Dillon Brooks

Southwest Notes: Caboclo, Brooks, Wright, DeRozan

The move toward small-ball lineups throughout the league has convinced the Grizzlies to often utilize Bruno Caboclo as an undersized center, Omari Sankofa II of The Athletic reports. Caboclo needs to show his versatility to stay on the roster, since his salary of $1,845,301 doesn’t become fully guaranteed until January 10. He played 34 games with Memphis last season, including 19 starts.

“We’ll probably utilize him in a lot of different spots, four and five,” Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins said. “We put him at (center) in Summer League and are just really getting him comfortable offensively where he has to be at his spots on the floor.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Dillon Brooks is looking to secure the shooting guard spot in the Grizzlies‘ lineup after an injury-marred second year in his NBA career, Michael Wallace of the team’s website writes. He appeared in all 82 games as a rookie but lost his starting spot last season, then wound up playing just 18 games due to a toe injury that required season-ending surgery. “It really humbled me and made me take the game more professionally,” Brooks said of last season to Wallace. “At first, with the glitz and glamour and all that other stuff, it kind of came too fast to me. Once it got taken away, it was like, ‘I’ve got to be serious. Be professional, but still have fun with it and understand that (basketball) always comes first.’ That’s what I’ve been doing throughout the summer.”
  • Delon Wright believes he’ll have a breakout season after joining the Mavericks in a sign-and-trade with the Grizzlies, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News relays. “I feel like I’m at that point of my career where it’s time,” Wright said. Wright, who could be paired in the backcourt with Luka Doncic, received a three-year deal worth just over $30MM.
  • An extension might be the way to go for both the Spurs and DeMar DeRozan, Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express News opines. A report surfaced on Friday that the two parties were in extension talks. As previously noted, the 30-year-old DeRozan could get a maximum of approximately $149MM over four years, starting in 2020/21. That would require him to decline his 2020/21 player option and replace it with the first year of the extension.

Grizzlies’ Morant Ready For Camp; Melton Out 4-8 Weeks

The Grizzlies issued a series of injury updates on their players this afternoon, most notably announcing that No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant will be ready to fully participate in training camp next week. Morant, who sat out Summer League, is recovered from the minor arthroscopic procedure he underwent on his right knee in June, according to the team.

The Grizzlies also confirmed that Kyle Anderson (thoracic outlet decompression surgery), Dillon Brooks (toe surgery), and Jaren Jackson Jr. (thigh bruise) are good to go for training camp. Brooks and Jackson were dubbed “fully recovered,” while Memphis said that Anderson is “progressing as expected” in his recovery.

It wasn’t all good news for the Grizzlies though. According to the club, newly-acquired guard De’Anthony Melton has been diagnosed with a stress reaction in his back. The former Sun is undergoing off-loading and treatment to resolve the injury, and is expected to recover and resume basketball activities in about four to eight weeks.

Melton, the 46th overall pick in the 2018 draft, was traded from Houston to Phoenix a couple months after being drafted, then was dealt from the Suns to the Grizzlies earlier this summer. The 21-year-old averaged 5.0 PPG, 3.2 APG, and 2.7 RPG in 50 games (19.7 MPG) as a rookie and is expected to be Memphis’ third point guard behind Morant and Tyus Jones this season.

First though, he’ll have to get healthy. And with the Grizzlies’ opener less than four weeks away, it appears Melton will almost certainly miss the start of the regular season.

Team Canada Dealing With Depleted Roster

Much has been made of the withdrawals from Team USA by prominent players as it prepares for the FIBA World Cup in China this summer. Team Canada has experienced similar issues.

Canada Basketball unveiled its training camp roster in a press release and many notable names are missing. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Dillon Brooks, Brandon Clarke, Luguentz Dort, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Mfiondu Kabengele, Naz Mitrou-Long, Trey Lyles, Dwight Powell, Marial Shayok, Nik Stauskas, and Tristan Thompson were among the invitees who opted not to participate.

Knicks lottery pick RJ Barrett and Nuggets guard Jamal Murray are on the roster but will only participate in training camp. Barrett is dealing with a mild calf strain, while Murray is nursing an ankle injury, Blake Murphy of The Athletic tweets.

Among the NBA players who are on the roster and intend to participate in the tournament are Kings guard Cory Joseph, Heat forward Kelly Olynyk, Magic center Khem Birch and Raptors big man Chris Boucher. Toronto’s Nick Nurse is the head coach of the team, which will play seven exhibition games before its FIBA opener against Australia on September 1.

Grizzlies Granted Disabled Player Exception

The Grizzlies have been granted a disabled player exception for the 2018/19 season by the NBA, reports Omari Sankofa of The Athletic (Twitter link). The team will have until March 11 to use the exception.

