Memphis Grizzlies – Hoops Rumors Legitimate NBA free agent and trade rumors. 2019-12-10T05:34:13Z https://www.hoopsrumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Luke Adams <![CDATA[Morant Ready To Return; Jackson Held Out Of NBAGL Game]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=146902 2019-12-09T21:59:43Z 2019-12-09T21:59:43Z While Pelicans fans continue to wait for their top pick to return to action, the Grizzlies got some good news today regarding the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), Ja Morant will return to action on Monday night vs. Golden State. Morant hasn’t played since November 29 due to back spasms.

  • Former No. 4 overall pick Josh Jackson was held out of today’s Memphis Hustle game for violating team rules, the Grizzlies‘ G League affiliate announced (via Twitter). Jackson missed a team meeting, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. It’s a disappointing turn of events for a player who had been doing a good job rehabbing his image in the G League. As David Cobb of The Memphis Commercial Appeal details, Jackson had been considered a strong teammate and leader with the Hustle so far this season.
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Luke Adams <![CDATA[Brandon Clarke Week To Week With Oblique Injury]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=146224 2019-12-03T23:47:57Z 2019-12-03T23:47:57Z Just three days after ruling out Ja Morant with a week-to-week injury, the Grizzlies have done the same with their other prized rookie. Forward Brandon Clarke aggravated a sore left oblique muscle during Sunday’s game and will be sidelined on a week-to-week basis, the team announced today in a press release.

The 6-14 Grizzlies are certainly lottery-bound, but Morant and Clarke have at least been two bright spots – and reasons to keep an eye on the young team in Memphis – so far this season. Clarke has averaged 11.8 PPG and 5.9 RPG with a .630 FG% in 18 games (21.2 MPG). In his absence, the club will presumably lean a little more heavily on bigs like Jaren Jackson Jr., Solomon Hill, and Bruno Caboclo.

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Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Ja Morant Sidelined With Back Spasms]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145521 2019-12-01T01:58:04Z 2019-11-30T23:04:57Z Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant will be out of action on a “week-to-week basis” with back spasms, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

The star point guard first hurt his back in Monday’s game at Indiana when he collided with a camera operator after a layup attempt, writes David Cobb of The Commercial Appeal. He was helped off the court and appeared to be pointing to the middle of his upper back, Cobb adds, but later returned to the game.

Morant scored just 11 points against the Jazz last night, shooting 4 of 13 from the field, and appeared to be bothered by back pain. He is off to a strong start in his first NBA season, averaging 18.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6.4 assists through 17 games.

Morant’s absence provides an opportunity for Tyus Jones, who came to Memphis this summer when the Timberwolves declined to match a three-year, $24MM offer sheet. He is averaging 19.3 minutes per night as a backup to Morant. Marko Guduric and De’Anthony Melton should also get an increase in playing time.

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JD Shaw <![CDATA[Western Notes: Crowder, Lakers, Holiday, Bates-Diop]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145987 2019-12-01T02:07:30Z 2019-11-30T19:46:07Z Former Jazz forward Jae Crowder took time this week to discuss his time with the team, detailing the close friendships he made and the impact head coach Quin Snyder had on him.

Crowder, who was acquired by the Grizzlies last July, also discussed Memphis’ slow start to the 2019/20 season in an interview with Aaron Falk of Jazz.com.

“We’ve come out on the losing end, so obviously we’re not where we want to be but we’re figuring it out,” Crowder said. “We’re competing at a high level and trying to do what it takes to win games. At this level, with a young team, it’s just hard to win games. We’re learning from our losses and wins and trying to build every day.”

The Jazz traded for Crowder in February of 2018, giving the 29-year-old roughly one-and-a-half seasons with the franchise. He averaged 11.9 points in 80 games for the team last season, quickly gaining respect from the fans and confidence from the coaching staff.

“He just gave me a mindset that added on to fueling my fire,” Crowder said of Snyder. “To always compete at a high level and always embrace wherever you’re at in life. He gave me a role on that team and I’m appreciative of him. I’ve told him that personally. I appreciate him believing in me, believing in my effort and coaching me the way that he coached me.”

