- The decision to gamble on former Spurs forward Kyle Anderson may help decide Chris Wallace’s future as GM of the Grizzlies, suggests Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Huge contracts for Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons were already straining the team’s cap when Wallace decided to extend a four-year, $37.2MM offer sheet to Anderson. San Antonio elected not to match, so Anderson will be in Memphis’ training camp next week as its top free agent addition of the summer. It’s a huge risk based on Anderson’s career numbers, which included a career-high 7.9 PPG and 5.4 RPG last season. Giannotto states that the Grizzlies should look to replace Wallace if it doesn’t work out.
Earlier this week, the Memphis Business Council hosted an event known as the “The Game Plan of Memphis Basketball.” A special guest of the event was Grizzlies head coach J.B. Bickerstaff. And as Mark Giannotto of The Commercial Appeal relays, there were plenty of questions to be answered by the Grizzlies’ head man, as noted below.
What is the team’s strength this season?
“IQ and intelligence… We got a bunch of guys that know how to think the game and if you can think the game, you can make up for some of the things that we lack. If you look at our team, and I hope this doesn’t offend any of our guys, we’re not the fastest of teams. But we have to be able to use our brains to put us in spots so that we can defend well and score the ball because we’re always one or two steps ahead of our opponent.”
What were the highlights of the team’s offseason?
“We’re going to be a completely different team than you guys saw at the end of last season. Our front office and ownership group have done a great job bringing in different players with different skill sets that kind of fit the theme and the direction that we’re heading in. We’re not as young as we used to be. We’ve brought in some proven, veteran guys like Kyle Anderson, Garrett Temple, Shelvin Mack, those type of guys, who can accentuate what Marc (Gasol) can do.”
How will the team look on the court?
“We’ve been preaching playing a unique style of basketball. Obviously, not reinventing the wheel but playing a game where size, physicality and toughness prevails. I think we’re fortunate that we have some big guys, some long guys, that are very skilled as well, so that they can do both… So we’re fortunate to have guys that can do those things, so that’s where we’re headed. Our guys are excited about it in the conversations we’ve had with them and I think we’re built for it.”
What is Kyle Anderson‘s role?
“He’ll be used at his strengths, which is versatility. He can play multiple positions. He can impact the game on both sides of the floor. I’ve been impressed, just going back and watching him and seeing him, is just how smart he is and how easily he thinks the game. Very rarely do you find him in the wrong spot, offensively or defensively, and he’s always doing something to help his teammates. I think guys like that are invaluable and his ability to play one through four, you can throw him on the floor at any position.”
Will Mike Conley be healthy for training camp?
“There’s no doubt about it. Mike’s been playing pick up, those types of things. Chandler (Parsons has) been playing pick up … For the first time in a long time, we’re looking at walking into training camp with healthy bodies and healthy, high caliber players. Not just guys who would be your 13th or 14th man. We’ve got our studs healthy, which we’re looking forward to.”
What are your hopes for Chandler Parsons?
“Just that he plays games. I think the hardest thing for him is battling with the injuries, and being in and being out, and then trying to catch a rhythm. The more games he plays, he’s proven, even last year in a short amount of time, when he played games in a row, he proved that he could be an effective player and he’s a talented basketball player. We just got to make sure he’s on the floor.”
Why will the bench be better this season?
“The key in all of this is having some experience when you’re trying to win like we’re trying to do. So having guys that have proven they can play in this league, they’re not second guessing themselves, and every single night, from a coaching standpoint, you know what you’re going to get out of guys, is huge… Not to take anything away from our young guys that were here with us last year, they were competing. They were giving it everything they had. They worked hard at it. But again, when you’re young, there’s always those ups and downs and you’re battling that inconsistency.”
Dakari Johnson, who has been with the Thunder for the past three years, will play in China this season, relays Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. The 22-year-old center has agreed to sign with the Qingdao Eagles, according to a report in the Jinan Times.
Johnson was traded twice this summer before the Grizzlies waived him at the end of August. Oklahoma City shipped him to Orlando in exchange for Rodney Purvis on July 20. Three days later, the Magic sent Johnson and the rights to 2015 second-rounder Tyler Harvey to Memphis for Jarell Martin and cash.
The Grizzlies used the stretch provision to get rid of the final year of Johnson’s contract, creating a cap hit of about $450K for each of the next three seasons.
The 48th pick in the 2015 draft, Johnson spent the first two years of his career in the G League with Oklahoma City Blue. He saw his first action for the Thunder last season, appearing in 31 games and playing about 5 minutes per night.
The Grizzlies have signed undrafted rookie Brandon Goodwin to a contract, reports Jon Roser of the Memphis Grizzlies Radio Network (Twitter link). According to Roser, it’s an Exhibit 10 deal for Goodwin, which means he’ll likely end up with the Memphis Hustle, the Grizzlies’ G League affiliate.
Goodwin, who began his college career at UCF before transferring to Florida Gulf Coast, was named the Atlantic Sun Conference’s Player of the Year in 2017/18. For the season, the 6’2″ point guard averaged 18.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 4.8 APG to go along with a .470/.275/.750 shooting line.
Goodwin wasn’t viewed as a top-100 prospect heading into the draft by experts like ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, so it didn’t come as a surprise that he went undrafted. Still, Memphis has had its eye on him for a while — the Grizzlies brought Goodwin in for a workout in early June, then added him to their Summer League roster. The 22-year-old averaged 12.0 PPG, 2.6 RPG, and 2.6 APG in seven games with the club in Las Vegas.