If a player is seriously injured, his team can request a disabled player exception to replace him. In order for the exception to be granted, an NBA-designated physician must determine that the player is “substantially more likely than not” to be sidelined through at least June 15. In the Grizzlies’ case, it’s Dillon Brooks who will be out for the next several months.

[RELATED: Dillon Brooks to miss rest of season]

The disabled player exception allows a club to add a replacement player for 50% of the injured player’s salary, or for the amount of the non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception, whichever is lesser. Brooks’ salary is $1,378,242, so Memphis’ new DPE is worth a very modest $689,121.

While a disabled player exception can be used to trade for a player or claim a player off waivers, the amount of the Grizzlies’ DPE is less than the minimum salary for a rookie, all but eliminating those options.

Memphis could technically use its disabled player exception to sign a player for more than the minimum salary, since that figure prorates over the course of the season — as of today, a rest-of-season minimum contract for a veteran would be worth about $649K.

However, Memphis is already right up against the luxury-tax threshold and would cross that line by using the entire exception. In other words, this DPE is unlikely to be used. Still, it doesn’t hurt to have, especially since the Grizzlies don’t have any of their mid-level exception or bi-annual exception available.

The Grizzlies would have to clear a roster spot in order to use their new exception. Currently, Bruno Caboclo occupies the final spot on the club’s 15-man roster, but his spot will open up if he’s not re-signed once his 10-day contract expires in early February.

Grizzlies Applied For Disabled Player Exception

January 15 was the final day for NBA teams to apply for a disabled player exception for the 2018/19 season, and before that deadline passed, the Grizzlies submitted a request for a DPE, tweets Omari Sankofa II of The Athletic.

If a player is seriously injured, his team can request a disabled player exception to replace him. In order for the exception to be granted, an NBA-designated physician must determine that the player is “substantially more likely than not” to be sidelined through at least June 15. In the Grizzlies’ case, it’s Dillon Brooks who is expected to be out until the summer.

[RELATED: Dillon Brooks to miss rest of season]

If granted, the disabled player exception allows a club to add a replacement player for 50% of the injured player’s salary, or for the amount of the non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception, whichever is lesser. Brooks’ salary is $1,378,242, so assuming Memphis receives a DPE for him, it will be worth a very modest $689,121.

A disabled player exception can be used to sign a free agent, claim a player off waivers, or acquire a player in a trade. Because it’s designed to replace an injured player for a single season, a DPE can only be used to sign or acquire a player on a rest-of-season contract. The deadline to use it is March 11.

Disabled player exceptions generally go unused, and that will likely be the case for Memphis too, especially given the team’s proximity to the luxury tax line. Still, it doesn’t hurt to apply for the exception, as the club has an open spot on its 15-man roster.

The Grizzlies don’t have their mid-level exception or bi-annual exception available, so even a small disabled player exception could come in handy — the minimum salary exception is declining in value every day due to proration, meaning $689K may actually be worth more than the minimum, depending on when it’s offered and how many years of experience the player has.

Memphis is the third team to apply for a disabled player exception this month, joining the Wizards (John Wall) and Mavericks (J.J. Barea).

Dillon Brooks To Miss Rest Of Season

JANUARY 11th, 5:56pm: Brooks underwent surgery to repair a ruptured ligament in his right big toe, according to a team press release relayed by Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix in a tweet. He’ll miss the rest of the season, but a full recovery is anticipated prior to training camp.

JANUARY 9th, 2:34pm: The Grizzlies haven’t provided an official recovery timeline yet for Brooks, but confirmed today (via Twitter) that he has ruptured a ligament in his right big toe and will undergo surgery this week.

11:25am: Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks is set to undergo a procedure on a right toe injury and will likely miss the rest of the season, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). A Grizzlies source confirmed to Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian (Twitter link) that Brooks is likely out for the season.

Although Brooks may be done for 2018/19, he’s expected to make a full recovery and go through a full summer of workouts, according to Charania. The 22-year-old remains under contract with Memphis for one more season at a bargain rate of $1.62MM, so he figures to be back on the court for the club in the fall.

It’s a tough blow for the Grizzlies, who saw Brooks emerge last season as the club’s starting small forward in his rookie year. He averaged 11.0 PPG and 3.1 RPG with a .440/.356/.747 shooting line in that role, playing in every game and showing promise as three-and-D wing.

Brooks was displaced from the starting lineup in 2018/19 due to the arrival of a handful of new additions, including Kyle Anderson and Garrett Temple, and has battled health issues for much of the season. Before suffering his toe injury, Brooks also dealt with a sprained left MCL. He played just 18 games this season and many of his numbers were down, though he remained a three-point threat (37.5%).

