Desmond Bane

Grizzlies Notes: Morant, Expectations, JJJ, Bane

All-Star Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant is serving out the rest of his eight-game NBA suspension, due to a number of concerning offcourt issues, and could make his return to action as soon as this Monday.

Following a meeting with league commissioner Adam Silver, Morant sat down for an interview with ESPN’s Jalen Rose, in which he apologized and took accountability for his recent behavior.

These incidents away from the hardwood could have a major financial impact on what he’ll earn from his work on it. In a new piece, Keith Smith of Spotrac details how not qualifying for an All-NBA team this season would adversely affect the five-year, maximum-salary contract extension Morant signed last summer.

Language in the deal would enable Morant to earn more money with Memphis if he made an All-NBA team. Morant currently stands to make 25% of the NBA’s anticipated $134MM salary cap next season when the new extension begins. Were he to be named to an All-NBA team this year, his starting salary would begin at 30% of the cap.

Morant had a solid case for an All-NBA spot prior to his current suspension, but that case will be adversely affected by his extended absence.

There’s more out of Memphis:

  • The Grizzlies are not quite sure how Morant’s impending return to the floor will impact the team, writes Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. Mannix notes that Morant was performing at an All-NBA level, and wonders if his extended time away will negatively affect his play in the short term.
  • While Morant has been away from the team, the pressure on the team’s other 2023 All-Star, power forward Jaren Jackson Jr., to produce offensively has increased, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “He always shows flashes, and that’s been the thing with him,” backup point guard Tyus Jones said. “Consistency. He’s very capable of doing that. We need that from him, and he wants it. That’s the most important thing. He wants to continue to improve, he wants to dominate, he wants to be great. That’s all you can ask for.”
  • Grizzlies shooting guard Desmond Bane was ejected last night from a game against the Heat, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). Bane was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul for colliding with the groin of Heat power forward Kevin Love during a play (ESPN video link).

And-Ones: Team USA, Bane, Jackson, All-Star Game, CBA

USA Basketball managing director Grant Hill confirmed on Monday that Team USA won’t require its invitees to try out for World Cup or Olympic rosters or to make any sort of multiyear commitment to the program, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

Under former managing director Jerry Colangelo, Team USA invited more than 12 players to its World Cup camp and then made cuts from there to finalize its roster. Colangelo also asked stars to commit to taking part in Team USA activities for more than a single offseason in an effort to develop some roster continuity. However, Hill is hoping that continuity can be established quickly by selecting a 12-man roster early without going through the tryout process and then letting those dozen players develop chemistry with one another.

“There’s been a little bit of a generational shift that’s occurred in the league and basketball in general, and so I think we have to be willing to adapt and adjust to the times and adapt and adjust to players today,” Hill said, per Vardon. “We feel that it’s best served going forward to use that time to come together as a team and to really work on building that chemistry and that camaraderie and preparing for a very different game and a different style of play that exists in international play.”

Hill also announced on Monday that Team USA will play pre-World Cup exhibition contests against Spain and Slovenia this August ahead of previously confirmed tune-up games in Abu Dhabi. Spain, on the strength of its 2019 World Cup victory, is currently the No. 1 team in FIBA’s international rankings, while Slovenia will be led by Mavericks star Luka Doncic.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Grizzlies wing Desmond Bane and big man Jaren Jackson Jr. are among the players that have been asked by Team USA head coach Steve Kerr about the possibility of suiting up for the U.S. in the World Cup later this year, according to Vardon.
  • NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum acknowledged that the All-Star Game could benefit from some “tweaks,” but doesn’t believe the event needs to be fundamentally altered, he tells Leonard Solms of ESPN. “We have to be cautious. It is an exhibition game, so we don’t want players getting hurt during that game,” Tatum said. “Understand: there’s a balance there. It’s something that we’re looking at – and having conversations, by the way, with the players, on things that we might be able to do differently next year.”
  • Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports takes a deep dive into the challenges of collective bargaining for the NBA and its’ players union, exploring why the next CBA is more likely to include a series of modest tweaks rather than any sweeping changes.

Lowe’s Latest: Durant, Grizzlies, Anunoby, Pelicans, Warriors, Clippers

In the wake of the NetsKevin Durant trade agreement with the Suns, reports indicated that Brooklyn only really negotiated with Phoenix rather than canvassing the NBA to generate a bidding war. The Nets likely already knew what teams were willing to offer after discussing Durant deals for nearly two months in the offseason, and liked the combination of players and picks the Suns were willing to offer.

