Brandan Wright

Southwest Notes: Wright, Randolph, Ferrell

The Grizzlies are expecting injured power forward Brandan Wright back on Monday, tweets ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. Wright has been sidelined recovering from an ankle issue that ultimately required surgery. He hasn’t played at all in 2016/17.

The 29-year-old hasn’t done much since signing a three-year contract with Memphis during the summer of 2015, playing in only 12 games for the Grizzlies during the 2015/16 campaign on account of a knee injury.

After emerging as an intriguing reserve with the Mavericks between 2011 and 2014, Wright bounced around with the Suns and Celtics in 2014/15. With the Grizzlies, however, Wright could establish himself as a reliable source of frontcourt help heading into the final stretch.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Though the plan was to reduce his workload, the Grizzlies have turned to veteran big man Zach Randolph more and more often of late. Randolph is averaging 27.9 minutes per game in January, writes MacMahon in an article for ESPN, compared to his season average of 24.2. The forward has filled a sixth-man role for the club but has been as efficient with his minutes as ever.
  • Before he signed on to lead the Rockets to new heights in 2016/17, Mike D’Antoni worked alongside Brett Brown with the Sixers. Brian Seltzer of the Sixers’ official site spoke with the Rockets bench boss about his time in Philadelphia.
  • Less than 24 hours after signing his 10-day contract with the Mavs, point guard Yogi Ferrell has moved into the team’s starting lineup, tweets team play-by-play man Mark Followill.

Southwest Notes: Conley, Rockets, Pelicans, Gasol

When Mike Conley signed a five-year mega-deal with the Grizzlies last summer, making him the NBA’s highest-paid player, the deal was met with some backlash. However, as Conley tells ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, it wasn’t the first time that NBA fans and observers had questioned whether he was worth the investment — his initial four-year extension with Memphis received the same kind of scrutiny.

“The first go-round prepared me for the same type of situation, where I knew that it would take a lot of backlash and there would be a lot of people who don’t know who I am,” said the Grizzlies point guard. “Never heard of me or whatever. Now all of a sudden this guy is paid more than everybody else. So I just prepared myself and took it as a challenge, just took it as an opportunity, to use it and be the best player I can be. … It does take a special mentality to be able to understand and handle the moment, handle the situation. It could eat a lot of people up. I try to stay in the positive. In the now. I think of all the work that all the sacrifice that took me to the position to [have] this opportunity. That validates my contract for me.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • The Rockets aren’t active in trade talks, and even though GM Daryl Morey never sits still, the team is more likely to do something minor than major, if it makes a move at all, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Kyler also weighed in on the Pelicans, tweeting that Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans, who are eligible for free agency this summer, are worth keeping an eye on as the trade deadline nears.
  • Pau Gasol has made six All-Star teams in his career, and has played in the NBA’s last two midseason exhibitions, but he knew when he signed with the Spurs that he’d likely be forgoing individual accolades in favor of team success, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. “I didn’t come here with that type of mindset,” Gasol said of his All-Star streak.
  • Rockets big man Clint Capela, sidelined with a fractured left fibula, has made significant progress and remains on track to return within a four-to-six week window, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Capela is scheduled to be examined again next week.
  • There are a couple of health-related notes out of Memphis as well, as Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports (via Twitter) that there’s still no timetable for Brandan Wright‘s return. Rookie big man Deyonta Davis, on the other hand, has made an early recovery from a foot injury that sidelined him in December — he was active on Wednesday night and available to play for the Grizzlies, though he didn’t see any action.

Brandan Wright Undergoes Ankle Surgery

1:23pm: Wright will be out of action for about two months, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

9:48am: Grizzlies power forward Brandan Wright underwent an arthroscopic debridement of his left ankle Tuesday afternoon, the team announced in a press release. The procedure was deemed necessary after non-surgical interventions failed to eliminate his posterior tibialis tendinopathy, the release added, and there is no timetable for his return.

This is just the latest in setbacks for Wright, who has been plagued by injuries since he inked a three-year, $18MM contract with the Grizzlies in the summer of 2015. He was limited to just 12 games last season, mainly due to a sprained right MCL. Wright has not played this season because of the ankle issue.

