stein, Memphis continues to seek a first-round pick in exchange for Evans, and Philadelphia is reluctant to surrender one.

Evans, 28, has been enjoying one of the best years of his NBA career in Memphis this season, averaging 19.5 PPG, 5.0 APG, and 5.0 RPG with a .458/.392/.799 shooting line so far. Based on his terrific production, the Grizzlies are said to be looking for a first-rounder in any deal.

However, while Evans’ expiring contract and modest salary ($3.29MM) make him an intriguing trade piece, they also reduce his value to some extent — he would likely be a rental for any team acquiring him, since he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Evans is on track to get much more expensive, and whichever team has him at season’s end won’t have his Bird rights, limiting that club’s ability to re-sign him.

Still, the Sixers represent an interesting potential trade partner for the Grizzlies, particularly since they could end up with multiple first-round picks this spring. Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal speculates (via Twitter) that perhaps Memphis could pry the 76ers’ own first-round pick away from Philadelphia if the Grizzlies are willing to take on Jerryd Bayless‘ contract, which has a guaranteed $8.58MM cap hit for 2018/19.

Although salary-matching rules would prevent Memphis from trading Evans straight up for Bayless, attaching a player like Ben McLemore or Brandan Wright to Evans would make it cap-legal, Herrington notes (via Twitter). James Ennis‘ contract would also work, but Ennis is a more valuable trade chip than McLemore or Wright, so the Grizzlies likely wouldn’t want to just throw him in for salary purposes.

Southwest Notes: McLemore, Ennis, Randle

The Grizzlies are gauging trade interest in swingmen Ben McLemore and James Ennis, Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders writes.

The Grizzlies signed McLemore over the offseason to a two-year, $10.7MM deal, presumably hoping that they would be able to tap into something in the former Kansas product that the Kings hoped to find when they drafted him seventh overall in 2013.

McLemore has played just 17.2 points per game this season, adding just 6.5 points per contest in what’s been his least effective NBA campaign since his rookie year.

Scotto adds that the Grizzlies are also dangling Ennis and his expiring $3MM deal, hoping to yield at least one second-round pick.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Pelicans are said to be interested in upgrades on the wing, but finding a logical trade scenario is easier said than done. William Guillory of the Times-Picayune writes that it may prove difficult to make the salaries match in a deal for supposedly available perimeter players like Kent Bazemore or Evan Fournier.
  • Rumors that the Mavs could be in pursuit of Texas native Julius Randle were shot down by Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News. His reason? Acquiring a good player ahead of the trade deadline this season is the last thing the presumably lottery-bound club should be doing.
  • Offseason Grizzlies addition Tyreke Evans has thrived this season, proving that, for now at least, he’s healthy and capable of being a prominent producer. As a result, his name has been floated as a possible trade piece, including in a recent media scrum with Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal.

Southwest Notes: Rondo, Allen, McLemore, Parker

The Pelicans won’t have to wait much longer for Rajon Rondo‘s season debut, tweets Scott Kushner of The Advocate. Coach Alvin Gentry told reporters tonight that he expects Rondo to be ready in about a week to 10 days. Rondo underwent surgery for a sports hernia on October 10 and was projected to be sidelined four to six weeks. He was expected to take over at point guard after signing with New Orleans in July.

There’s more tonight from the Southwest Division:

