Brandon Clarke

Grizzlies Sign Timmy Allen To 10-Day Contract

The Grizzlies have signed G League forward Timmy Allen, the team announced (via Twitter). The signing was billed as a 10-day contract, but with the regular season ending next Sunday, Allen will only get nine days, including tonight.

After going undrafted out of Texas, Allen signed with Memphis in October so the team could obtain his G League rights, and he was only on the roster for two days before being waived. He joined the Grizzlies’ G League affiliate, the Memphis Hustle, where he appeared in 46 games during the Showcase Cup and regular season, averaging 9.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.o steals in 26.4 minutes per night.

Allen joins the Grizzlies via the hardship exception, which they also used to add Zavier Simpson and re-sign Maozinha Pereira to 10-day deals last week. Both of those deals will expire Monday. Memphis has a full roster, but the team has been hit hard by injuries throughout the season.

As Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal notes (via Twitter), another roster addition was necessary so the Grizzlies would have the league minimum of eight active players for tonight’s game with Philadelphia. Jake LaRavia and Lamar Stevens are both out of the lineup after playing last night, while Brandon Clarke is returning to action.

Southwest Notes: Zion, Luka, Kyrie, Clarke, Spurs

The Pelicans got some good news on Thursday. As Christian Clark of writes, Zion Williamson exited Wednesday’s loss to Orlando with a finger injury, but appears to have avoided a significant injury. Head coach Willie Green said the former No. 1 overall pick is considered day-to-day, with his status for Friday’s game up in the air.

Z is good,” Green said at Thursday’s practice. “X-rays were negative. Everything structurally was fine. Just some soreness in his finger.”

New Orleans has dropped four of its past five games to fall to 45-31, the No. 7 seed in the West. Only two games separate the No. 5 Mavericks from the No. 9 Lakers in the hotly-contested conference, Clark notes.

Williamson, 23, recently became eligible for postseason awards after appearing in his 65th game this season.

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • When asked whether the Mavericks would consider resting Luka Doncic and/or Kyrie Irving in the final few games before the postseason, head coach Jason Kidd said it would likely depend on the standings, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). “As we go forward, somewhere over the weekend, we could talk about where we stand,” Kidd said as part of a larger quote. “ … But right now it’s full go and those guys are playing.” With seven games remaining, Dallas is a half-game ahead of No. 7 New Orleans.
  • Grizzlies big man Brandon Clarke had an uncertain future after tearing his left Achilles tendon in March 2023. However, the 27-year-old forward/center has looked good in his first four games of 2023/24, according to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal, which is an encouraging sign for both the player and the team. Clarke, who is in the first season of a four-year, $50MM extension, is averaging 12.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 1.3 BPG while shooting 60.5% from the floor in 21.0 MPG.
  • The Spurs have one of the worst records in the league at 18-58, but they have gone 7-10 over their past 17 games and head coach Gregg Popovich said watching the team progress has been a “real joy,” writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “They have gotten better and better as the year goes along,” Popovich said. “In the beginning, it was weird. Nobody knew what to do around Victor (Wembanyama). He didn’t know what to do around them. They had never played before and with someone of Victor’s size. So it took time, but they are much more comfortable now.

Southwest Notes: Green, Rockets, Mavs, Kidd, Clarke, V. Williams

Jalen Green‘s in-season turnaround in Houston has been remarkable, according to Mark Deeks of HoopsHype. As Deeks writes, after looking like a potential trade candidate at last month’s deadline, the Rockets guard is now making a legitimate case for a maximum-salary rookie scale extension this offseason.

Green led the Rockets to their 10th straight victory on Wednesday in Oklahoma City, putting up an eye-popping line of 37 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. Houston is now one game back of Golden State for the No. 10 spot in the West and Green is confident the club will finish in the top 10.

“We’re going to get a play-in game,” Green said after Wednesday’s win, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “We’re going to keep going.”

Whether or not the Rockets pass the Warriors – or another Western Conference team – in the standings before the end of the regular season, head coach Ime Udoka is pleased that his young squad is getting the opportunity to play meaningful games this late in the year after winning no more than 22 games in each of the previous three seasons.