There’s more from the Western Conference today:

  • The Lakers tied a team record on Friday for the best start in franchise history, extending their current record to 17-2. The team recorded their 10th straight win with a victory over Washington, led by the likes of Anthony Davis (26 points, 13 rebounds) and LeBron James (23 points, 11 assists). “Obviously, this is a historic franchise; they have done so many great things,” Davis said, as relayed by Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. “To be a part of a franchise like this is definitely amazing. I just want to leave my mark here and just keep it going. Obviously, our goal is to add another banner here. It’s something we feel like we can do, and if we do that, to be a part of that would be nothing but great.”
  • Andre Iguodala, one of the league’s all-time great defenders, has tabbed Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday as the best defensive player in the NBA today. “Best defender in the league… @Jrue_Holiday11”, Iguodala wrote on social media. Holiday is consistently mentioned as one of the toughest defenders in the NBA, with the 29-year-old making the All-Defensive Second Team in 2019 and All-Defensive First Team in 2018.
  • Timberwolves forward Keita Bates-Diop is slowly but surely forcing his way into the team’s rotation, Chris Hine writes for the Star Tribune. Bates-Diop, 23, was drafted 48th overall in 2018 by the Wolves after spending four seasons at Ohio State. He’s averaged 8.9 points in seven games (17.9 MPG) this season.
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Chris Crouse <![CDATA[Western Notes: Murray, Iguodala, Roberson]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145929 2019-11-29T23:11:11Z 2019-11-29T22:25:59Z Dejounte Murray has come off the bench for the Spurs recently and the point guard says that he’s not stressing over his role.

“I am just here to play basketball, man,” Murray said when asked how he’s handling coming off the bench (via Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News). “Try to be a great teammate. And on the basketball end, play as great as I can on both ends of the floor and just compete.”

Murray was set to enter the 2018/19 season as the starting point guard before suffering a knee injury that cost him the season. Derrick White stepped up as the starter last year and coach Gregg Popovich believes that inserting White into the starting lineup this season will help the team improve its game.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

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Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Southwest Division]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145812 2019-11-28T21:18:36Z 2019-11-28T04:58:32Z Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Southwest Division:

Brandon Ingram, Pelicans, 22, SF (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $23.8MM deal in 2016
More appropriately, Ingram’s stock is way, way up. Ingram’s last season with the Lakers was cut short by a blood clot issue. He averaged 18.3 PPG but there was still skepticism just how good Ingram was. He’s answered that emphatically in his first 13 games with the Pelicans, posting All-Star level numbers (26.1 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 4.2 APG, 45.9 percent on 3s). The Pelicans will make him a restricted free agent by extending a $9.48MM qualifying offer. Will Ingram re-sign with New Orleans, sign a big offer sheet, or sign the QO and test unrestricted free agency the following summer? For sure, he’ll get paid.

Courtney Lee, Mavericks, 34, SG (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $48MM deal in 2016
Lee’s value to Dallas is mainly his expiring contract, which could prove useful as the Mavs look to acquire another piece to their vastly improved squad. Lee’s playing time has been mainly limited to garbage-time minutes. After two solid seasons with the Knicks, Lee’s career has declined the past two seasons. His 3-point prowess (38.7 percent for his career) might earn him a short-term deal next summer but he won’t be making anywhere near $12MM next season.

Gerald Green, Rockets, 33, SG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.56MM deal in 2019
Have we seen the last of Green in the NBA? That’s a strong possibility, considering his age and long-term rehab from a foot injury. He underwent surgery in late October and is expected to miss the regular season and likely the postseason as well. Green, a 12-year NBA veteran, has made prior stops with Boston, Minnesota, Houston, Dallas, New Jersey, Indiana, Phoenix and Miami during his professional career. He was a major contributor off the Rockets’ bench last season, averaging 9.2 PPG and 2.5 PPG in 73 contests. Another veteran’s minimum deal is his best hope.

Marco Belinelli, Spurs, 33, SG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $12MM deal in 2018
Belinelli’s perimeter shooting has made him one of the league’s most reliable second-unit players for years. The shooting touch has abandoned him, one of the many reasons the Spurs have struggled this season. Belinelli is shooting just 29 percent from the field while averaging 5.2 PPG. He has averaged in double figures off the bench for the past four seasons. Gregg Popovich has continued to give him steady minutes, so Bellinelli’s production should return to the norm. But if his playing time is reduced, he may have to settle for the veteran’s minimum next summer.

