Jarell Martin

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 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 Journal Times 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.

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

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

  • After assigning Jarell Martin and Deyonta Davis to the G League earlier today, the Grizzlies recalled the duo, according to the team (Twitter links). Martin and Davis participated in shootaround with the Memphis Hustle this morning, returned to the Grizzlies for practice, and have since been reassigned to the Hustle, per a team press release.
  • The Raptors also made a pair of G League moves, sending Alfonzo McKinnie to the G League early in the day, then recalling McKinnie along with Bruno Caboclo later in the afternoon (Twitter links). Both players could be active for Toronto tonight against the Knicks, with Norman Powell and Delon Wright sidelined.
  • The Sixers have assigned rookie guard Furkan Korkmaz to the G League, the club announced in a press release. The Delaware 87ers are in action tonight, so Korkmaz figures to suit up for them in their game against Erie.

Grizzlies Pick Up Jarell Martin’s 2018/19 Option

1:38pm: The Grizzlies have officially exercised their fourth-year option on Martin, the club confirmed today in a press release.

9:01am: The Grizzlies will exercise their 2018/19 team option on Jarell Martin‘s rookie contract in advance of Tuesday’s deadline, league sources tell Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). It’s a fourth-year option for the young power forward.

It’s an impressive turn of events for Martin, who appeared on the verge of being waived earlier this month. Entering training camp, Memphis was carrying more than 15 players on guaranteed contracts, and Martin appeared to be the odd man out. However, the club gave him the opportunity to make an impression during the preseason and he did just that, earning a roster spot over youngsters Wade Baldwin and Rade Zagorac, who were both waived.

In the early going this season, Martin has been the Grizzlies’ starting power forward, averaging a career-high 23.9 minutes per game. He’s contributing a modest 7.1 PPG and 4.6 RPG.

Now that Martin has earned his place on the roster for the 2017/18 season, it makes sense for the Grizzlies to pick up his 2018/19 option, which has a small cap charge of approximately $2.42MM. Even if the team decides next summer that Martin isn’t part of the plans for the ’18/19 season, it likely wouldn’t be hard to find a taker for a player on an expiring contract with such a minimal cap hit.

Martin will now be extension-eligible during the 2018 offseason, so that could be an option for the Grizzlies if they really like what they see from the 23-year-old this year. If he doesn’t get an extension, the former 25th overall pick will become eligible for restricted free agency in the summer of 2019.

Grizzlies Looking For Trades Before Roster Deadline

The Grizzlies are exploring trades to reach the roster limit, tweets Keith Smith of RealGM. The team has 16 guaranteed contracts and must get rid of two players by Monday.

Past reports out of Memphis indicated that power forward Jarell Martin is most in danger of being waived, along with point guards Andrew Harrison and Wade Baldwin. Mario Chalmers doesn’t have a fully guaranteed contract, but he has looked good in recent weeks and appears to have a leg up over the younger point guards.

A first-round pick in 2015, Martin will make more than $1.47MM this year. He has spent much of the past two seasons in the G League, but played 42 games for the Grizzlies in 2016/17, averaging 3.9 points per night in about 13 minutes.

Harrison earned a spot in the rotation as a rookie point guard last season and appeared in 72 games, starting 18. He has a guaranteed $1,312,611 salary for this year and a fully non-guaranteed $1,544,951 for 2018/19.

Baldwin, a first-round pick in 2016, appeared in 33 games as a rookie point guard. He is guaranteed more than $1.87MM for this season.