Jarell Martin

Southwest Notes: Nowitzki, Casspi, Grunwald

Utilizing Dirk Nowitzki as a sixth man might be the best strategy for the Mavericks during the upcoming season, Eddie Sefko of Dallas Morning News opines. The team seems committed to start rookie guard Luka Doncic, so if Nowitzki also starts, that would thrust Wesley Matthews into a bench role, Sefko notes. Pairing Nowitzki with reserve guard J.J. Barea in pick-and-pop situations might be a more sensible route, Sefko adds.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Omri Casspi‘s offensive skills will provide a different element to the Grizzlies’ rotation than Jarell Martin, the player he essentially replaces, according to Michael Wallace of the team’s website. Casspi, who signed a one-year deal in July, probably won’t play as much as Martin did but Casspi shot 58% from the field and 45.5% from long range for the Warriors last season. His ability to space the floor with his long-range prowess and also cut to the basket will make him an asset, Wallace continues. Martin has more athleticism and defensive versatility than Casspi but never produced as consistently as the Grizzlies had hoped, Wallace adds.
  • Former Raptors GM Glen Grunwald has accepted a consultant’s role with the Grizzlies, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star reports. Grunwald has also held preliminary negotiations with Canada Basketball, the country’s governing body for the sport, concerning its executive director opening, Smith adds. Grunwald left his post as the director of athletics and recreation at Canada’s McMaster University to join the Grizzlies organization.
  • What are the remaining offseason questions for Southwest Division teams? We take a closer look here.

Grizzlies In Limbo Between Contention And Rebuild

The Grizzlies are an interesting franchise to keep an eye on moving forward this season and beyond, as they are somewhat in a state of limbo – not quite rebuilding but not close to being a serious contender either – writes Mark Giannotto of The Commercial Appeal.

To be sure, Memphis had a relatively nice offseason. They drafted a potential future franchise cornerstone in Jaren Jackson, they signed Kyle Anderson to the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception, and traded for veteran guard Garrett Temple. By midseason, all three could possibly join Mike Conley and Marc Gasol in the Grizzlies’ starting lineup.

Yet, as Conley says, because of the new pieces learning to fit in and difficulty of the Western Conference, it may turn out to be an “awkward” year in Memphis.

“This season, expectations are still try to be that playoff team, that team that comes out and really makes it tough on everybody. But it is an awkward year with so many teams getting so much better [with] different acquisitions they made in the offseason.”

In addition to adding Jackson, Anderson, and Temple, the Grizzlies also traded away relative disappointments Ben McLemore, Deyonta Davis and Jarell Martin, while adding rookie Jevon Carter, a potential throwback-type player to the Grit ‘N’ Grind era.

Ultimately, it’s probably still going to be difficult for Memphis to make the playoffs in the West, even assuming a 22-win improvement from last year that would see Memphis literally double the amount of victories from a season ago. As such, a rebuild is probably closer to fruition than title contention.

As Giannotto notes, only seven players (not including Gasol’s player option) are signed beyond this season, and only rookie Dillon Brooks had a meaningful role on last year’s team. Accordingly, one would think that most teams would begin rebuilding this season. Only time will tell if the Grizzlies choosing to do otherwise was the right call.

Grizzlies Trade Jarell Martin To Magic

9:00pm: The trade is official, according to press releases from the Magic and Grizzlies.

3:31pm: The Grizzlies have agreed to a trade that will send Jarell Martin and cash to the Magic, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Memphis will acquire Dakari Johnson in the deal. Joshua Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel adds (via Twitter) that the Grizzlies will also receive the draft rights to 2015 second-rounder Tyler Harvey.

It’s the second time in the last week that Johnson has been traded. On Friday, Orlando acquired Johnson and cash from the Thunder in a deal that sent Rodney Purvis and his non-guaranteed contract to Oklahoma City. The move was a purely financial one for the Thunder, who figure to replace Johnson on their roster with a slightly cheaper rookie, reducing their projected tax bill.

Because Johnson wasn’t in the Magic’s plans, they’ll flip him to Memphis in another deal that has cap implications. The Grizzlies are right up against the luxury-tax line, so exchanging Martin and his $2,416,222 salary for Johnson ($1,378,242) will create a little extra breathing room for the club. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Grizz waive Johnson after acquiring him.

Martin, who was in danger of being cut by the Grizzlies last fall, had a strong camp and earned a spot in Memphis’ rotation for the 2017/18 season. In 73 games (36 starts), the 6’10” forward averaged 7.7 PPG and 4.4 RPG with a .446/.347/.767 shooting line.

Having played primarily at power forward last season, Martin likely would’ve seen his role reduced in Memphis this year — JaMychal Green, Kyle Anderson, Chandler Parsons, Omri Casspi, and Jaren Jackson Jr. could all see action at the four. It’s not clear whether the 24-year-old will get more opportunities in Orlando, with Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac expected to earn most of the power forward minutes.