Dillon Brooks, Grizzlies, 23, SF (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3.8MM deal in 2017
Brooks was limited to 18 games last season, mainly due to a toe injury that required surgery in January. He has come back at full strength and started every game this season for the Grizzlies. He’s the team’s third-leading scorer at 13.3 PPG while making 38.7 percent of his 3-pointers. It’s a foregone conclusion the Grizzlies will extend a $2MM qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent this summer. The 2017 second-round pick will get a substantial pay raise regardless of how his free agent journey unfolds.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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Chris Crouse <![CDATA[Mavs Expected To Enter Andre Iguodala Sweepstakes]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145790 2019-11-29T21:33:58Z 2019-11-27T15:13:31Z Andre Iguodala remains on the Grizzlies. He’s away from the team and the franchise is expected to trade him at some point this season. Many assume that Los Angeles will ultimately be where the former Finals MVP ends up but that’s far from a certain outcome.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com hears from rival executives that the Mavericks could be contenders for Iguodala’s services. Courtney Lee ($12.8MM) is on an expiring deal and the team could package him along with another young player or draft picks (Windhorst mentions Dallas’ extra second-round picks) to acquire Iguodala.

The Mavericks have the NBA’s best offense, though their defense is in the bottom half of the league, per NBA.com. Iguodala could bring his defensive prowess to a team that is already outproducing its expectations this season.

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Alex Kirschenbaum <![CDATA[Pacers Notes: A. Holiday, Mitrou-Long, Sabonis, Brogdon]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145539 2019-11-26T01:02:01Z 2019-11-24T21:09:59Z With their second-year point guard Aaron Holiday on a tear recently, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star notes that the Pacers will be sure to field a litany of trade offers. Nine months ago, team advisor Larry Bird apparently cautioned Indiana against including Holiday in a potential trade deal for Mike Conley with the Grizzlies. Bird was confident in the potential of Holiday, picked 23rd in the 2018 NBA Draft. The Magic and Suns apparently also expressed interest in making a move for Holiday around the 2018/19 trade deadline.

Following a performative hiccup at the start of the season, Holiday has picked up his play of late. Though he will return to the bench after starting in the injured Malcolm Brogdon‘s absence, Michael speculates that Holiday has displayed enough flashes to tantalize teams as a potential trade chip once again.

There’s more from Indianapolis:

  • Speaking of Brogdon, The Athletic’s Scott Agness tweets that the point guard will return to the floor for the Pacers tomorrow against the Grizzlies for the first time since injuring his back on November 15th against the Rockets. “I think I stepped wrong and my back reacted strongly to it,” Brogdon said, per Agness. “They said I strained a muscle and possibly a joint. But now the inflammation has gone away, my movement is all the way back, I have no pain and I feel great on the court.”
  • Two-way player Naz Mitrou-Long spoke with Mark Montieth of Pacers.com about his unlikely path to Indiana. A five-year college player for Iowa State, Mitrou-Long toiled in the 2017 Summer League and saw 15 games of NBA action as a two-way player for the Jazz in 2017/18 and 2018/19. He joined the Pacers on November 17th for emergency spot rotation minutes in a game against the Bucks before making the most out of the team’s next outing, a win against the Nets in which he scored 12 points in 25 minutes. “I know guys who have been in the league for three, four, five years who are looking to put a stretch together to reassure themselves,” Mitrou-Long said. “Playing a game like Brooklyn and getting my feet wet against Milwaukee, feeling the comfortability, it reassures me that I am an NBA player.”
  • According to Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando, Pacers center/power forward Domantas Sabonis confirmed that he will appear for Lithuania in the FIBA Qualifying Tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It’s what we have to go through to qualify for the next Olympics,” Sabonis observed. “We’re going to battle for the tournament and get a ticket for Japan.”
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Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Southwest Notes: Iguodala, Ball, Ingram, Doncic]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145513 2019-11-26T01:07:42Z 2019-11-24T19:00:03Z The Grizzlies haven’t softened on their stance of resisting a buyout with Andre Iguodala, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link from Siva Kodali). In a report last night, Wojnarowski said teams with interest in acquiring the veteran swingman should be prepared to make trade offers.

“The message that Memphis has delivered to teams like the Lakers, Clippers and Rockets is that you’re going to have to trade for him,” Wojnarowski said. “‘We are not buying him out. He will not be on the free agent market.'”