According to Zach Lowe of ESPN (Insider link), another team that was prepared to put a strong package of draft picks on the table for Durant was the Grizzlies. Sources tell Lowe that the Nets were aware since July that Memphis was willing to trade every available draft pick and swap of its own for Durant (it’s unclear if that offer would’ve included Golden State’s lightly protected 2024 first-round pick or just the Grizzlies’ own first-rounders).

However, the Suns’ inclusion of Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson helped tip the scales in their favor. Sources around the league have said that the Grizzlies have kept Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson Jr. entirely off-limits in any trade talks, according to Lowe, so the players in Memphis’ offer wouldn’t have been as valuable as the ones in the deal Brooklyn ultimately accepted.

Here’s more from Lowe:

  • After mentioning on his podcast that the Grizzlies and Pacers each offered three first-round picks for Raptors forward OG Anunoby, Lowe says the Pelicans – another presumed suitor – didn’t hold any serious talks with Toronto about him. As Lowe reiterates, the Raptors were seeking a high-level player or prospect in an Anunoby deal; Will Guillory of The Athletic says New Orleans didn’t show much interest in discussing Dyson Daniels or Trey Murphy in trade talks.
  • The Warriors also engaged with the Raptors about Anunoby, Lowe confirms, but he says the two teams don’t appear to have gotten all that close to an agreement. Golden State likely would have had to include Jonathan Kuminga as the centerpiece of its offer, sources tell ESPN.
  • The Clippers never ended up having any serious trade talks for D’Angelo Russell or Kyle Lowry, and the Mike Conley bidding was out of their price range, Lowe says. They also got nowhere close on Fred VanVleet, since the Raptors would have wanted Terance Mann and possibly more draft equity than L.A. could’ve offered, Lowe adds.

Grizzlies Notes: Adams, Bane, Morant, Arena

The Grizzlies have lost six of seven games since Steven Adams went down with a knee sprain, and it’s clear the team has missed its starting center, says Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

“I’ve said it multiple times: You’re not going to replace what Steven does,” head coach Taylor Jenkins said. “I wish we could get every rebound, but it’s willpower. We were first in the league in offensive rebounding and defensive rebounding when he’s on the floor, and that’s even when he’s healthy and in the lineup. And then we’re 28th, even when he’s healthy and sitting on the bench, we’re like 28th in rebounding on both sides. So, we’ve got to find a way.”

Adams’ 11.5 rebounds per game are a career high and represent the highest average for any Grizzlies player this season. Beyond that, his traditional stats are modest (he’s the team’s eighth-leading scorer with 8.6 PPG), but Memphis has a -1.3 net rating when he isn’t playing, the lowest mark for any single player on the team. As Cole relays, Adams’ teammates certainly recognize the value he provides.

“I mean, (Adams) was a big part of what we do,” Desmond Bane said. “Similar to guys like Draymond (Green) and other guys that may not fill up the stat sheet in every single area, but their magnitude is felt on the court. A veteran presence, a screen-setter, rebounder, and a connecter on offense … he does a lot for us.”

Here’s more on the Grizzlies:

  • After being eliminated in the first round of last season’s three-point contest, Desmond Bane was determined to get another invite and win it. However, while his .437 3PT% makes him a solid candidate to be included in this year’s field, he has changed his tune and doesn’t plan to take part in this year’s contest in Utah, Cole writes for The Commercial Appeal. “I want to take some time with my son,” Bane said. “We been moving around a lot. I’d rather hang out with him.”
  • Asked about an alleged incident involving his associates that took place after a Grizzlies/Pacers game last Sunday, Ja Morant was dismissive of the report. “All that stuff pretty much false. It’s been proven,” Morant said, per Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “That’s all I got to say on it.” According to The Athletic’s reporting, members of the Pacers traveling party alleged that someone in an SUV (in which Morant was a passenger) pointed a red laser at them; a Pacers security guard said he believed the laser was attached to a gun.
  • In a subscriber-only story for The Daily Memphian, Chris Herrington makes a case for why the Grizzlies should be focusing on a three-year contention window and should be active at the trade deadline.
  • The latest budget proposal from Tennessee governor Bill Lee includes funds that would go toward renovating FedExForum, according to Adam Friedman and Duane W. Gang of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. The city of Memphis requested money from the state to put toward the Grizzlies’ home arena in the hopes of ensuring the team remains in the city long-term. The Grizzlies’ lease with the city at FedExForum runs through the 2028/29 season.

Southwest Notes: Doncic, Mavs, Daniels, Pelicans, Bane

Mavericks star Luka Doncic, who sustained a left ankle sprain on Thursday, has been ruled out for Saturday’s game in Utah, the team announced (via Twitter). However, the expectation is that Doncic won’t be sidelined for much – if any – additional time beyond that game.

