Grizzlies Rumors

Grizzlies Sign Yuta Watanabe To Two-Way Deal

The Grizzlies have signed rookie forward Yuta Watanabe to a two-way contract, according to a team press release.

The signing has international significance. Watanabe will likely become just the second player born in Japan to appear in an NBA game. Yuta Tabuse appeared in four games for the Suns during the 2004/05 season.

The Grizzlies opened up a two-way contract slot by waiving swingman Myke Henry earlier on Friday.

The 6’9” Watanabe played for the Nets’ summer league team after going undrafted and averaged 9.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 1.6 BPG in 24.0 MPG over five games.

Watanabe played four years of college ball at George Washington University. Watanabe, 23, was named the 2017/18 Atlantic 10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year while averaging 16.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG and 1.6 blocks in 36.6 MPG.

Grizzlies Waive Swingman Myke Henry

The Grizzlies have waived swingman Myke Henry, according to a team press release.

Henry was signed to a two-way contract in January. The DePaul product appeared in 20 games with Memphis last season, averaging 5.4 PPG, 1.9 RPG and 1.1 APG in 18.9 MPG.  Henry, 25, also played in 38 G League games for the Oklahoma City Blue and Memphis Hustle last season,  averaging 16.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG and  2.1 APG.

By cutting Henry loose, Memphis frees up a two-way slot. Point guard Kobi Simmons is the other player on a two-way deal.

Shelvin Mack, Grizzlies Discussing One-Year Deal

The Grizzlies and free agent point guard Shelvin Mack are progressing in talks on a potential one-year contract, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

While Wojnarowski doesn’t provide any specifics on what such a deal would be worth, the Grizzlies used their full mid-level exception to sign Kyle Anderson and don’t have their bi-annual exception, having used it last year to sign Tyreke Evans. That leaves a minimum-salary contract as the only deal Memphis can offer.

Mack, who inked a two-year contract with Orlando in 2017, appeared in 69 games for the Magic last season, averaging 6.9 PPG, 3.9 APG, and 2.4 RPG in a backup point guard role. His salary for 2018/19 only included a small partial guarantee, so the Magic waived him last month before they were on the hook for the full amount.

If Mack completes a deal with the Grizzlies, he’d help provide some stability at point guard behind Mike Conley. Andrew Harrison, Jevon Carter, Kobi Simmons, and Garrett Temple are the other candidates to back up Conley, but Harrison, Carter, and Simmons don’t have much NBA experience, and Temple may be a better fit on the wing.

A deal with Mack may jeopardize Harrison’s spot on the roster. The Grizzlies currently have 15 players under contract, with Harrison representing the only non-guaranteed salary on their books.

Marcus Smart Signs Four-Year Deal With Celtics

2:36pm: Smart has officially signed his new contract with the Celtics, according to agent Happy Walters, who tweeted a photo of the signing. The team has also issued a press release confirming the deal.

9:25am: Marcus Smart has agreed to a four-year, $52MM deal to remain with the Celtics, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports first reported that the Celtics and Smart were finalizing a deal in that neighborhood after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said the two sides were engaged in serious discussions.

The final terms are a little higher than the $46-$50MM range that was reported yesterday, and the deal takes one of the last high-profile free agents off the market. Smart has been with the Celtics since being selected with the sixth pick in the 2014 draft and has developed into one of the league’s top perimeter defenders.

Smart’s contract will push the Celtics into luxury tax territory, at least for now, notes ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link). It will also become Boston’s only contract between $7-20MM, which could make it a valuable trade chip down the line, adds Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer (Twitter link).

A restricted free agent, Smart had expressed frustrations with the slowness of the process while waiting for an offer. He met with several teams, including the Nets and Grizzlies, last week during the Las Vegas Summer League, according to Charania, but also had a private meeting with Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. Significant progress was made in the past few days, allowing the team to quickly finalize a deal in a meeting this morning with Smart and his agent, Happy Walters.

The Celtics were happy to get a long-term deal done with Smart a year before backcourt mates Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier both become free agents, Charania adds. The team will now have at least one of its point guards locked up before entering into negotiations with Irving and/or Rozier.

Smart appeared in 54 games last season, with his playing time limited by a right hand injury caused by punching a glass frame and a torn UCL he suffered in his right thumb while diving for a loose ball in March that caused him to miss the start of the playoffs. He posted 10.2 PPG, 4.8 APG, and 3.5 RPG during the regular season, along with 1.3 steals per night.

“It’s been a tough summer with free agency and his mom’s (cancer),” Smart’s high school coach, Kenny Boren, tells Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. “It’s been tough emotionally for him.” (Twitter link).

Smart ranked 14th on our list of the Top 50 Free Agents of 2018. His signing leaves Clint Capela of the Rockets and Rodney Hood of the Cavaliers as the best unsigned players left on the market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kings Trade Garrett Temple To Grizzlies

3:03pm: The trade is now official, the Grizzlies and Kings announced in a pair of press releases.

10:44am: The Kings and Grizzlies are in the process of finalizing a trade that will send Garrett Temple to Memphis, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, Sacramento will receive Ben McLemore, Deyonta Davis, and cash in the deal. The Kings will also get a 2021 second-round pick from the Grizzlies, tweets Chris Herrington.

The move will add a established, versatile contributor to Memphis’ rotation. Temple, who is a strong defender and can play multiple backcourt and wing positions, averaged a career-best 8.4 PPG last year for the Kings, chipping in 2.3 RPG and 1.9 APG with a .392 3PT%.