Fortunately, Memphis is deep at the position with JaMychal Green, Zach Randolph and Jarell Martin on the roster. Wright, 29, has also played for the Warriors, Nets, Mavericks, Celtics and Suns in 372 career games, in which he has averaged 7.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 16.5 minutes.

Grizzlies Notes: Coaching Search, Joerger, Conley

Former Pacers coach Frank Vogel will be part of a long list of candidates to replace Dave Joerger, according to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. Tillery expects the Grizzlies to reach out to veteran coaches David Blatt, Brian Shaw, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy. GM Chris Wallace promised a “thoughtful and comprehensive” process, adding that there is no rush to find a replacement. He plans to consider college coaches as well as NBA assistants. “We don’t have a guy,” Wallace said. “We’ll talk to people and see how it goes. It’s not about dealing from a pre-existing category. It’s about finding the right guy. We’re very much in the preliminary stages.” Tillery writes that “reshaping” the team, which the front office didn’t believe Joerger was willing to do, will be among the responsibilities for the next coach.

There’s more out of Memphis:

  • Wallace’s call for stability in the organization is laughable, writes Geoff Calkins of The Commercial Appeal, pointing out that in the past four years, the Grizzlies have been through an ownership change, two GM changes and two coaching changes. Joerger had been expressing his unhappiness in subtle ways throughout the season, Calkins notes, and felt betrayed when Jeff Green and Courtney Lee were dealt away at the trade deadline. Joerger also said the roster was “old and slow” and repeatedly praised Jazz rookie Rodney Hood, whom the Grizzlies passed over in the draft. Calkins questions whether free agent point guard Mike Conley will want to re-sign with an organization that has seen so much turnover.
  • The Grizzlies may not have enough to offer on the free agent market, according to Ben Dowsett of Basketball Insiders. Memphis must decide by June 29th whether to pick up a $9.4MM option for next season on Lance Stephenson. If the Grizzlies keep him and all their other contracts while renouncing Matt Barnes and Chris Andersen, they will have about $60MM in guaranteed salary against a cap projected at more than $90MM. However, Conley carries a $14MM cap hold, which means money must be cut in other areas for the team to offer a max contract. Vince Carter and JaMychal Green are possibilities, as they both have contracts that won’t be guaranteed until January. Brandan Wright and his $5.7MM deal could be traded to clear more room. Dowsett speculates about Eric Gordon, Joe Johnson, Arron Afflalo, Gerald Henderson and Leandro Barbosa as possible free agent targets.

Western Notes: Bickerstaff, Prince, Carlisle

If the Rockets are able to clinch a playoff berth this evening, it would greatly enhance the chances of interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff earning the post on a full-time basis, Marc Stein of relays in a series of tweets. Houston does have interest in Scott Brooks and Tom Thibodeau, who are likely to be two of the more sought-after coaches this offseason, Stein adds. The Rockets are intrigued by the discipline and structure that Thibodeau could bring, but Brooks, who played for the Rockets, has an excellent familiarity with James Harden from their time spent together with the Thunder, Stein notes.

Here’s more from out West:

  • Wolves small forward Tayshaun Prince intends to play next season, telling reporters, “I’m not going to retire,” Kyle Ratke of tweets. The 36-year-old, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent, appeared in 77 games and averaged 2.9 points and 1.9 rebounds in 19.0 minutes per outing for Minnesota on the season.
  • Rick Carlisle, who is in his eighth season as Mavericks coach, has given the organization an uncommon stability during his tenure, Colin McGowan of RealGM writes. Carlisle deserves credit for making the most out of the talent he has been afforded, and the organization also deserves praise for sticking with the coach despite a few rocky seasons, McGowan adds.
  • Brandan Wright was limited to just 12 games for the Grizzlies this season, which likely diminishes his value as a potential trade chip and increases the likelihood Wright will be on Memphis’ roster next season, opines Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal. The big man inked a three-year, $18MM with the Grizzlies last summer.
  • The Pelicans will finish the 2015/16 campaign with 351 games missed due to injury and illness, the most in the NBA in the past six years, Justin Verrier of relays (Twitter link).

Mike Conley Expected To Miss Rest Of Season

Mike Conley is expected to miss the rest of the regular season and the playoffs because of his sore left Achilles tendon, reports Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. The same fate appears to be true for Brandan Wright and Jordan Adams, based on the answer coach Dave Joerger gave when asked the status of all three and P.J. Hairston, as Tillery relays. Joerger said only that he thinks Hairston will return to play.