Iguodala has been in limbo ever since the Warriors shipped him to Memphis in July to open up cap room. He hasn’t spent any time with his new team and is waiting for a deal so he can start playing again. Iguodala would be a valuable addition to just about any contender, but his $17MM+ salary makes it challenging for the top teams to work out a trade.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Pelicans should consider using Lonzo Ball off the bench now that Kenrich Williams has claimed a starting spot, contends William Guillory of The Athletic. Injuries forced coach Alvin Gentry to use 11 starting lineups in the first 15 games, but he has more options now that the team is getting healthier. New Orleans has played very well when Brandon Ingram and J.J. Redick are on the court together, and with Jrue Holiday holding one starting backcourt position, that doesn’t leave room for Ball.
  • Ingram has displayed All-Star potential through the first month of the season, observes Scott Kushner of NOLA.com. The Pelicans didn’t reach an extension with Ingram before last month’s deadline, but Kushner believes a long-term deal this summer is virtually certain, even if it means the team has to match an offer sheet for the restricted free agent.
  • Tim MacMahon of ESPN looks at how Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle learned to trust Luka Doncic during a sometimes difficult first season in Dallas. Doncic’s occasional carelessness with the ball wasn’t a good fit for a no-nonsense coach like Carlisle, but he understood that his rookie guard needed a chance to develop his game at the NBA level. “For the development of a great player this young, the best thing they can do is make mistakes and grow from those mistakes,” said former Dallas director of player development Mike Procopio. “You can’t freak out over every mistake. Rick understands that. Rick is intelligent. Rick knows this kid is the future of that organization. He can’t get in the way of that.”
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Luke Adams <![CDATA[Early Check-In On Protected 2020 First-Round Picks]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145293 2019-11-21T17:00:47Z 2019-11-21T17:00:47Z We’re about a month into the NBA’s 2019/20 regular season, and no team has played more than 16 games. Still, based on what we’ve seen so far, we’re starting to get a sense of which teams will be competitive and which teams probably won’t.

As a picture begins to form of which teams will be vying for top seeds in each conference and which might be battling for lottery odds, it’s worth checking in on the traded first-round picks for 2020. Of next year’s 30 first-round selections, 10 have been traded, and all 10 have some form of protection on them, meaning the ’19/20 standings will dictate whether or not those first-rounders actually change hands.

Here’s an early look at which of those picks are safe bets to move, which ones will likely be kept, and which ones are still up in the air:

Likely to change hands:

  • Bucks acquiring Pacers‘ pick (top-14 protected)
  • Celtics acquiring Bucks‘ pick (top-7 protected)
  • Nets acquiring Sixers‘ pick (top-14 protected)
  • Thunder acquiring Nuggets‘ pick (top-10 protected)

The Bucks (11-3) and Nuggets (10-3) are currently competing for the No. 1 seed in their respective conferences. If that continues, the Celtics and Thunder can count on receiving picks in the late-20s.

Meanwhile, the Pacers (8-6) and Sixers (9-5) have been a little shakier since opening the season, but there’s little doubt that they’ll be playoff teams in the Eastern Conference. They’ll send their respective first-rounders to the Bucks and Nets, who will be hoping those picks land in the teens or at least the early-20s.

Unlikely to change hands:

  • Grizzlies acquiring Jazz‘ pick (1-7, 15-30 protected)
  • Nets acquiring Warriors‘ pick (top-20 protected)
  • Sixers acquiring Thunder‘s pick (top-20 protected)

The protections on the Utah first-rounder included in the Mike Conley trade are meant to ensure that the Grizzlies don’t receive too high or too low a first-round pick. Assuming the Jazz (9-5) make the playoffs, as expected, they’d retain their 2020 pick and would owe Memphis their 2021 selection with the same protections.

The Warriors (3-13) and Thunder (5-9) picks are a little more interesting, since they won’t simply roll over to 2021 if and when they’re retained. If Golden State keeps its 2020 pick, the team will only owe Brooklyn its 2025 second-rounder. Oklahoma City, meanwhile, would owe Philadelphia its 2022 and 2023 second-round picks if its 2020 first-rounder falls into its protected range.

Still up in the air:

  • Celtics acquiring Grizzlies‘ pick (top-6 protected)
  • Hawks acquiring Nets‘ pick (top-14 protected)
  • Pelicans acquiring Cavaliers‘ pick (top-10 protected)

The Grizzlies have been frisky so far, but they’re just 5-9 and will likely finish among the West’s worst teams. Whether or not they hang onto their 2020 first-rounder may come down to lottery luck. If it falls in the top six and Memphis keeps it, Boston would be in line to acquire the Grizzlies’ unprotected 2021 first-round selection.