While Temple has seen most of his minutes on the wing in recent years, Grizzlies starting point guard Mike Conley is coming off an injury-plagued 2017/18 season and Memphis doesn’t have a reliable veteran behind Conley on the depth chart, with Andrew Harrison, Jevon Carter, and Kobi Simmons in the backup mix. Temple could provide the club with another ball-handler when Conley is on or off the court.

The Grizzlies will add a little money to their payroll as a result of the deal, but the salary difference is minimal, and won’t have an impact beyond 2018/19. Temple is earning $8MM in the final year of his contract and McLemore is on an expiring deal worth $5.46MM. Temple and McLemore will be unrestricted free agents next summer, while Davis – who is earning about $1.54MM this year – will be eligible for restricted free agency.

Memphis is now less than $1MM away from the luxury-tax line, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who notes that recently-signed second-rounder Carter received a guaranteed two-year minimum-salary deal from the club.

For the Kings, the move represents a reunion with former seventh overall pick McLemore, who spent the first four years of his NBA career in Sacramento. He battled health issues and struggled last season for Memphis, averaging a career-worst 7.5 PPG on 4.21/.346/.828 shooting.

As for Davis, he showed some promise in a part-time role for the Grizzlies last season, posting 5.8 PPG and 4.0 RPG in 62 games (15.2 MPG). I wouldn’t expect either McLemore or Davis to take on a major role for the Kings, but they could earn spots in the rotation with strong showings in training camp.

The trade will open up a little extra cap room for the Kings, who now have about $20.5MM in space, easily the most in the league. Sacramento has 14 players under contract, so it will be interesting to see what the club has in mind for its remaining cap room and its final open roster spot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Grizzlies See Jackson Jr. As DPOY-Type Player

  • The Grizzlies see fourth-overall pick Jaren Jackson Jr. as a Defensive Player of the Year-type player, J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star writes. “He’s a natural talker and in order to be a great defender you got to be a natural talker. That’s what he is,” Memphis assistant Greg Buckner said.

Grizzlies Sign Jevon Carter To Multi-Year Deal

The Grizzlies have signed 2018 second-round pick Jevon Carter to a multi-year contract, the club announced in a press release.

The 32nd overall pick arrives in Memphis after four seasons at West Virginia and will compete with Kobi Simmons for reps at the backup point guard position.

Carter is currently with Memphis’ summer league squad competing in Vegas and has averaged 12.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game.

Grizzlies Attend Rodney Stuckey's Workout

  • Earlier today, we noted that Rodney Stuckey was holding a private workout in Las Vegas as he seeks a new NBA home. According to international basketball reporter David Pick (Twitter link), the Warriors, Nets, Grizzlies, Spurs, and Pacers had representatives at that session.

Marcus Smart Receiving Sign-And-Trade Interest

Several teams have inquired about the possibility of doing a sign-and-trade deal with the Celtics to acquire Marcus Smart, according to Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Schultz identifies the Grizzlies and Nets as two clubs that have considered a sign-and-trade scenario.

Smart reportedly met with four teams, including the Nets, this week in Las Vegas as he looks to secure his next contract. Because he’s a restricted free agent and the Celtics are expected to match any offer within reason, the veteran guard hasn’t had much luck finding a team willing to go through the motions of negotiating and signing him to an offer sheet.

While Smart could negotiate a new deal directly with the Celtics, Boston doesn’t seem all that eager to work something out. We heard earlier in free agency that Smart was frustrated by the lack of communication from the C’s, and Schultz cites a source who says the club has had “zero communication or contact” with the 24-year-old.

A sign-and-trade agreement that sends Smart to a new team could be a win-win, but there will be complications. Any club interested in acquiring Smart will have to offer up an asset or two that appeals to Boston. Additionally, the base year compensation rule would likely apply to Smart’s new deal, meaning the Celtics and his new team would count two different salary figures for salary-matching purposes — that could create issues for an over-the-cap club.

If Smart can’t find a sign-and-trade deal or an offer sheet with another team and the Celtics don’t engage more aggressively in talks on a multiyear contract, accepting his one-year qualifying offer remains a possibility.

Daniel Theis, Wayne Selden Get Salary Guarantees

When center Daniel Theis signed a two-year contract with the Celtics last summer, the second year of that deal was non-guaranteed. However, Theis would be assured of his full 2018/19 salary guarantee if he remainder under contract through July 10.

According to multiple reports, including one from Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe (Twitter link), the C’s had no intention of waiving Theis by Tuesday. As such, his $1,378,242 salary for next season is now guaranteed.

It was an easy decision for Boston after Theis enjoyed a solid rookie year as a regular part of the team’s rotation. In 63 games (14.9 MPG), the German big man averaged 5.3 PPG and 4.3 RPG, providing crucial depth in the Celtics’ frontcourt. His season came to an early end in March when he underwent surgery to repair his left knee lateral meniscus, but he should be ready to go for training camp.

Meanwhile, another player – Grizzlies shooting guard Wayne Selden – also had a July 10 guarantee deadline on his salary for 2018/19. However, Michael Wallace of recently indicated (via Twitter) that Memphis elected to guarantee Selden’s full $1,544,951 salary prior to the start of Summer League.

Theis and Selden will both be eligible for restricted free agency in the summer of 2019.