- Chandler Parsons‘ future with the Grizzlies could be as a stretch four rather than playing his natural small forward spot, according to Michael Wallace of the team’s website. That could be a sensitive subject this offseason with veteran power forward Zach Randolph becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer and fellow big man JaMychal Green entering restricted free agency. Knee injuries limited Parsons to 34 games in the first year of his four-year, $94MM contract with Memphis.
The Grizzlies may have to choose between Zach Randolph and JaMychal Green, Michael Wallace of Grind City Media writes. The scribe details Green’s first season as a starter in Memphis and what could come next as the offseason nears.
Given that Green is a restricted free agent this summer, the Grizzlies will have the option to match any offers he can scrounge up on the market. This, of course, means that teams like the Nets, Magic and Sixers with plenty of cap space can sign the forward to a lofty deal in hopes that Memphis doesn’t match.
Green’s defensive versatility, coupled with his three-ball make him a particularly appealing asset for a Grizzlies team with an aging core but foul trouble and a quick temper limited his impact.
If, as Wallace suggests, the team truly has an either/or situation on their hands, general manager Chris Wallace will need to choose between the intriguing 26-year-old hybrid forward and a Grizzlies legend.
The Grizzlies entered the 2016/17 season with high expectations, having hired David Fizdale to replace former head coach Dave Joerger and having locked up Chandler Parsons to a lucrative new four-year contract. However, 2016/17 looked a lot like 2015/16 for the Grizzlies, who increased their win total from 42 to 43 and managed to take the Spurs to six games in the first round instead of four.
In Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, Memphis has two cornerstone pieces, both of whom were at their best this past season, establishing new career-highs in scoring. But the Grizzlies have been unable to find the right complementary players necessary to take the next step — or at least have been unable to keep those players healthy.
Here are five questions facing the Grizzlies as they enter the offseason…
A year ago, the Mavericks decided not to bring back Parsons on a max deal, opting instead for Harrison Barnes. That decision raised some eyebrows at the time, but Dallas knew better than anyone that Parsons’ injury history was a red flag, as the Grizzlies saw first-hand during his first season in Memphis.
Parsons appeared in just 34 games for the Grizzlies in 2016/17, and even when he was able to get on the court, he struggled badly, shooting just 33.8% from the field and 26.9% on three-pointers. Both marks were career worsts by far.
Parsons was a career 38.0% three-point shooter before arriving in Memphis, and if he can regain his old form, he’d be an ideal threat on the wing to help take the scoring load off Conley and Gasol. But if Parsons continues to battle injuries, his contract – which is guaranteed for $72MM+ over the next three years – will be an albatross on Memphis’ cap, limiting the team’s flexibility to add other pieces.
The Timberwolves have finalized the purchase of the Iowa Energy, a D-League franchise, the team announced today (Twitter link). The Energy previously had a partnership with the Grizzlies, but we learned back in January that the Wolves would be taking over control of the Des Moines-based club going forward.
In the wake of today’s announcement, it makes sense to take stock of where things stand in regard to NBA teams and their D-League affiliates. In 2016/17, 22 NBA clubs had one-on-one relationships with D-League teams, leaving eight NBA franchises without their own affiliates. However, changes are in store for the 2017/18 season, as the Development League becomes known as the Gatorade League.
Here are the changes expected for the 2017/18 G-League season, including updates on all the teams without affiliates:
- Atlanta Hawks: Will take over the Erie BayHawks, with an affiliate of their own in College Park, Georgia lined up for the 2019/20 season. Previously unaffiliated.
- Denver Nuggets: No concrete plans reported.
- Los Angeles Clippers: Hoping to operate new affiliate in 2017/18.
- Memphis Grizzlies: Will own and operate a new affiliate in Southaven, Mississippi. Previously affiliated with the Iowa Energy.
- Milwaukee Bucks: Will own and operate a new affiliate in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Previously unaffiliated.
- Minnesota Timberwolves: Will take over the Iowa Energy. Previously unaffiliated.
- New Orleans Pelicans: No affiliation for 2017/18. Intend to own and operate a new affiliate for the 2018/19 season. Search reportedly narrowed to six cities.
- Orlando Magic: Will own and operate a new affiliate in Lakeland, Florida. Previously affiliated with the Erie BayHawks.
- Portland Trail Blazers: No concrete plans reported.
- Washington Wizards: No concrete plans reported.
With cornerstone pieces like Mike Conley and Marc Gasol locked up for the long term, the Grizzlies looked to add another player to their core last summer, and landed on Chandler Parsons, who signed a maximum salary contract with the team. Parsons’ first year in Memphis was derailed by injuries, which prevented the club from taking a step toward title contention. With Parsons’ pricey deal on the books for three more years, the Grizzlies will have to hope he’s able to contribute something going forward, since his contract – combined with Conley’s and Gasol’s – will make it very difficult for the team to add any other marquee players.
Here’s where things currently stand for the Grizzlies financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2017:
- Mike Conley ($28,530,608)
- Chandler Parsons ($23,112,004)
- Marc Gasol ($22,642,350)
- Brandan Wright ($5,955,760)
- Troy Daniels ($3,408,520)
- James Ennis ($3,028,410)
- Wade Baldwin ($1,874,400)
- Jarell Martin ($1,471,382)
- Deyonta Davis ($1,312,611)
- Andrew Harrison ($1,312,611)
- Jamaal Franklin ($163,296) — Waived via stretch provision
- Total: $92,811,952
- Wayne Selden ($1,312,611)
- Total: $1,312,611
Restricted Free Agents
- JaMychal Green ($2,820,497 qualifying offer / $2,820,497 cap hold)
- Total: $2,820,497
- Zach Randolph ($15,542,168)
- Tony Allen ($10,460,674)
- Vince Carter ($8,101,708)
- Wayne Selden ($1,312,611) — If team option is declined
- Total: $35,417,161
Projected Salary Cap: $101,000,000
Maximum Cap Room: $6,556,818
- With no cap hold for a first-round draft pick to worry about, the Grizzlies would have $94,443,182 on their books if they only kept their players on guaranteed salaries, plus a pair of empty roster cap charges. In that scenario though, their projected cap room would be less than the mid-level exception, and it would mean renouncing free agents like Green, Randolph, Allen, and Carter. As such, Memphis is far more likely to stay over the cap and make an effort to re-sign at least a couple of those players.