“I think it’s invaluable for our young guys to go through this,” Udoka said. “And obviously making the playoffs or play-in will be another step, but just going through what they are now and coming on the other side of .500 is huge for them.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Although many of Green’s best performances – and the Rockets‘ recent winning streak – have come since Alperen Sengun went down with ankle and knee injuries, Udoka expressed confidence that the two rising stars will be able to excel alongside one another when both are healthy. “I think that they can complement each other very well,” Udoka said during an appearance on The Matt Thomas Show (Twitter audio link).
  • Within a detailed story exploring the Western Conference playoff race, Sam Amick of The Athletic outlines how the Mavericks‘ play on defense has keyed the team’s recent hot streak, which includes nine wins in 10 games. Amick also cites sources who say that head coach Jason Kidd hopes to sign a contract extension with the franchise this offseason. Kidd is under contract for one more season beyond this one, notes Amick.
  • After a long recovery from an Achilles injury, Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke made his season debut on Wednesday vs. the Lakers. Clarke was effective in his return, with a +15 mark in 21 minutes of action in a 12-point loss. The team intends to take a cautious approach to his playing time in the season’s final weeks, according to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “We’re definitely going to be smart with his minutes after the long layoff,” head coach Taylor Jenkins said. “We’ll take it week by week. It’s not going to be a game by game thing.”
  • While Clarke is back in action, the Grizzlies still have no recovery timeline for injured shooting guard Vince Williams, who has been out since March 8 due to left patellar tendonitis, tweets Cole.

Injury Notes: Mitchell, LeBron, Clarke, Holiday, Heat, Duren

Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell, who hasn’t played since March 16 while he recovers from a nagging knee injury and a nasal fracture, is hoping to return to action as early as Friday, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). After playing in Charlotte on Wednesday, the Cavs will return home to host the Sixers on Friday.

If Mitchell isn’t able to suit up vs. Philadelphia, his next opportunity to return would be on Sunday in Denver for the start of a five-game Western Conference road trip. The Cavs will also visit Utah, Phoenix, and Los Angeles (to play both the Lakers and Clippers) on that trip before wrapping up the regular season with three home games.

Cleveland is in a battle for playoff positioning in the East and currently holds a narrow lead on New York for the No. 3 seed. At 44-28, the Cavs have a half-game cushion on the 43-28 Knicks, who would hold the tiebreaker edge if the team finish with identical records.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Lakers forward LeBron James has officially been listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game vs. Memphis (Twitter link via Jovan Buha of The Athletic). However, Dave McMenamin of ESPN, confirming previous reporting, tweets that James remains on track to be available for that contest.
  • There’s a chance that Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke will be able to make his 2023/24 debut in that game against the Lakers. Clarke, who has spent the season recovering from an Achilles tear, has been upgraded to questionable, per the team (Twitter link).
  • Celtics guard Jrue Holiday participated in practice on Wednesday after missing the team’s past five games due to a right shoulder injury, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. It’s unclear whether Holiday will be available on Thursday vs. Atlanta.
  • Providing updates on a pair of injured Heat players, Shams Charania of The Athletic said on FanDuel’s Run it Back show (Twitter video link) that Duncan Robinson (back) should return within the next week or so but that “the big worry” is Tyler Herro (foot), who still doesn’t have a return timeline. For what it’s worth, Herro replied to Charania’s report with a “cap” emoji, sarcastically adding in a follow-up tweet, “I just had a great workout , but I ain’t coming back no time soon.”
  • Pistons center Jalen Duren will return on Wednesday in Minnesota vs. the Timberwolves following a three-game absence due to back spasms, tweets Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press.

Southwest Notes: Williamson, Pelicans, Clarke, Popovich

The Pelicans got a tasty matchup against the depleted Pistons on Sunday and Zion Williamson took full advantage. Williamson made all but one of his 14 field-goal attempts while racking up 36 points.

“He had it going tonight in the first quarter,” Pelicans head coach Willie Green told Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “He kind of got it going midway through. We wanted to let him go a little bit. That’s all that was.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr., who has passed through numerous franchises, is impressed by what New Orleans has established. The Pelicans are currently fifth in the Western Conference standings. “This is how you build a winning franchise,” he told Clark. “Those franchises that go from low wins to 60 wins, that’s not sustainable. You build a successful franchise, a successful roster, a successful team by steadily growing. Steady improvement. Keeping the core together. And really, being willing and able to play alongside each other. That’s what Denver did. That’s what Milwaukee had done. Golden State. You build. You start slow, and you build.” Nance is in the first year of a two-year, $21.6MM contract.
  • Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke is listed as doubtful to play against Denver on Monday, but that’s significant, as Michael Wallace of tweets. Clarke has been rehabbing from a left Achilles tendon tear all season and this is the first time he’s been listed as something other than out this season. It means that Clarke is likely on track to return in the next game or two.
  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has urged his players to curtail their activity on social media, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News writes. “I don’t follow them around day and all night, see how many minutes they’re spending on their phones,” he said. “But we’ve brought in people to talk to them about that so they understand there are ways they can spend their time a whole lot more efficiently and meaningfully. Hopefully, they are paying attention.”