  • Tony Allen was held out of tonight’s game with left knee inflammation, but the Pelicans were prepared for occasional absences when they signed the 35-year-old guard, writes William Guillory of The Times-Picayune. Gentry called the condition minor and said it shouldn’t be a long-term concern for Allen. “It’s going to be that way throughout the season,” Gentry said. “He’s got a lot of years and a lot of miles on him. There’s going to be little hurts and pains that may keep him out a game or so, but it’s not anything that I’d spend any time worrying about.” Allen has been a valuable reserve for New Orleans, averaging 4.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 12 games.
  • Ben McLemore saw his first action for the Grizzlies tonight after signing with the team in July. McLemore had to undergo surgery in August after suffering a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metatarsal on his right foot during a summer pick-up game. He is expected to add more scoring punch to an already deep Memphis team after averaging 9.4 points per game during four seasons in Sacramento. “I’ve been working really hard on rehab and things like that to get back into game shape and being able to play my first game this season, so I’m excited,” McLemore said in an interview tweeted by the team.
  • The Spurs will have Tony Parker back soon, according to a post by Michael C. Wright on ESPN Now. Coach Gregg Popovich said his point guard continues to make progress in rehab, and Parker has expressed hope that he will be cleared to play by the end of November. He was originally expected to be out of action until January after rupturing a left quadriceps tendon during the Western Conference semifinals.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/9/17

Here are the G League transactions for Thursday:

Grizzlies’ Ben McLemore To Return This Weekend

One of the Grizzlies’ most noteworthy offseason additions, Ben McLemore, is set to make his debut with the team this Saturday in Houston, writes Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commerical Appeal. As Tillery notes, Ben’s brother Kevin McLemore confirmed the news on Twitter.

McLemore, who signed a two-year, $10.66MM contract with the Grizzlies in July, injured his right foot during a pick-up game in Los Angeles over the summer. The 24-year-old was diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metatarsal and underwent surgery in early August, at which point the team announced he’d be out for about 12 weeks.

With McLemore set to return, it will be interesting to see how head coach David Fizdale juggles minutes and manages Memphis’ rotation. Other offseason acquisitions, such as Tyreke Evans and Dillon Brooks, may see their roles impacted by McLemore’s return, though Fizdale was noncommittal when asked whether the former seventh overall pick will start or come off the bench.

“He’s coming off a broken foot. We’ll get his feet wet. We’ll see what works and take it day by day,” Fizdale said, per Tillery.

The Grizzlies assigned McLemore to the G League last week as part of his rehab process, and he played 16 minutes for the Memphis Hustle on Sunday, scoring eight points and picking up a couple steals. The 24-year-old will need to be officially recalled in order for the Grizz to activate him for Saturday’s game against the Rockets.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/1/17

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:


  • The Lakers sent center Thomas Bryant to their South Bay affiliate for the fourth time this season, the team announced on its website.


  • The Grizzlies are sending Ben McLemore to the G League as he continues to recover from offseason foot surgery, reports ESPN’s Chris Haynes (via Twitter).
  • The Grizzlies also made a series of moves with rookie forward Ivan Rabb today, recalling him from the Memphis Hustle this morning, only to re-assign him to the G League and recall him again later in the day (all Twitter links). After participating in the Grizzlies’ shootaround and the Hustle’s practice, Rabb is with the Grizz for tonight’s game.
  • Point guard Michael Carter-Williams has been recalled from the G League by the Hornets, the team announced today in a press release. GM Rich Cho said that Carter-Williams scrimmaged with the Greensboro Swarm to test his knees — MCW may play on Charlotte’s upcoming four-game road trip, as Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer tweets.
  • The Spurs have recalled Tony Parker, Davis Bertans, and Derrick White from the G League, according to a pair of press releases from the team. Parker continues to rehab his injured left quadriceps, so he’s not ready to play for San Antonio yet.

Ben McLemore Expected To Miss 12 Weeks With Foot Injury

Newly-signed Grizzlies guard Ben McLemore may not be ready for his new team’s regular season opener. According to Michael Wallace of (via Twitter), McLemore underwent surgery on his right foot on Tuesday, and is expected to be sidelined for approximately 12 weeks. The Grizzlies confirmed the news in a press release.

According to the Grizzlies’ announcement, McLemore has been diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot. The injury occurred during a pick-up game in Los Angeles, when McLemore landed on another player’s foot following a drive to the basket.

If McLemore is able to return 12 weeks from today, he’d get back on the court on October 31. While regular season schedules for the 2017/18 campaign haven’t yet been announced, the season will begin on October 17, so the former seventh overall pick would miss the entire preseason and two weeks of the regular season in that scenario.