Johnson, 22, was selected by the Thunder with the 48th overall pick of the 2015 draft but didn’t sign his first standard NBA contract until 2017. The seven-footer appeared in 31 games last season for Oklahoma City, averaging 1.8 PPG and 1.1 RPG in just 5.2 minutes per contest.

Grizzlies Sign Omari Johnson, Cut Marquis Teague

The Grizzlies have made a roster change today, announcing in a press release that they’ve signed forward Omari Johnson to a multiyear contract. To create an opening on the roster, Memphis has waived guard Marquis Teague.

Johnson, 28, went undrafted out of Oregon State in 2011 and has played for a variety of professional teams since then, spending time in Canada, Spain, and Lithuania, as well as in the G League. This season, the 6’9″ forward has played for the Grizzlies’ NBAGL affiliate, the Memphis Hustle, averaging 16.5 PPG and 6.4 RPG with a .460/.418/.824 shooting line in 44 games.

Johnson’s salary for 2018/19 will be non-guaranteed, notes Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com (Twitter link).

As for Teague, he only signed his rest-of-season deal with the Grizzlies three days ago, so his stint on a standard contract didn’t last long. Memphis may have preferred to get a longer look at a forward instead of Teague this summer after signing another guard – MarShon Brooks – to a multiyear deal today. Or the Grizzlies may have simply wanted to reward Teague with an NBA salary despite him not being a part of their long-term plans.

It’s also worth noting, according to Wallace (Twitter links), that the Grizzlies will be without forwards Jarell Martin (ankle) and Chandler Parsons (knee) for the season’s final four games, creating a need for some frontcourt depth. Wayne Selden (knee) will miss the rest of the season too, Wallace notes.

Southwest Notes: Smith, Davis, Harrison, Martin

Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr. impressed with his performance in the Dunk Contest, finishing third behind winner Donovan Mitchell and runner-up Larry Nance Jr. While the exposure from being in the event was great for the youngster, Smith understands that it’s not a guarantee that he will be a future All-Star, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News writes.

“There’s a lot of guys who do the dunk contest that will never be in the All-Star Game,” Smith said. “But then again, I was in the Rising Stars. It’s all about timing. I’ll pace myself and whenever my time comes, I’ll be in there.”

Smith, 20, has been solid for the Mavericks this season, averaging 14.8 PPG and 4.9 APG. He has been mentioned in Rookie of the Year discussions alongside Ben Simmons and Mitchell.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Anthony Davis‘ evolution from All-Star game reserve to All-Star Game MVP to perennial All-Star has solidified him among the NBA’s elite, Scott Kushner of The Advocate writes. Davis has taken the appropriate steps to increase his worth, including a developed three-point shot and intense rebounding. The regular season progression has been special but Kushner questions Davis maintaining that effectiveness in the postseason.
  • Sunday’s All-Star game was supposed to be a celebratory moment for Davis and DeMarcus Cousins as they were the two Pelicans selected to the event. However, a season-ending torn Achilles heel sidelined Cousins for the rest of 2017/18 and cast doubt on whether or not the impending free agent will ever team with Davis again, Kushner writes in a separate story.
  • Jarell Martin and Andrew Harrison were not expected to be major factors for the Grizzlies this season, having been candidates to be released in training camp. Even though the team is out of contention, both players have been solid, Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal writes.

Grizzlies Rumors: Gasol, Youngsters, Draft Missteps

After starting the season with a 7-4 record, the Grizzlies have won just one of their last 16 games, plummeting to second-last in the Western Conference at 8-19. Despite the team’s massive slump, general manager Chris Wallace continues to insist that Memphis won’t entertain the notion of trading Marc Gasol this season, writes Zach Lowe of ESPN.

“We think our window is still very much open with Mike [Conley] and Marc. I think we’ll be heard from the rest of this year, and in years to come,” Wallace recently said. The Grizzlies’ GM reiterated that sentiment on Tuesday, according to Lowe.

Wallace and others in the Grizzlies’ front office are “adamant” that their stance on Gasol – and rebuilding in general – won’t change this season, even if the team doesn’t start winning. Lowe is skeptical, suggesting there are probably scenarios in which Memphis at least gauges Gasol’s value, even if the team doesn’t shop him outright. Still, the ESPN scribe acknowledges that the Grizzlies may still prefer to play out the season, grab a lottery pick, and redouble their efforts to contend with Gasol and Conley in 2018/19.