The Hawks will need the Nets to make the postseason to receive their first-rounder in 2020. That’s not a lock, but it still seems likely — despite a modest 6-8 record, Brooklyn holds the No. 7 seed in the East. If the Nets miss the playoffs and keep their first-round pick in 2020, they’ll owe a lottery-protected 2021 first-rounder to Atlanta.

Finally, it may just be a matter of time before we can move the Cavaliers’ first-rounder into the “unlikely to change hands” group. The team is putting in a good effort under new head coach John Beilein, but is just 4-10 so far. Unless things improve, the Cavaliers’ pick will remain in the top 10 and they’ll keep it, instead sending their 2021 and 2022 second-rounders to New Orleans.

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Luke Adams <![CDATA[Southwest Notes: Brooks, Rockets, Gordon, Porzingis]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145105 2019-11-19T14:58:39Z 2019-11-19T14:58:39Z Next summer’s qualifying tournaments for the 2020 Olympics will take place between June 23-28, right before NBA free agency begins. Although the timing isn’t ideal, Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks – who will be a restricted free agent in July – has expressed a desire to suit up for Team Canada during those qualifying games, as Carlan Gay of NBA.com Canada relays.

“I plan on being there, I plan on playing regardless of if I get a contract or whatever happens,” Brooks said. “I’m going to play for Team Canada because you know I missed out this year and I really want to play and make it to the Olympics.”

The Grizzlies have been significantly better with Brooks on the court this season, posting a +0.1 net rating when he plays and a -16.6 mark when he sits. That bodes well for the third-year forward, who is looking to solidify his place as a reliable NBA rotation player after missing much of last season due to knee and toe injuries.

“I just want to challenge myself to take it professionally and get better because the life expectancy in the NBA is only like three or four years,” Brooks said. “I want to get to my next contract and solidify myself.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • The Rockets have no immediate plans to fill the roster spot that opened after they released Ryan Anderson on Monday, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. However, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle notes (via Twitter) that the club is planning to eventually have to convert two-way player Chris Clemons to a standard contract.
  • Rockets guard Eric Gordon, who underwent a procedure on his knee last week, said he has been dealing with that injury for “almost a year.” It got worse recently and Gordon is relieved to have addressed it via surgery (video link via Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston). The veteran guard said his goal is to return by around Christmas, which matches the six-week recovery timeline initially announced by the team.
  • Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis and team owner Mark Cuban have called Dallas a “perfect match” for KP, as Chris Mannix of SI.com details. Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports argues that the Mavs may be a better fit than the Knicks were for Porzingis because the big man is more suited to supporting a franchise player – like Luka Doncic – than being that franchise player himself.
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Alex Kirschenbaum <![CDATA[Grizzlies Send Bruno Caboclo And De’Anthony Melton To Memphis Hustle]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=145065 2019-11-19T03:55:23Z 2019-11-19T03:53:41Z
  • The Grizzlies assigned 6’9″ small forward Bruno Caboclo and second-year point guard De’Anthony Melton to their G League affiliate, the Memphis Hustle, for a contest tonight against the South Bay Lakers, the team tweeted. Caboclo has logged minutes in 10 games for the Grizzlies this year. Melton, who has seen time in five NBA contests this season. According to Memphis, both players will be recalled immediately following the game so that they may join the Grizzlies for a bout with the Warriors tomorrow night.
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    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Josh Jackson Making Progress In G League]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=144955 2019-11-18T20:59:09Z 2019-11-18T16:28:05Z The early returns on Josh Jackson‘s stint in the G League have been promising but it remains uncertain when he might return to the NBA, David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports.

    Memphis took a flyer on the former lottery pick, who had fallen out of the favor with the Suns, and made the unusual decision early on to have him start off in the G League. It appears Jackson is on track to soon join the Grizzlies, as he has averaged 19.3 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 4.5 APG and 1.8 BPG in 33.3 MPG through four games with the Memphis Hustle.

    Moreover, Jackson, who is making a little over $7MM this season, is showing improvement in two areas of concern. A subpar 3-point shooter with Phoenix, Jackson has made 10 of 17 attempts from long distance while embracing the responsibility of guarding the opponent’s top offensive threat.