Southwest Notes: Wembanyama, Rockets, Pippen, Bane, Clarke

Spurs rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama looked like he was hitting the so-called “rookie wall” early in February when he posted a 5-of-16 performance and a 15-point, one-rebound game within days of each other, ESPN’s Andrew Lopez writes. However, Wembanyama shut down all talk about any potential slump when he put up a triple-double with blocks against the Raptors just before the All-Star break.

Since then, he’s had one of the finest stretches of his young career, averaging 22.5 points, 11.7 boards, 4.9 assists and 4.9 blocks in his last 11 games. Lopez writes that Wembanyama is focused on ending the season on a high note.

How important is it? It’s the whole point,” Wembanyama said. “Coach said it again tonight in the locker room. It’s our job and this is what we’re here for, to win as soon as possible but also in the long run. So there is no other option.

In the past month, Wembanyama has posted that aforementioned triple-double, recorded a 5×5, and is on pace to lead the league in blocks. Lopez writes his teammates have become used to his absurd stat lines.

There’s still moments where we’re like, ‘Oh, what was that? We ain’t never seen that before.’ But I think overall, we’ve seen so much of what he’s done and what he can become and what he is going to become that it’s kind of normal for us now,” teammate Jeremy Sochan said.We just know he can do way more than he’s doing right now, and what he’s doing right now is unbelievable.

According to Lopez, there are no plans to shut down Wembanyama for the rest of the season even though the Spurs have nothing to play for after being eliminated from postseason contention.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Rockets bench players Reggie Bullock, Jock Landale and Jae’Sean Tate are embracing a next-man up mentality after recent injuries to Cam Whitmore and Alperen Sengun, writes Houston Chronicle’s Danielle Lerner. “We talk every day. We just talk about opportunity,” Bullock said of discussions between him, Landale and Tate. “We know that we are the guys that need to be able to step up with guys that’ve been out, and we all got that same mindset of going out and take whatever needs to be done to help the team win.” All three players saw a spike in playing time on Tuesday against San Antonio.
  • After being out since Feb. 12 with an injury, Grizzlies two-way guard Scotty Pippen Jr. returned to the lineup on Wednesday against Charlotte. He scored nine points and 10 assists in his return. As Memphis Commercial Appeal’s Damichael Cole observes (Twitter link), due to the amount of time he missed with injury, the Grizzlies don’t have to worry about Pippen hitting his games played limit per his two-way deal and will likely lean on him moving forward. Pippen was eligible to be active for up to 26 games after signing his two-way on Jan. 16 and the Grizzlies played 27 times since then, so he wouldn’t have been eligible for all of their games anyway.
  • Key Grizzlies players Desmond Bane and Brandon Clarke did some “extensive” work this week with Memphis’ G League affiliate, the Hustle, according to Cole (Twitter link). Clarke is now back to playing five-on-five after suffering an Achilles injury last season. Cole expects Bane to be back within the next couple games and Clarke to be back before the end of the month.

Desmond Bane Close To Returning From Ankle Injury

Grizzlies high-scoring guard Desmond Bane is close to returning from a Grade 3 left ankle sprain, Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports.

Bane has been doing three-on-three basketball activities the past two weeks and progressed to five-on-five in recent days. He could return to action as early as this weekend.

“He’s working really hard, so I envision in a couple games here, he’s back in the lineup,” coach Taylor Jenkins said.

Bane was in the midst of a career year prior to the injury, averaging 24.4 points, 5.3 assists and 4.6 rebounds in 37 games. He suffered the injury during a Jan. 12 game against the Clippers.

In the last update from the team on Feb. 22, Bane’s timetable was listed at three-to-five weeks.

Brandon Clarke, who suffered a torn left Achilles tendon last March, will start five-on-five workouts this weekend with hopes of getting some game action before the season ends.

“Really encouraged by all the signs he’s been showing,” Jenkins said. “He’s on schedule. We’re hopeful sometime maybe at the end of the month he’s in a Grizzlies uniform.”

Clarke is in the first year of a four-year, $52MM extension he signed in 2022.

