Grizzlies Rumors

Southwest Notes: Kennard, Pelicans, Murphy, Whitmore

Checking in on where things stand between the Grizzlies and Luke Kennard, Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes that the sharpshooter’s return to Memphis “still feels inevitable” even though it’s taking longer than expected.

The Grizzlies declined Kennard’s $14.8MM team option at the end of June, but the expectation has always been that he would return on a more team-friendly cap number. He hasn’t been linked to any other suitors since free agency began.

Sources tell Cole that the Grizzlies would like to keep their 15th roster spot for the sake of flexibility entering the regular season. Since the team currently has 14 players on guaranteed standard contracts, re-signing Kennard may mean trading someone else — Ziaire Williams is rumored to be on the block.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • While head of basketball operations David Griffin said on an ESPN broadcast this week that the Pelicans are “really excited” about what they have at center and are looking forward to playing “small and fast,” it’s fair to wonder if one more move is coming to shore up the position, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. Veteran Daniel Theis currently sits atop New Orleans’ depth chart at the five, with rookies Yves Missi and Karlo Matkovic behind him and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl potentially in the mix as well.
  • Within the same story, Clark reports that the Pelicans and fourth-year wing Trey Murphy have opened discussions about a rookie scale extension. The two sides have “differing viewpoints” on Murphy’s value for now, but there’s optimism they’ll find a middle ground and make a deal before the October 21 deadline, Clark writes.
  • Rockets forward Cam Whitmore has been shut down for the rest of Summer League, but rookie guard Reed Sheppard will continue playing in Las Vegas, reports Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link). Last year’s Summer League MVP, Whitmore has struggled with his shooting efficiency this time around, making just 38.3% of his shot attempts, including 1-of-14 three-pointers, but Houston knows what he’s capable of offensively and he impressed in other areas (7.0 RPG, 4.3 APG, 3.3 SPG).

Charania’s Latest: Markkanen, Warriors, Ingram, Bucks, Trent, Westbrook, More

The Warriors have been the “most engaged” trade suitor for Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen this offseason, but the two teams are divided on what a potential Golden State package would look like, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic.

According to Charania, the Warriors have discussed an offer that would center around Moses Moody and a number of draft assets, including multiple first-round picks, multiple second-rounders, and multiple pick swaps. However, Utah has sought “the bulk of young talent and capital” Golden State controls, including Brandin Podziemski and Jonathan Kuminga in addition to Moody and draft assets. Sources tell Charania that idea has been a “non-starter” for the Warriors.

Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram is another notable name still on the trade market, but teams around the league believe his market is limited, according to Charania, since some potential suitors (including the Kings and Spurs) made moves for other forwards and most other teams aren’t looking to make a major trade at this point in the offseason. If the market for Ingram remains quiet, New Orleans could assess its current group to open the regular season before deciding whether a trade is necessary, Charania suggests.

With most of the NBA’s other teams focused on tweaking their rosters around the edges, one high-ranking team official told Charania, “It might be one of the more quiet summers.”

Here’s more from Charania:

  • The Bucks are in the market for help at shooting guard and are among the contending teams pursuing Gary Trent Jr., sources tell The Athletic. However, due to its proximity to the second tax apron, Milwaukee is limited to a minimum-salary offer, and one recent report suggested that Trent isn’t interested in accepting a minimum deal. The Bucks are hosting a free agent workout this week in Las Vegas, Charania notes, with Will Barton expected to be among the participants.
  • While there has been no action on the Russell Westbrook front as of late, the Clippers and the former MVP still plan to part ways this offseason, says Charania. The Nuggets are considered the favorites to sign Westbrook if he reaches free agency, Charania adds, but Los Angeles is still discussing possible trades.
  • The Grizzlies are exploring trade possibilities involving former lottery pick Ziaire Williams, sources tell Charania. The Grizzlies aren’t far from the luxury tax line and will likely have to shed some salary if they want to use their full mid-level exception or re-sign Luke Kennard while staying out of tax territory.