    The No. 4 overall pick of the 2017 draft had his 2020/21 rookie scale option turned down by Memphis, an understandable move since the Grizzlies had taken a wait-and-see approach with the 22-year-old forward from the moment they acquired him. That means Jackson will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. But the Grizzlies would certainly be interested in bringing him back if things continuing trending in the right direction.

    “He’s filling up the stat sheet, making an impact on the defensive end,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins told Cobb. “(He is) wanting to take on the toughest matchups that we’re facing.”

    Jackson had some well-documented off-the-court issues after getting drafted, and the Grizzlies are continuing to monitor Jackson’s behavior, according to Cobb. However, if Jackson returns to the league soon and produces, he could be a trade piece before February’s deadline, Cobb adds.

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    Clark Crum <![CDATA[Allen And Melton Assigned For Practice]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=144679 2019-11-15T04:47:25Z 2019-11-15T02:57:07Z
  • With no practice on the schedule for today, the Grizzlies assigned guards Grayson Allen and De’Anthony Melton to the Memphis Hustle for their practice, according to a tweet from Memphis’ PR account (link). Allen’s assignment is in connection with rehab of his sore left ankle, while Melton’s is tied to a long-term conditioning and performance plan.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Southwest Division]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=144654 2019-11-15T02:59:32Z 2019-11-14T21:03:53Z Over the course of the 2019/20 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.

    Although the Spurs don’t typically make splashy in-season trades, the Southwest could still end up being one of the NBA’s busiest divisions in 2019/20 in terms of trade activity. The Rockets and Mavericks are in position to buyers, while the Pelicans and Grizzlies may seek out deals that position them to better build around the top two picks from the 2019 draft.

    Let’s focus on three players out of the Southwest who could emerge as trade candidates before this season’s deadline…

    Andre Iguodala, G/F
    Memphis Grizzlies
    $17.19MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

    Iguodala is perhaps the most obvious trade candidate in the NBA at the moment. The Grizzlies are so resigned to the fact that the veteran wing has no future in Memphis that they’re not even requiring him to be with the team, having reached an agreement in September allowing him not to report to camp.

    While the Grizzlies are holding out hope that a favorable trade emerges for Iguodala, many of his primary suitors don’t have much to offer to match his $17MM+ salary and may rather wait to see if he’s bought out. A recent survey of executives conducted by David Aldridge of The Athletic revealed that most people around the league expect Iguodala to end up with the Lakers, but they have no realistic path to a trade, given the construction of their roster.

    It makes sense for the Grizzlies to be patient with this process. Iguodala would fit in well on just about every NBA roster, and more buyers could emerge by January or February, increasing Memphis’ leverage.

    Courtney Lee, SG
    Dallas Mavericks
    $12.76MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

    Lee had one of his best seasons as a pro in 2017/18, averaging 12.0 PPG on .454/.406/.919 shooting, but he has been slowed by injuries since then and isn’t currently a fixture in the Mavericks‘ rotation.

    Although he doesn’t have positive value, Lee’s expiring contract would be Dallas’ best salary-matching piece if the club goes out in search of an upgrade. The team is well below the tax line, so taking on some extra money in a deal involving Lee wouldn’t be an issue.

    By way of example, the Mavs could offer Lee and another asset to the Grizzlies for Iguodala (and perhaps already have). Although there’s a gap between their cap charges, the NBA’s trade rules would allow Dallas to take back up to $17.76MM in exchange for Lee alone.

    Nene, C
    Houston Rockets
    $10MM cap hit; $10MM non-guaranteed cap hit for 2020/21

    When the Rockets gave Nene an incentive-heavy contract that was only fully guaranteed for $2.56MM (his minimum salary), the idea was to create a trade chip like the one the Mavericks have with Lee. Because the deal featured $7.44MM in incentives deemed “likely,” Nene’s cap hit is technically $10MM, but as long as he doesn’t play more than nine games, he ultimately won’t count for more than $2.56MM against his team’s cap.

    Unfortunately for Daryl Morey and the Rockets’ front office, that plan backfired, as the NBA ruled that only the guaranteed portion of Nene’s contract can be counted for salary-matching purposes. That significantly limits his trade value.

    Still, it’s not as if Nene now has no value as a trade chip. On his own, he could bring back a player earning up to about $4.59MM. Paired with a little-used player like Isaiah Hartenstein, the Rockets could acquire a player earning up to approximately $7.07MM. That could still come in handy when the deadline rolls around.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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