It’s unfortunate news for a Grizzlies team that has been hit hard by injuries to key players over the last couple seasons. While it remains to be seen what sort of role McLemore will play in Memphis, he represents the club’s top free agent investment of the summer so far — the 24-year-old signed a two-year, $10.66MM contract with the Grizzlies last month.

Grizzlies Sign Ben McLemore To Two-Year Deal

JULY 6: The Grizzlies have officially signed McLemore, according to the NBA’s transactions log.

JULY 2: The Grizzlies are finalizing a deal with Ben McLemore, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The pact, Chris Haynes of ESPN adds, is said to be for two years at $10.7MM.ben mclemore vertical

The 24-year-old shooting guard has strung together four underwhelming seasons with the Kings after getting picked seventh-overall in the 2013 NBA Draft. In 2016/17, however, he posted 8.1 points per game in just 19.3 minutes of action.

There isn’t much standing between McLemore and a larger role in Memphis, USA Today’s Jeff Zilgitt suggests, noting that he’ll likely see significant minutes with his new ball club. The swingman does, after all, boast the physical tools to be a decent perimeter defender and is a capable three-point shooter.

McLemore was eligible to be a restricted free agent this summer, but didn’t receive a qualifying offer from the Kings, allowing him to sign with any team as an unrestricted free agent.

Based on the terms of the agreement, it appears the Grizzlies will use the full taxpayer mid-level exception on McLemore — a deal with that MLE would top out at $10,643,600 over two years, and would allow the Grizzlies to avoid being hard-capped.

I doubt Memphis will go too far into the tax, if they even exceed that tax line at all. But if the team wants to try to bring back JaMychal Green, Zach Randolph, and Tony Allen, it will get expensive. The Grizzlies are projected to have more than $98MM in guaranteed salary on their 2017/18 cap after taking McLemore’s deal into account. That doesn’t include Green, Randolph, Allen, or the team’s other free agents.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Free Agent Rumors: Iguodala, Noel, Roberson, Ingles

The Heat are one of three teams scheduled to meet with free agent Gordon Hayward, which could put several free agency plans on hold. For Miami free agent James Johnson, being patient is not a problem, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes.

“I’m a patient guy,” Johnson said to Jackson at a recent golf tournament. “They can take as long as they want. My mindset is winning. I think Hayward can help us win and I’m all for it. They brought me here for a reason and I know they’re going after Hayward for a reason and I think his statistics and his numbers that he [produces], he fits in the best here.”

Johnson, 30, developed into a solid two-way player last season, averaging 12.8 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and shot nearly 48% from the floor. However, if Miami does lure Hayward to South Beach, retaining both Johnson and Dion Waiters would be problematic from a financial standpoint. Stretching Josh McRoberts‘ salary and several other moves would have to be made to re-sign both players. However, Johnson has reiterated he does not mind waiting to see how the Heat’s plan develop.

Here are some other free agency rumors circulating around the NBA:

  • The Rockets‘ meeting with two-time NBA champion and free agent Andre Iguodala is scheduled for this morning, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN (via Twitter).
  • In a separate tweet, Haynes reports that the Knicks and Bucks have inquired on free agent swingman Ben McLemore.
  • Restricted free agent Nerlens Noel can speak to other teams, but appears very likely to remain in Dallas. It’s likely a matter of “how much and when” the Mavericks get a deal done with the swingman, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon (via Twitter).
  • With Paul George headed to Oklahoma City, the Thunder are more likely to retain restricted free agent Andre Roberson, according to ESPN’s Royce Young (via Twitter).
  • The Nets have secured a meeting with free agent Joe Ingles, sources tell Adam Joseph of 16WingsARing (via Twitter).
  • We heard on Friday night that the Cavaliers have interest in Zach Randolph. That interest is mutual, writes Joe Vardon of