Southwest Notes: Geriot, Murphy, Edey, Castle

Dan Geriot is joining the Pelicans as an assistant coach under Willie Green, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps tweets. Geriot spent the past nine years with the Cavaliers. New Orleans’ interest in Geriot was reported earlier this week.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Pelicans wing Trey Murphy, who is participating this summer with the Select Team, said that if Zion Williamson can stay healthy, New Orleans will be a serious contender. “You get to see what a generational talent looks like with a healthy team. That’s the biggest thing. We’ve got to be healthy,” Murphy told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. “That’s always been our thing for my entire time in New Orleans. If we have a healthy team, I think we can make a deep run.”
  • Grizzlies lottery pick Zach Edey sat out Friday’s Summer League game against the Kings with a mild ankle sprain, according to Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com (Twitter link). Edey is expected to return to action in Las Vegas at some point.
  • Spurs lottery pick Stephon Castle has aspirations to be a starting point guard but it probably won’t happen this year with Chris Paul signing with the club. Castle says he’s looking forward to the experience of playing with and learning from the future Hall of Famer. “I’m super happy about that,” Castle told Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. “To have a guy like that and play alongside him and have him mentor me a bit, it’s going to be fun.”

Groups Revealed For 2024 NBA Cup

The NBA has announced the five-team groups for this year’s in-season tournament, now renamed the Emirates NBA Cup, the league announced in a release on Friday (Twitter link).

Like last year, there are six groups — three each from the Western Conference and Eastern Conference — and each conference was split into five groups based on last year’s standings. One team was selected at random from each group to determine the group round matchups.

The results are:

  • West Group A: Timberwolves, Clippers, Kings, Rockets and Trail Blazers
  • West Group B: Thunder, Suns, Lakers, Jazz and Spurs
  • West Group C: Nuggets, Mavericks, Pelicans, Warriors and Grizzlies
  • East Group A: Knicks, Magic, Sixers, Nets and Hornets
  • East Group B: Bucks, Pacers, Heat, Raptors and Pistons
  • East Group C: Celtics, Cavaliers, Bulls, Hawks and Wizards

The NBA Cup begins with group play, which runs from Nov. 12 to Dec. 3. Each team plays one game against each of the four opponents in its group. The NBA released a matchup matrix to help fans follow along (Twitter link).

Just like last season, the winner of each group advances to a knockout round alongside the team with the best record in each conference that didn’t win a group. The semifinals and finals will again be played in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Last year, the Lakers won the inaugural in-season tournament over the Pacers. LeBron James was named the tournament MVP after dropping 24 points in the title game.

The full game and broadcast schedule for group play will be announced next month.

Scotto’s Latest: Jones, Kennard, Martin, Okogie, Knicks, Shamet, Klintman

The Clippers are showing interest in free agent guard Tyus Jones in sign-and-trade scenarios, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reports in his latest around-the-league notebook.

While this is just speculation on Scotto’s part, the Clippers could look to use some combination of the expiring contracts of P.J. Tucker and Russell Westbrook or draft compensation and Bones Hyland in sign-and-trade scenarios for the Wizards guard.

Jones, our No. 15-ranked free agent, averaged 12.0 points and 7.3 assists per game last season while shooting 48.9% from the field and 41.4% from beyond the arc.

We have more from Scotto:

  • The leaguewide expectation is that Luke Kennard will return to the Grizzlies after the organization declined his team option before free agency, Scotto writes. Kennard averaged 11.0 PPG on 45.0% shooting from deep last season.
  • As we noted earlier Friday, it’s likely the Sixers look to use newly signed KJ Martin‘s contract as a trade chip when he becomes eligible to be moved on Jan. 15. The Sixers could trade for a player making $14MM if they packaged Martin alongside three minimum-salary players in a trade.
  • The Suns gave Josh Okogie a similar deal to what Martin got and could also look to utilize his salary as a trade chip, Scotto reports. However, unlike Martin, Okogie’s deal can’t be aggregated with other players on Phoenix’s roster due to the team’s position relative to the second tax apron.
  • The Knicks are trying to add both size and shooting to their roster this offseason, Scotto writes. Davis Bertans has previously been mentioned as an option for the Knicks, and they’re also expressing interest in free agent guard Landry Shamet. As reported, New York has shown interest in Walker Kessler but Utah’s asking price remains high. Meanwhile, Precious Achiuwa remains open to a return to New York.
  • Outside of the Knicks, Scotto reports that Shamet has drawn “exploratory interest” from the Bucks, Heat and Timberwolves. A return to the Wizards isn’t out of the question either.
  • The Pistons are attempting to finalize a contract with their No. 37 overall pick Bobi Klintman. Klintman is expected to end up on the 15-man roster on a multiyear contract, according to Scotto. The Pistons were intrigued by his size and shooting ability and are hoping to have him on a standard deal.

Western Notes: Morant, Klay, Wiggins, Barnes, Avdija

Grizzlies guard Ja Morant has been cleared for all basketball activities, according to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Morant, who missed the first 25 games of the 2023/24 season due to a suspension, returned to action in December and immediately provided a spark for the Grizzlies, who won six of nine games with the star point guard in the lineup. However, a labral tear in Morant’s right shoulder ended his season after those nine games. He has been recovering from surgery in the months since then.