Carter remained productive in his 19th professional season, averaging 8.0 points in 73 games with the Grizzlies. He started all six playoff games against the Spurs and played 32.5 minutes per night.
“I said to myself ‘I want to play 15 years’. I don’t know where I got that from,” Carter said. “And then I got to 15 years and I kept going. I never capped it, but at the same time I’ve had a lot of players remind me of things I’ve said. I’m still saying ‘two more years and I’m done.'”
Carter will be a free agent after making a little more than $4.26MM this year. He came into camp with only a $2MM guarantee, but managed to stay on Memphis’ roster the entire season.
The Grizzlies haven’t indicated whether they plan to bring Carter back, and the team faces difficult decisions with Zach Randolph, Tony Allen and JaMychal Green also headed toward free agency. With big contracts for Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons and Marc Gasol already in place, Memphis enters the offseason with only about $6MM in cap room.
But Carter insists that he will be ready if he does return to the Grizzlies, saying, “I could play three more rounds of basketball right now.”
While cornerstone pieces like Mike Conley and Marc Gasol remain under contract for multiple years, the Grizzlies will see some key players hit the open market this summer, including Tony Allen. Speaking today to the media after Memphis was eliminated from the postseason, Allen said he’s “not trying to break the bank” in free agency and is “confident” he’ll return to the Grizzlies, per Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal (Twitter link).
Allen had previously expressed a desire to stay in Memphis, likening the possibility of leaving to a “divorce” and suggesting that he didn’t want to think about that scenario. At the time, the veteran guard said that he’ll always be a Memphian even if he doesn’t re-sign with the club.
Allen, 35, is coming off his 13th NBA season, and has spent the last seven of those years in Memphis. His production has remained remarkably consistent during that seven-year stretch — he has never averaged fewer than 8.4 PPG or more than 9.8 PPG, and continues to provide the club with solid defense on the wing, though he missed the end of this season – and the playoffs – due to a calf injury.
Allen’s salaries during that stretch have also been fairly consistent. He earned $3MM in his first season with the Grizzlies back in 2010/11, and has seen that figure rise a little each year — he made about $5.5MM in 2016/17.
With nearly $93MM in guaranteed salary already on their books for 2017/18, the Grizzlies won’t have the flexibility to use cap room if they intend to re-sign Allen and/or Zach Randolph. Still, they hold Allen’s Bird rights, allowing them to offer him anything up to the max. Despite Allen’s assertion that he’d not looking to “break the bank,” another modest raise seems fair if he intends to remain in Memphis.
JaMychal Green, who is eligible for restricted free agency this summer, also said today that he hopes to return to the Grizzlies, indicating that Memphis “feels like home” for him (Twitter link via Tillery).
Last year’s NBA Finals combatants, the Cavaliers and Warriors, made quick work of their first round playoff opponents, dispatching the Pacers and Trail Blazers respectively in four games apiece. However, many of the other first round series around the NBA remain very much up in the air.
Currently, four series are tied at 2-2, with two of those Game Fives scheduled for tonight, and two more on tap for Wednesday. The Clippers and Jazz have each split their home games, resulting in a 2-2 tie, while the No. 7 seeded Grizzlies won two home games over the Spurs following David Fizdale‘s post-Game 2 “take that for data” rant, pulling even in that series. Those four teams will be in action tonight.
Over in the Eastern Conference, the No. 1 seeded Celtics find themselves tied with the No. 8 Bulls in an unusual series in which road teams are 4-0 so far. Meanwhile, the Hawks ripped through the Wizards‘ defense in two games in Atlanta, evening that series at 2-2. Both of those series will resume on Wednesday.
In each of those four series, the higher seed maintains the advantage, with two of the final three games on their home court. But most of those higher seeds don’t look as formidable as they did entering the postseason.
What do you think? Will any of these series result in upsets? If the Jazz are able to knock off the Clippers, should that series even be viewed as a legit upset, given the absence of Blake Griffin and the teams’ identical regular season records?
Vote below on which lower seeds will make it through the first round — you can pick as many as you want. After placing your vote, share your thoughts in the comments section!
The NBA handed out a pair of fines on Wednesday, docking Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale $30K for his post-game rant about the officiating following his team’s Game 2 loss in San Antonio. The league also fined Marcus Smart $25K for making an obscene gesture toward home fans during the Celtics’ Game 2 loss to the Bulls.
Fizdale was a lock to be fined even before his Monday night rant concluded with the “take that for data” line that instantly went viral. The Grizzlies head coach spent time after Monday’s loss pointing to the free throw discrepancy between the two teams, after Kawhi Leonard shot more free throws than the entire Grizzlies squad.
According to Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal and Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter links), Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley sent Fizdale a text early on Tuesday morning thanking him for his comments. Conley and his teammates intend to reimburse Fizdale for the $30K fine as a sign of appreciation for aggressively taking a stand on their behalf.
Meanwhile, Smart received his $25K fine after TNT cameras showed Smart appearing to exchange words with a fan in Boston before flipping him the bird. Head coach Brad Stevens called the incident, which came midway through the fourth quarter with the Celtics trailing the Bulls by a 14-point margin, “unacceptable.”