Here’s more on the Grizzlies, including a few additional tidbits from Lowe’s feature:

  • Gasol insists that he won’t ask the Grizzlies for a trade, even if the team were to fall to 30 games below .500. “I would want to see how we got there — what the process is,” Gasol said, according to Lowe. “But as long as [owner] Robert [Pera] wants me here, my teammates want me here, they think I’m part of the solution — and not part of the problem — that’s all I need.” Still, if Memphis decides it wants to move him, Gasol would accept that too: “If they think it is best, I would do anything for this franchise.”
  • Wallace believes the Grizzlies can build for the future even as they focus on short-term contention, pointing to Dillon Brooks, Andrew Harrison, Jarell Martin, Deyonta Davis, and Ivan Rabb as young players who could evolve into solid rotation players. “How many teams who have been annual participants in the playoffs have as many guys under 24?” Wallace asked. Still, as Lowe notes, the Memphis GM admitted that it “remains to be seen” whether any of those players will develop into above-average NBA starters.
  • Taking a look back at some of the Grizzlies’ draft mistakes, Lowe cites sources who say that the club unsuccessfully tried to trade up for T.J. Warren in 2014. Memphis also considered drafting Nikola Jokic at No. 35 in 2014, but felt it was too high for him, per Lowe. Denver nabbed Jokic six picks later.
  • Like Lowe, Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal has gone into extended detail this week about what has gone wrong for the Grizzlies this year. On Sunday, Tillery explored how Memphis’ retooling plan has backfired, while on Tuesday he wrote about the club’s culture being called into question.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/26/17

Here are the G League moves from around the NBA today:

  • The Grizzlies recalled forwards Jarell Martin and Ivan Rabb from their Memphis Hustle affiliate, the team announced on its website. Martin, who was sent down Saturday, has played 17 games for the Grizzlies and two for the Hustle. Rabb has appeared in six G League games this season and just one in the NBA.
  • The Cavaliers have recalled Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic from the Canton Charge one day after they were assigned to the G League team. Both played in Saturday’s game against Long Island, with Osman posting 21 points and eight rebounds and Zizic adding 14 points and seven boards.
  • The Hawks assigned rookie guard Tyler Dorsey to their Erie affiliate, tweets Michael Cunningham of The Journal Constitution. Dorsey has played seven games for Atlanta and is averaging 2.3 points per night.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/25/17

Here are the G League moves from around the NBA today:

  • The Cavaliers sent forward Cedi Osman and center Ante Zizic to their affiliate in Canton, the team announced on its website. This is Osman’s first trip to the G League, while Zizic has played one game for the Charge. Osman is averaging 1.5 points in 11 games with Cleveland, while Zizic is scoring 1.2 points in six games.
  • The Grizzlies assigned forward Jarell Martin to their Memphis Hustle affiliate, according to an email from the team. Martin has played 17 games for the Grizzlies, starting 12, and is averaging 4.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in 18.4 minutes.

Southwest Notes: Rondo, Asik, Martin

The addition of Rajon Rondo to the Pelicans lineup helps ease the burden on superstar big men Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, William Guillory of The Times-Picayune writes.

When the guard was sidelined for 13 games as a result of a core muscle injury, Cousins – the Pelicans’ 6’11”, 270-pound center – ended up handling much of the team’s playmaking responsibilities.

I don’t have to be as much of a playmaker as I’ve had to be in the past,” Cousins said of Rondo’s return to the Pelicans. “Having a floor general like that and missing him from the beginning of the season, it hurt us as a team. But once we get him at 100 percent, I think we’ll be a totally different team.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • For the first time since last February, Pelicans big man Omer Asik was on the Pelicans‘ active list, William Guillory of The Times-Picayune writes, but that doesn’t mean he’ll start logging big minutes any time soon. “He hasn’t been able to run or condition or anything like that,” head coach Alvin Gentry said prior to the team’s Wednesday night contest. “Even when he’s released to play, it’s going to take a while for him to be able to play anything other than really short spurts.
  • Tennessee native Austin Nichols will suit up in the FedEx Forum as a member of the Memphis Hustle tomorrow night. It will mark the G League affiliate’s only performance in the Grizzlies‘ arena this season. “I was a little burned out on ball, but I’ve fallen back in love with it,” Nichols, once a featured member of the city’s revered college program until his unceremonious exit told Pete Wickham of Grind City Media. “I’ve matured on and off the court, trying to figure out who I wanted to be, and trying to mature as a person. I wanted to stay in the States, and when this option became available, it was great to be back home playing for the city.”
  • Although he hasn’t had much of an opportunity to showcase it, Grizzlies forward Jarell Martin believes that the sky is the limit for his development as a player, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype writes. The 23-year-old, who didn’t start playing basketball until his junior season in high school, has averaged 4.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game this season.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/18/17

Here are the G League moves from around the Association today:

  • The Grizzlies announced that forward Jarell Martin and center Deyonta Davis has been recalled from the Memphis Hustle, the Grizzlies’ NBA G League affiliate. Martin has started in 12 of his 13 games for the Grizzlies this season and Davis has suited up for the NBA club twice.
  • The Sixers will recall Furkan Korkmaz from the Delaware 87ers before tonight’s game against the Warriors, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (link via Twitter). Korkmaz has made one appearance for Philadelphia this season.