Of course, the biggest Brooks-related story of this season was his involvement – or lack thereof – in the failed three-team trade the Grizzlies negotiated with the Wizards and Suns last month. The Grizzlies believed they were giving up Wayne Selden and MarShon Brooks in the deal, while the Suns thought they were getting Selden and Dillon Brooks. The agreement fell apart over the miscommunication and Memphis is now without all three of those players for the rest of the season — Selden and MarShon Brooks were sent to Chicago in a subsequent deal for Justin Holiday.

With Dillon Brooks expected to miss the second half and Chandler Parsons away from the team, the Grizzlies figure to lean more heavily on Temple, Anderson, Holiday, and Omri Casspi.

Southwest Notes: Davis, Paul, Parsons, Brooks, Smith

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry believes LeBron James‘ comment that it would be “amazing” to play with Anthony Davis constitutes tampering, William Guillory of The Athletic tweets. An NBA statement on Friday indicated the James’ statement did not rise to the level of tampering. Gentry vehemently disagreed. “It’s tampering,” Gentry said. “Should we have AD say, ‘Why don’t we trade for LeBron?'” Gentry went on further to say, “I thought if you talked about a player under contract, it’s tampering. That’s just me. I’ve only been in the league for 31 years, so what would I know?”

We have more from around the Southwest Division:

  • Rockets All-Star guard Chris Paul has a Grade 2 hamstring strain and will be reevaluated in two weeks, according to a team press release. Paul suffered the injury against Miami on Thursday.
  • The Grizzlies are hopeful that forwards Chandler Parsons and Dillon Brooks will return to action soon, David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports. Parsons hasn’t played since the third game this season due to knee and back soreness but has ramped up his workouts lately. Brooks, who has not played since November 10th due to a Grade II MCL sprain, should return before the New Year. They could boost an offense that has reached 100 points just once the past 10 games, Cobb adds.
  • On that same topic, Michael Wallace of the team’s website notes that rookie forward Jaren Jackson Jr. and veteran combo guard Shelvin Mack have slumped recently. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff believes confidence is a factor for the team in general. “We can come up with schemes and tricks and all that, but on the offensive end of the floor, we’ve got to take the shots that are available to us,” he said. “We’ve got to believe the shots are going in. Guys are working their tails off, taking their reps. We’ve got to get them those shots, and when they get them, they’ve got to take them and knock them down.”
  • Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. probably won’t play again until after Christmas, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reports.  Smith has missed six of the last seven games due to a wrist injury. He’s unlikely to return until after the team’s road trip, which concludes Sunday.  Their next home game is Wednesday against the Pelicans.
  • Davis’ decision whether to sign a Designated Veteran extension with the Pelicans looms as one of this summer’s biggest stories, as Danny Leroux of The Athletic notes. Davis has no financial incentive to wait until potential free agency the following summer, so if he doesn’t sign it, that probably means he wants out of New Orleans, as Leroux details.

Grizzlies GM Speaks Out On Failed Trade

The Suns traded Trevor Ariza to the Wizards this morning without any involvement from the Grizzlies after last night’s three-team deal collapsed because of confusion over whether Dillon Brooks or MarShon Brooks was being sent to Phoenix.

Memphis GM Chris Wallace spoke to reporters today about the drama and denied that his team had any role in making the Suns think they were getting Dillon instead of MarShon, writes Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian.

“We were very clear about who was in the trade,” Wallace said. “Contrary to reports, it was not Dillon Brooks. It put us in a very difficult situation with our players when individuals from one or both of those teams leaked the deal while we were playing last night. That forced me to do something I’ve never done in 30 years in this league working for seven teams: To drag two players out of the locker room to tell them they’d been traded and then come back and tell them, no, you haven’t been traded.”

The proposed deal would have sent Ariza to Washington, Kelly Oubre to Memphis and Austin Rivers, Wayne Selden and Brooks — either Dillon or MarShon — to Phoenix. It’s obvious why the Suns would prefer the 22-year-old Dillon Brooks, who was a second-round draft pick in 2017 and is coming off a promising rookie season. MarShon Brooks, 29, is with his fifth NBA franchise and was out of the league for more than three years before Memphis signed him last season.

The trade was virtually finalized before the Grizzlies and Suns realized they were talking about different players, which Wallace admits was an unprecedented turn of events.

“”Fortunately MarShon and Wayne are pros and after I explained it to them they’re both OK with the situation and we’re all moving forward,” Wallace said. “But what happened last night was unfathomable. From our standpoint, and we made this very clear, it was not Dillon Brooks.”

Wallace believes much of the confusion came about because the Grizzlies and Wizards were both occupied with games. News of the deal leaked before those games concluded, which may help to explain the contradictory reports. Herrington notes that original reports had Dillon Brooks as part of the deal, so it’s unlikely they came from Memphis.