Doctors determined that it would be in Conley’s best interest to sit out until next season after examining him last week, as Tillery details. The Grizzlies and Conley are exercising caution amid fear that playing with the injury would lead to a torn Achilles, Tillery writes. Conley, who hasn’t played since March 6th, is headed into free agency this summer, when he figures to be one of the most sought-after players available and the top point guard on the market.

Wright is in the first season of a three-year contract but has appeared in only 12 games for the Grizzlies because of injury. Conflicting reports early last month surrounded his timetable for recovery from a sprained MCL in his right knee, but according to Tillery, he was never expected to return in the regular season, with only the playoffs a possibility. Postseason play now also appears out of the question. Tillery hears he suffered a Grade II sprain, not a Grade I, as previously reported.

The Grizzlies have been reluctant to give insight on the health of Adams, as Tillery chronicles. The second-year shooting guard has been out since January because of right knee surgery, and the time of his expected return has never been clear.

Hairston hasn’t played since March 15th with what’s generally been listed as a left groin strain, though Tillery refers to it as a hamstring injury. In any case, he ran sprints as part of a workout Sunday, according to Tillery, so his health is a bright spot for the Grizzlies, who’ve used an all-time NBA record 28 players this season as injuries have decimated their lineup.

Memphis can’t receive a disabled player exception, and while the team is carrying two extra roster spots via hardship, it doesn’t seem likely the NBA will allow that to continue into the playoffs, as Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal wrote earlier today. The Grizzlies aren’t yet assured of a playoff berth, and though they’re in fifth place and would otherwise seem a safe bet for the postseason, they lead the ninth-place Rockets by only two games in the loss column. The regular season ends a week from Wednesday.

Southwest Notes: Wright, Stephenson, Dejean-Jones

Brandan Wright is liable to miss anywhere from a week to eight weeks with a sprained MCL in his right knee that the team revealed in a statement Monday. The Grizzlies didn’t say whether the sprain is a Grade I, which is the milder form, or a Grade II, which would keep him out longer, notes Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt hears it’s merely a Grade I (Twitter link), but coach Dave Joerger hinted at a much more pessimistic outlook, saying it will be difficult for the Grizzlies the rest of the year without him, Tillery relays (Twitter links). See more on the Grizzlies and other news from the Southwest Division:

  • Talk of the Grizzlies picking up Lance Stephenson‘s $9.405MM team option for next season that Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal referred to last week appears to have been speculative, as Herrington portrays it within his Pick-and-Pop column. It would take either an unexpected late-season flourish or an offseason gone awry for Stephenson’s option to look appealing to Grizzlies, Herrington believes.
  • James Ennis seems like the Grizzlies player most likely to be cut if the team wants to add someone else, Herrington posits in the same piece.
  • Bryce Dejean-Jones doesn’t have any guaranteed money beyond this season in his deal with the Pelicans, which is a three-year pact for the minimum salary, but he can trigger a partial guarantee of $80K for next season if he participates in summer league and a skill and conditioning program, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter links). It’s unclear how his broken right wrist will affect his ability to fulfill those requirements. The partial guarantee would go to $100K if he sticks on the roster through July 25th, Pincus adds.
  • Marcus Thornton‘s release from the Rockets was just that, rather than a buyout deal, as Pincus shows Thornton didn’t give up any salary when he hit waivers last week (Twitter link).

Western Notes: Wright, Ellis, Miller

Grizzlies big man Brandan Wright says that he expects to miss six to eight weeks after a knee surgery he’s scheduled to undergo Thursday, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports tweets. This confirms an earlier report by Chris Vernon of 92.9 FM. Memphis GM Chris Wallace, discussing Wright’s scheduled surgery, said, “There is a need to do the procedure at this time. We tried the rest and rehab route,” Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal relays (Twitter links). Tillery also notes that the team had believed that Wright, prior to his latest diagnosis, was merely suffering from tendinitis and was “soft” for sitting out.