Appearing on NBA Today on Friday (video link), ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said that a worst-case scenario for Doncic would probably be missing two games: tonight’s contest in Utah and Monday’s vs. Detroit. After that, the Mavericks aren’t back in action until next Thursday, when they host New Orleans, so Doncic would have had a full week to rest an ankle sprain that Woj describes as “mild.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • As the trade deadline nears, it will be tricky for the Mavericks to balance their desire to improve this year’s roster with a “future-focused approach,” writes Tim Cato of The Athletic. As Cato outlines, a deal for a veteran like Bojan Bogdanovic would upgrade this year’s roster, but Dallas likely won’t be inclined to move a future first-round pick at the deadline for a player who would only serve the club’s short-term interests.
  • After spraining his right ankle on Tuesday vs. Denver, Pelicans rookie Dyson Daniels is expected to be out for “a little bit of time,” head coach Willie Green said this week, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link). That timeline is pretty vague, but Daniels missed Wednesday’s game and has been ruled out for Saturday.
  • Last season’s CJ McCollum trade buoyed the Pelicans down the stretch and helped them earn a playoff spot. Given that the team has so many trade assets still on hand, Christian Clark of wonders whether another in-season trade is inevitable.
  • Grizzlies wing Desmond Bane was unavailable for Friday’s game against Minnesota due to right knee soreness, per Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Bane missed time earlier in the season due to a right big toe injury and sat out one game with right ankle soreness, but this is the first time his knee has prevented him from suiting up.

Southwest Notes: Green, Bane, Rockets, Tate, Spurs

Grizzlies swingman Danny Green is inching closer to making his season debut, tweets Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Green is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last May and has begun doing 5-on-5 work, according to Cole.

Participating in 5-on-5 scrimmages generally represents one of the last hurdles a player must clear in his rehab process before returning from a major injury, though it doesn’t necessarily mean Green’s return is imminent. Ricky Rubio and Jonathan Isaac, both coming off ACL tears, were cleared for 5-on-5 play in early December, and both players only returned to the court this week (Rubio in the NBA, Isaac in the G League).

Green has spoken about wanting to make it back before next February’s All-Star break and it sounds like he remains on track to meet that timeline.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Although Grizzlies swingman Desmond Bane has returned from a toe injury and is playing well, he doesn’t expect to be 100% for the rest of the season, Cole writes for The Commercial Appeal. “That’s something I’ll probably have to get taken care of in the offseason,” Bane said of his toe injury during an appearance on the Old Man and the Three podcast. “You never know how much you need to use your big toe until you can’t use it.”
  • In a mailbag for The Athletic, Kelly Iko discusses several Rockets-related topics, including Stephen Silas‘ job security, Kevin Porter Jr.‘s future in Houston, and potential offseason veteran targets. Iko says he’d bet on Silas finishing the season with the Rockets and identifies Myles Turner as a player he thinks the team should prioritize as a free agent this summer.
  • Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate, who played for the Sydney Kings in 2019/20, likes the idea of eventually finishing his professional career back in Australia. “Australia is by far one of my highlights,” Tate told The Ballers Magazine (link via “When I’m old and can barely get up and down there I would love to come back and just bee around the guys because the energy, the organization in Sydney – from top to bottom – was great.”
  • The Spurs‘ home game vs. Golden State at the Alamodome on Friday night is on track to break the NBA record for largest single-game attendance. As of Thursday, the club had sold 64,387 tickets for Friday’s contest, according to a press release. The previous attendance record was 62,046 for a Bulls/Hawks game at the Georgia Dome on March 27, 1998.

Southwest Notes: Grizzlies, Z. Williams, Zion, Spurs

The Grizzlies have become a target since Ja Morant proclaimed they don’t fear any other Western Conference contender, but Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes that it’s going to take a lot more than Sunday’s loss to the Warriors to shake their confidence.

The Christmas Day showdown was filled with the chippiness that has defined the rivalry between the two teams since last season’s playoffs. Golden State had six technical fouls, Draymond Green yelled toward Morant after blocking one of his shots, Klay Thompson taunted Dillon Brooks, and Jordan Poole was ejected in the fourth quarter.

Both teams have a tendency to be vocal, and Desmond Bane explained that it’s part of the Grizzlies’ personality.