It has been a busy week for the Grizzlies in terms of roster moves. In addition to signing Goodwin, the team has also made three other moves since last Tuesday, adding Doral Moore to its camp roster and waiving Dakari Johnson and Kobi Simmons. Memphis has 19 players under contract after signing Goodwin.
The third overall pick from the 2018 NBA Draft, Luka Doncic, will not be part of the Slovenian national team for September’s FIBA World Cup qualifiers, per a Sportando report. Instead, he will remain in the United States to prepare for the upcoming NBA season, Doncic confirmed with a tweet.
Doncic, 19, was drafted by the Hawks with the third pick in the draft but was immediately traded to the Mavericks in exchange for the draft rights to Trae Young and a 2019 first-round pick. Given his past success internationally, it was possible that Doncic would have suited up for the Slovenian team before the NBA season started.
With Real Madrid this past season, Doncic racked up several major awards. He became the youngest player to win the EuroLeague Final Four Most Valuable Player award in addition to being named the EuroLeague MVP and Rising Star.
Check out more Southwest Division notes below:
- In an in-depth look at the recently retired Manu Ginobili, Gilbert Garcia of the San Antonio Express-News looked at how his presence around the organization made everyone appreciate him. After 16 seasons with the Spurs, the Argentina product announced he will retire instead of pursuing a 17th season.
- Trevon Bluiett impressed at Summer League, which paved the way for him to ink a two-way contract with the Pelicans. As Scott Kushner of The Advocate writes, Bluiett is excited about the opportunity and is ready to prove himself. “All I know is that it’s a foot in the door,” Bluiett said. “I don’t look at it as, I signed a two-way so I’m good and everything is done. It’s just a foot in the door to get to my ideal goal.”
- The Grizzlies finalized their basketball operations department, the team announced in a press release.
7:05 pm: The team will use the stretch provision on Johnson, creating annual cap hits worth just under $450K per season for the next three years, Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com tweets.
Johnson never got a chance to play for Memphis, as he was acquired via a trade with the Magic in July. Memphis shipped out Jarell Martin and tossed in cash considerations in that trade. Orlando acquired Johnson a few days earlier from Oklahoma City in exchange for guard Rodney Purvis.
He appeared in 31 games, including six starts, as a rookie with the Thunder last season. The 7-footer was a second-round pick in the 2015 draft and played parts of three seasons in the G League with the Oklahoma City Blue.
The Grizzlies could use the stretch provision on Johnson’s $1.378MM salary to help them create additional room below the luxury tax threshold. The deadline to use the stretch provision on his contract is today, since it’s an expiring deal. By waiving Johnson, Memphis also created a spot on the 15-man roster for point guard Andrew Harrison, whose deal is non-guaranteed.
1:43pm: The Grizzlies have officially signed Moore, the team announced today in a press release.
1:04pm: The Grizzlies have reached an agreement on a training camp deal with undrafted free agent Doral Moore, reports Jon Roser of the Memphis Grizzlies Radio Network (Twitter link). According to Roser, Moore is considered likely to join the Memphis Hustle after spending camp with the Grizzlies.
Moore is coming off a breakout junior year at Wake Forest in which he averaged 11.1 PPG, 9.4 RPG, and 2.0 BPG with a .689 FG% in 31 games (25.5 MPG). An early entrant in the 2018 draft, the 7’1″ center decided to forgo his final year of college eligibility to go pro, but wasn’t selected in June.
Moore joined the Wizards for Summer League play, though he didn’t see much action in Las Vegas, averaging just 4.2 minutes per contest. Still, the Grizzlies apparently like him enough to bring him to camp and reportedly plan on making him an affiliate player for the Hustle. If Moore signs an Exhibit 10 contract with Memphis, he’d be in line for a bonus of up to $50K if he spends at least two months with the team’s G League squad.
Assuming the Grizzlies finalize their reported deal with Moore soon, he’ll become the 19th player on the club’s offseason roster, leaving one open spot.
Having traded Ben McLemore to the Kings in a deal for Garrett Temple, the Grizzlies were able to transform their shooting guard spot from an area of concern into a potential strength, contends Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com.
As Wallace notes, eight different players started at the shooting guard position for the Grizzlies last season, but there should be more stability in 2018/19. While the team may still take a committee approach to the two spot, Temple, Dillon Brooks, MarShon Brooks, and Wayne Selden provide a handful of solid options who possess different sets of skills.
Here’s more on the Grizzlies:
- After an unsettled contract situation and an ankle injury hindered JaMychal Green‘s development last fall, he’s healthy entering a contract year in 2018/19. However, it remains to be seen what sort of role he’ll have in a crowded Grizzlies frontcourt, according to Peter Edmiston of The Commercial Appeal, who speculates that trade whispers may follow Green throughout the season.
- The Grizzlies have made a conscious effort this offseason to make roster moves that will help the club recapture its old grit ‘n’ grind mentality. In a separate article for The Commercial Appeal, Edmiston explores whether or not it’s reasonable to expect a defensive-first roster to have on-court success in the modern NBA.
- Former Grizzlies two-way player Kobi Simmons, who was waived by Memphis on Tuesday, is on track to clear waivers today, assuming he goes unclaimed.
- For more notes on the Grizzlies, be sure to check out our team page for the club.
- According to Michael Wallace of Grind City Media, Grizzlies rookie Yuta Watanabe is a perfect developmental prospect for today’s NBA because of his combination of length, shot-blocking and three-point range. Watanabe, 23, is trying to become only the second Japanese player to see action in an NBA game.