The Grizzlies were one of the NBA’s most injury-plagued teams in ’23/24, but head coach Taylor Jenkins told reporters back in April that only Morant projected to have a recovery timeline extending well into the offseason. With a fully healthy roster, there’s optimism in Memphis that the club can bounce back from a 27-55 year and look more like the club that went 107-57 over the previous two regular seasons.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Referring to his deal with the Mavericks as a “fresh start,” Klay Thompson told reporters on Tuesday that he’s optimistic about “kind of being rejuvenated” in Dallas, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN details. “Feeling just wanted again, like I bring great value, it just gets me excited to go out there and even work out after this press conference and get shots up,” Thompson said. “Yeah, there was times last year where it was tough, where it wasn’t as joyful as it was in the past. It’s nice to kind of shed that and have a whole new fresh start, whole new group of guys to get to know, co-workers, whole new city. It’s really cool, and I’m going to embrace the heck out of this opportunity.” In a story for The Athletic, Tim Cato takes a look at how Thompson will fit in on the Mavs’ roster.
  • Aaron Wiggins‘ new five-year contract with the Thunder is worth $45MM, with $2MM in bonuses that could push it up to the initially reported total of $47MM, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). The deal has a descending structure and includes a fifth-year team option, Scotto adds.
  • New Spurs forward Harrison Barnes confirmed on Tuesday that he waived his $3.7MM trade kicker to facilitate his move to San Antonio, calling it a “pretty easy decision” and adding that he’s excited about playing for head coach Gregg Popovich, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN.
  • New Trail Blazers forward Deni Avdija admitted on Monday that he was surprised to be traded by the Wizards, according to Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report (Substack link). “I think they really love me,” Avdija said of his old team. “I’ve done a lot for that organization. It was just not the timeline, I guess.” Now that he has gotten past that initial surprise, the 23-year-old is “excited” about the new opportunity in front of him. “They’ve welcomed me very well, so it’s a good start,” he said. “I’m glad to be in a place where people embrace me and love me. I’m going to bring my competitiveness, and we’re going to have a lot of fun.”

Olympic Notes: France, Japan, Spain, Flagg, Brooks

The host nation for the 2024 Olympics officially confirmed its roster for the Paris games, announcing a 12-man squad headlined by centers Rudy Gobert and Victor Wembanyama of the Spurs and Timberwolves, respectively (Twitter link).

Besides France’s twin towers, other NBA players on the French squad include Clippers forward Nicolas Batum, Wizards forward Bilal Coulibaly, and free agent swingman Evan Fournier. Nando De Colo, Frank Ntilikina, and Guerschon Yabusele are among the other players on the team who have previous NBA experience.

As first reported by Gabriel Pantel-Jouve of BeBasket on Sunday (via Twitter), France’s final two cuts were also former NBA players — guards Elie Okobo and Theo Maledon won’t be on the 12-man roster for Paris.

Here are a few more notes on the upcoming Olympic games:

  • As expected, Japan’s official 12-man roster for the Olympics is headed up by Lakers forward Rui Hachimura and six-year NBA veteran Yuta Watanabe (Instagram link). Former Nebraska Keisei Tominaga, who recently agreed to an Exhibit 10 deal with the Pacers, is another notable name on the 12-man squad.
  • After winning their Olympic qualifying tournament over the weekend, Spain is making just one change for the Olympics, as Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops writes. Veteran wing Alex Abrines, who played in the NBA with Oklahoma City from 2016-19, has been medically cleared to play following an injury and will replace 2024 Spurs second-round pick Juan Nunez for the Olympics. The full roster, which includes Santi Aldama of the Grizzlies and the Hernangomez brothers, can be found right here (Twitter link).
  • Incoming Duke freshman Cooper Flagg said over the weekend that he was “pretty surprised” to be invited to be part of the Select Team for the U.S. training camp in Las Vegas, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. However, Flagg was the talk of that Vegas camp, earning rave reviews from players and coaches alike, according to Joe Vardon and Sam Amick of The Athletic. Select Team assistant coach Jim Boylen referred to the 17-year-old as “unbelievable,” while teammate Jaime Jaquez said Flagg was “playing out of his mind.” Flagg is a candidate to be the No. 1 pick in the 2025 draft. “He showed no fear,” Jalen Duren said. “He came and worked hard every day. You would think he’s already here, you know what I mean?”
  • After defeating Team USA with the Canadian national team for bronze at the 2023 World Cup, Dillon Brooks is eager to face a more star-studded U.S. in Wednesday’s exhibition game in Las Vegas, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic. “I take it as (just) another game, but me being who I am, I like to make a statement,” Brooks told reporters on Monday. “So I’ll be ready to play. Team Canada will be ready to play, and we’re gonna go balls to the wall and watch the film after and see if we got better.”