Wallace explained that the trade began to come together Thursday afternoon, but most of the work was done Friday through “multiple discussions” with Washington. He adds that the three teams could probably have worked out the confusion behind the scenes if news of the deal hadn’t been leaked. He also suggested that the incident may make him wary about future dealings with the Suns and Wizards.

“I don’t carry grudges, but I’m not happy about what happened last night,” he said. “We were put in a very difficult position with our players, a position we take great pains not to get into, and we were forced to talk to them (about a trade) right after a loss in the locker room. This should all have stayed in house, and it didn’t, and that started the avalanche going downhill.”

Latest On Failed Three-Team Trevor Ariza Trade

In what was a whirlwind few hours on Friday night, a three-team deal centered around Suns’ swingman Trevor Ariza fell apart.  As it was reported, the deal would have sent Trevor Ariza to the Wizards and Austin Rivers to the Suns, and allowed the Grizzlies to acquire Kelly Oubre for Wayne Selden, two second-round picks, and one other player.

The confusion came over the identity of that other player as the Grizzlies believed they were dealing MarShon Brooks while the Suns thought Dillon Brooks was headed their way. We outlined in a pair of stories how the deal fell apart, particularly with the Grizzlies and Suns using the Wizards as a conduit in lieu of direct communication. The deal was scrapped after all three teams spoke directly and the Brooks-related confusion became apparent.

In his latest report, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski added new tidbits of information in regards to the scrapped trade and where Ariza may be headed.

  • After the original deal fell apart, several other teams began to push Phoenix to enter the fray for Ariza’s services. The Lakers and Rockets were both engaging the Suns for Ariza, Wojnarowski noted. Along with the Wizards, this marks three of Ariza’s former teams being in contention to reacquire him.
  • The Suns privately insisted they had direct conversations with Grizzlies officials on Dillon — not Marshoon — Brooks and Memphis denied that, per Wojnarowski. The Grizzlies viewpoint is that Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld negotiated the deal and that a miscommunication with interim Suns GM James Jones led to the gaffe.
  • All the parts in the three-team swap were finalized until the Grizzlies and Suns saw conflicting reports on which Brooks was included in the deal. That led to a direct conversation in which the Suns informed Memphis that a deal would not happen unless it included Dillon Brooks.
  • Ariza and his agent are hopeful that he finds his way back to the Lakers. However, that seems unlikely at this point as Suns owner Robert Sarver is wary of dealing him to the Lakers after criticism that Tyson Chandler‘s buyout created an easy path to Los Angeles.  For what it’s worth, Wojnarowski reports that the Lakers were eager to acquire Ariza.

Wizards, Suns Still Discussing Trevor Ariza

12:42am: The Wizards and Suns are still talking to try to determine whether they can figure out a new deal involving Ariza, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

12:28am: The Suns will have veteran forward Trevor Ariza away from the team for Saturday’s game against Minnesota as they look to resolve his situation, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). As we’ve detailed at length tonight, the Wizards appeared to be on the verge of acquiring Ariza before the deal fell apart.

Ariza officially became trade-eligible when the clock struck 12:00 am on December 15, though there’s no rush to move him right away rather than waiting until closer to the February 7 trade deadline. Still, after Friday’s near-deal, perhaps the Suns simply want to move on from the 33-year-old as soon as possible.

For what it’s worth, interim Suns co-GMs James Jones and Trevor Bukstein have displayed a willingness once already this season to move quickly on a roster move, as they bought out Tyson Chandler‘s contract months before the NBA’s usual buyout period.

It’s not clear whether the Suns will try to finalize another variation of today’s failed Ariza trade with the Wizards or if they’ll look to work something out with a new suitor for the forward. An earlier report indicated that Suns owner Robert Sarver is opposed to sending Ariza to the Lakers, who are said to be interested. Jabari Young of The Athletic tweets that the Spurs are also believed to have interest in Ariza, though Sarver may not be enthusiastic about working with San Antonio on a deal either.

Meanwhile, even though Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace issued a statement tonight adamantly denying that his team discussed Dillon Brooks or spoke to the Suns during the negotiating process of the three-team Ariza deal, various reports continue to suggest otherwise.

Charania tweets that the Suns and Grizzlies had a “handful of discussions” involving Dillon Brooks, while Candace Buckner of The Washington Post reports (via Twitter) that those Brooks conversations happened for over a week. The Wizards and Suns were both clear that Dillon Brooks, not MarShon Brooks, was the player that would be involved in the deal, according to both Buckner and Charania. A league source suggests to Buckner that “Memphis maybe got cold feet” (Twitter link).

While Buckner echoes an earlier report that indicated the Suns received Dillon Brooks’ medical info from the Grizzlies, Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian (Twitter link) hears from a source that Brooks’ medicals were never exchanged with Phoenix.