Here’s more from out West:

  • Nuggets swingman Mike Miller had considered retirement after the 2011/12 season, but the veteran says that he feels rejuvenated and may continue his playing career for longer than expected, Chris Tomasson of The Denver Post writes. If my body feels the way it is right now, I want to play a couple of more years for sure, Miller told Tomasson. “I never would have believed [in 2012] that I’d still be playing now,” Miller added.
  • Despite competing with each other for minutes, Suns centers Tyson Chandler and Alex Len work well together, Matt Petersen of writes. “Those guys have a great relationship,” GM Ryan McDonough said. “They’re two of the most unselfish guys we have on the team. I’m not really as concerned about that. It’s a nice luxury for us and the coaches that they can go with whoever’s playing better, especially if somebody is either in foul trouble or has an off night.”
  • Mavs power forward Dirk Nowitzki says he wasn’t surprised that Monta Ellis opted out of his deal after last season in order to become an unrestricted free agent, Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star tweets. “I mean, you figure since he had two good years for us and he’s [30 years old] now … you figure he’s going to get out and sign one more deal,” Nowitzki said. “I’m happy for him. He signed a four-year deal, got some good money, obviously. He is on a very good team in Indiana that is playing well, well-coached and well-run. I’m happy for him.

Southwest Notes: Howard, Anderson, Wright

Dwight Howard denies that he’s “extremely unhappy” in Houston and said to reporters Tuesday that he hasn’t expressed any discontent with playing a secondary role to James Harden, as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle relays. Howard, taking his fewest shots per game since he was a rookie, said last week he’s not worried about his part in the Rockets offense and that he believes his role will increase, Feigen points out.

“I want us to win,” Howard said Tuesday. “We had two upsetting losses. We’re all frustrated because we know we can play better. I haven’t said anything to any reporter or to anybody about being unhappy. That’s only noise. All the other stuff is lies.”

See more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Pelicans have listened to teams that have called with interest in trading for Ryan Anderson, and while they’re actively exploring trade possibilities and engaging teams on other matters, they’re not shopping the power forward, as Marc Stein of hears (Twitter links). The Rockets have reportedly “kicked the tires” on potential deals involving Anderson, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, while the team would consider giving up Anderson for Markieff Morris, as Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports reported. The Suns and Pelicans have had preliminary talks about Morris, Wojnarowski and Charania wrote, and Anderson’s name is involved in that discussion, too, writes John Reid of The Times Picayune.
  • An initial timetable has Grizzlies big man Brandan Wright back in six to eight weeks after a knee surgery he’s scheduled to undergo Thursday, reports Chris Vernon of 92.9 FM in Memphis (Twitter links). Wright, a key offseason free agent signee for Memphis, hasn’t played since November 7th as he and the team held out hope that his sore right knee would heal without the procedure, Vernon adds.
  • Jonathon Simmons made the D-League affiliate of the Spurs through an open tryout in 2013, but he averaged fewer than 10 points a game in 2013/14 and thought about quitting pro basketball in the summer of 2014, as Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News details. Now, the 26-year-old is in the Spurs rotation after signing an NBA deal this past summer that includes a fully guaranteed salary for this season.

Southwest Notes: Gasol, Simmons, Ginobili, Wright

The Spurs tried to lure Marc Gasol away from Memphis, but he was committed to the Grizzlies, tweets Dan McCarney of The San Antonio Express-News. Once GM R.C. Buford realized that, he turned his full attention to LaMarcus Aldridge.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Jonathon Simmons‘ deal with the Spurs is fully guaranteed for next season, according to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). On Friday, Simmons signed a two-year contract for the minimum with a team option for the second season. Simmons was on Brooklyn’s bus headed to a summer league game when his agent told him of the Spurs’ offer (Twitter link).
  • In a procedural move, the Spurs renounced their rights to free agent Manu Ginobili, tweets Eric Pincus of The Los Angeles Times. San Antonio will re-sign Ginobili with its $2.814MM room exception, rather than Bird Rights.
  • “Love at first sight” is how Brandan Wright described his reaction to being pursued by the Grizzlies, writes Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. The free agent signed a three-year deal with the team worth about $17.1MM“Even though we’ve had a strong frontcourt, we haven’t had a great deal of athleticism and length,” said GM Chris Wallace. “He’s a shot blocker and can score on lob passes. He provides defense, athleticism and experience.”
  • The Mavericks are hoping to sign another center, tweets Earl K. Sneed of “It’d be nice to have someone that can play above the rim,” said owner Mark Cuban.
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