“That’s in us,” he said. “That’s not something that comes and goes. It’s what we believe, it’s how we we feel. There ain’t nothing that’s going to change this swag. We can go on a six-game losing streak, and we’re still going to carry the same swag and same chip on our shoulder at all times.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Grizzlies forward Ziaire Williams continues to struggle after missing the first 24 games of the season with right patellar tendinitis, Cole adds in the same story. Williams made just one of five shots from the field Sunday, but he believes he’s headed in the right direction. “I’m confident right now, to be honest with you,” Williams said. “I’m just not making shots. If I make two more shots per game, I’m playing well and it’s a whole different perspective. I’m sticking with it.”
  • The Pelicans are listing Zion Williamson as doubtful for Monday’s game against the Pacers, citing “return to competition reconditioning,” according to Jim Eichenhofer of It would be the third straight missed game for Williamson, who is part of a long injury list for New Orleans.
  • Like many young teams, the Spurs are still learning how to be competitive for all 48 minutes of a game, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. The team suffered through lopsided stretches in a pair of losses last week at New Orleans and Orlando. “We are still a young group, but we have smart players, young guys who want to listen and get better,” Josh Richardson said. “Hopefully, one of these days it really starts kicking in. I think it just takes us stringing together a couple of games where we do play that full 48 to see what it looks like, to see how hard you have to play the whole game. Then, hopefully, that becomes the standard.”

Grizzlies Notes: Morant, Bane, Green, Konchar

Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant raised eyebrows earlier this week when he was asked by ESPN’s Malika Andrews in an NBA Today interview (video link) which teams around the league had caught his eye as opponents Memphis will have to “run through” to win a title. After Morant named the Celtics and fell silent, Andrews observed that he didn’t mention any Western Conference teams.

“Nah,” Morant said. “I’m fine in the West.”

Speaking to reporters later in the week, Morant didn’t back off those comments at all, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. In fact, while the All-NBA guard identified the Bucks as another team he might add to his list, he doubled down on his feelings about his Western rivals.

“Honestly, I don’t care about anybody else feedback but ours,” Morant said. “That’s how we feel. That’s how confident we are in our abilities and where we think we stand in the Western Conference.”

Here’s more out of Memphis:

  • Although the Suns were missing leading scorer Devin Booker, Memphis’ 25-blowout win over Phoenix on Friday showed just how good the Grizzlies can be when they’re at full strength, Cole writes for The Commercial Appeal. Desmond Bane was only 4-of-13 from the floor in his return from a toe injury, but he “played decisively and looked fluid in his movements,” according to Cole. The starting five of Morant, Bane, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Steven Adams had a plus-44.8 net rating in its first 11 minutes together this season.
  • During ESPN’s broadcast of Friday’s game in Phoenix, Danny Green said he’s aiming to return from his ACL tear before February’s All-Star break, according to Evan Barnes of The Commercial Appeal. Green added that he did some 1-on-1 work on Friday for the first time during his recovery. “The knee is going smoothly,” the 35-year-old swingman said. “We’re in a good pace and hopefully you’ll see me before the break. That’s the target right now.”
  • Based on the current construction of the Grizzlies’ roster, Cole believes a healthy Green would likely take John Konchar‘s rotation minutes (Twitter link).
  • The Grizzlies will be in action on Christmas Day for the first time in franchise history. Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal explores what it means for the team to finally be considered one of the NBA’s marquee attractions.

Desmond Bane Upgraded To Questionable For Friday

After an extended absence, Grizzlies shooting guard Desmond Bane has been upgraded to questionable to play in Friday’s matchup against the Suns, Memphis reports (Twitter link). The 6’5″ swingman out of TCU suffered a Grade 2 sprain of his right big toe on November 11 and has been unavailable ever since.

Michael Wallace of notes (via Twitter) that, should Bane become available, this would mark the first time all season that the team has been able to play all of its preferred starting five of Bane, All-NBA point guard Ja Morant, small forward Dillon Brooks, power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. and center Steven Adams.

Through his first 12 games of 2022/23, Bane had been performing at an All-Star level for the ascendant Grizzlies, averaging a career-high 24.7 PPG on .465/.451/.912 shooting splits. He was also logging 4.9 RPG, 4.8 APG and 0.6 SPG.

With Bane sidelined, the Grizzlies have gone 10-7. Overall, the team sports a 19-11 record on the season, good for the second seed in the Western Conference as of this writing.

Desmond Bane Out At Least 3-4 More Weeks

Desmond Bane will miss at least three to four more weeks with a toe injury he suffered last month, the Grizzlies announced.

A press release from the team stated that Bane is making progress as he rehabs a right big toe sprain and sesamoid injury. He has been cleared to begin “a gradual re-loading protocol,” and if that goes well he could resume playing by late December or early January.

The third-year shooting guard was off to a strong start, averaging career highs with 24.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists while shooting 45.1% from the field. Memphis has a +9.2 net rating in the minutes that he has played.

The Grizzlies were 9-4 when Bane was injured in a Nov. 11 game against the Timberwolves. They have gone 6-5 since then and are currently third in the Western Conference standings.