Grizzlies Sign Second-Round Pick Cam Spencer To Two-Way Deal

The Grizzlies have signed second-round pick Cam Spencer to a two-way contract, the team’s PR department tweets.

Memphis acquired Spencer’s draft rights in a four-team swap that featured the Pistons, Timberwolves and Raptors.

Spencer played a major role in UConn’s second consecutive national championship after transferring from Rutgers.

The No. 53 pick in the draft, Spencer started all 40 games for UConn last season and averaged 14.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.5 steals in 32.8 minutes. The 24-year-old, who was selected First Team All-Big East, shot 48.4% from the field, 44.0% from 3-point range and 91.1% from the free throw line.

Spencer fills the Grizzlies’ final open two-way slot. Scotty Pippen Jr. and Trey Jemison occupy the other two-way spots.

Southwest Notes: Ingram, Grizzlies, Barnes, Spurs

The Hawks were considered a possible trade suitor for Brandon Ingram this offseason, but they ended up not having much interest in giving the forward his next contract or surrendering either Clint Capela or Onyeka Okongwu in a trade with the Pelicans, league sources tell William Guillory of The Athletic.

As a result, the Pelicans and Hawks instead made a deal involving Dejounte Murray that didn’t include Ingram or either of Atlanta’ centers. Now it’s unclear whether New Orleans will be able to find a trade partner for Ingram, who will be on an expiring contract in 2024/25.

According to Guillory, both the Pelicans and Ingram would prefer not to go into training camp without an extension, since it may become a distraction. That could mean New Orleans will be looking to complete a trade by late September, but it also doesn’t sound like a new contract for the former All-Star is out of the question. Guillory cites “some optimism within the building” that Ingram and the Pelicans could work out an extension below the max that leaves both sides happy.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • The Grizzlies have officially announced Taylor Jenkins‘ new-look coaching staff for the 2024/25 season (Twitter link). Anthony Carter and Patrick St. Andrews are the only returning assistants, though one newcomer (Jason March) had been coaching the Memphis Hustle, while another (Erik Schmidt) was the Grizzlies’ head video coordinator. Joe Boylan (formerly of the Timberwolves), Patrick Mutombo (from the Bucks), Tuomas Iisalo (Paris Basketball), and Noah LaRoche are the other additions. Former assistants Blake Ahearn, Brad Jones, Scoonie Penn, Sonia Raman, and Vitaly Potapenko have all been replaced, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.
  • LJ Ellis of SpursTalk shares his thoughts on the Spurs‘ impending acquisition of Harrison Barnes, explains why he likes the fit and why he expects the veteran forward to be a starter in San Antonio. As Ellis notes, more minor roster moves will be necessary to open up enough cap room to accommodate Barnes’ incoming salary, so he’s reluctant to give his final assessment of the deal until it’s clear what those moves will be.
  • As Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News points out (via Twitter), the Spurs wouldn’t have been in position to add both Barnes and Chris Paul if they had kept the No. 8 overall pick in the draft, which carried a cap hit of $6.26MM.

Grizzlies Sign Zach Edey To Rookie Contract

No. 9 overall pick Zach Edey has signed a rookie scale contract with the Grizzlies, the team announced (via Twitter).

The 7’4″ Edey was named National Player of the Year in each of his last two seasons at Purdue. He averaged 25.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.2 blocks per game this season as the Boilermakers reached the championship game of the NCAA Tournament. His other honors as a senior include All-Big Ten First Team, NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team and NCAA Midwest Region Most Valuable Player.

Despite his college accolades, Edey was originally viewed as questionable to be taken in the lottery because of doubts regarding how well he can adapt to the NBA game. He’ll join a Memphis team that’s in need of size and should give him plenty of playing time right away.

The Canadian center was on the preliminary roster for his country’s Olympic team, but he recently withdrew to concentrate on preparing for his first NBA season.

Assuming Edey received the maximum contract for the ninth pick, he will earn about $5.76MM as a rookie and approximately $26.2MM over the four-year deal. The Grizzlies will hold his third- and fourth-year options.