Southwest Notes: Grizzlies, Jackson, Udoka, Wembanyama

The Grizzlies aren’t ready to shut down any of their players, but Mark Giannotto of The Commercial Appeal questions whether that’s a sound strategy. Before Memphis ended its nine-game losing streak Wednesday night, coach Taylor Jenkins told reporters that the team will bring back as many injured players as it can over the season’s final two months.

“We’re actively preparing and training these guys as if they are playing,” Jenkins said. “We haven’t had any conversations about shutting down guys. This is a competitive bunch.”

Injuries have made this a nightmarish season for the Grizzlies, who were one of the West’s top teams the past two years. Players such as Desmond Bane and Marcus Smart could still return, but Giannotto believes it’s wiser for the organization to hold them out to avoid any further injury risk while seeing what the team’s young talent can do after the All-Star break.

Giannotto notes that general manager Zach Kleiman didn’t offer any timeline for Bane or Smart in a news conference last week, but he indicated that it might be beneficial for Brandon Clarke to see some action when he’s cleared to return from an Achilles tear he suffered last season.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Grizzlies rookie GG Jackson called it a “joyful experience” as his two-way contract was converted to a new four-year deal last week, per Damichael Cole of The Commercial Appeal. The second-round pick has excelled as the team’s injuries have given him an unexpected chance to play big minutes, and he had been hoping to land a standard contract. “I kind of had a feeling with the way everything has been panning out, but I tried to keep the main thing with basketball,” Jackson said. “But nonetheless, I’m grateful.”
  • Rockets coach Ime Udoka said lineup changes may be necessary following Wednesday’s loss at Memphis, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Houston faced an early 23-point deficit as its pattern of slow starts continued. Jalen Green sat out the entire fourth quarter for the second time in four games, and Feigen notes that little-used Nate Hinton played more second half minutes than Green did. “Maybe I have to look at the rotation and the lineup I have out there starting and try to get five competitors out the court at one time to avoid poor starts like that,” Udoka said. “I will look at all of that over the break, look in the mirror myself and figure out the best way to move forward to get us off to better starts.”
  • Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press previews what Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama can expect as he prepares for his first All-Star Weekend.

Grizzlies Notes: Deadline Moves, Bane, Smart, Clarke, Jackson

Victor Oladipo and Chimezie Metu have already been waived, but the two other players acquired by the Grizzlies in their recent series of tradesLamar Stevens and Yuta Watanabe – are expected to get an opportunity to play over the next couple months, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Stevens is on an expiring deal, while Watanabe holds a minimum-salary player option for 2024/25.

The Grizzlies also hope to get a longer look down the stretch at Ziaire Williams and Jake LaRavia, two former first-round picks who are currently sidelined due to injuries. As Cole writes, head of basketball operations Zach Kleiman showed by trading David Roddy on Thursday that he’s willing to move on from recent first-rounders who haven’t established themselves as consistent, productive rotation contributors, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to give up on players like Williams or LaRavia.

“We’re in a spot where we have a lot of young players,” Kleiman said. “Nothing has been ruled out. Let me say that. I think that everyone at the very least has shown that in stretches, there’s a lot to be encouraged by. What we’re focused on right now is giving those guys opportunity. Wouldn’t surprise me if some guys emerge and maybe surprise people.”

Here’s more on the Grizzlies:

  • Having traded away Steven Adams and Xavier Tillman, the Grizzlies’ plans at center going forward are unclear. Their 2024 first-round pick, which projects to be a top-10 selection, may factor into that equation, Cole notes, since it could serve as a valuable trade asset or an opportunity to add a young blue-chipper to the roster. “Wherever that pick might be, we want to be in a position where we’re able to kind of navigate and steer that in different directions,” Kleiman said.
  • The Grizzlies project to be a luxury tax team next season based on their current commitments. Kleiman told reporters, including Cole, that’s not something the club is actively working to avoid. “There’s not a budget that we have to operate from,” Kleiman said. “There’s not a place that we need to be relative to any marker or luxury tax. . . . Those are all things we’ll have to weigh from a team-building standpoint.”
  • There’s still no timeline for the returns of Desmond Bane (left ankle), Marcus Smart (right ring finger), or Brandon Clarke (left Achilles), according to Kleiman. He indicate that Bane and Smart are expected to be out at least through the All-Star break and expressed optimism Clarke can return this season. “Brandon’s doing really well in his recovery,” Kleiman said, per Cole. “We’ll make a determination when we get a little bit closer. . . . Regardless of record, a little cameo at the end of the season just to build momentum going into next season, I think that’s something that’s potentially still on the table.”
  • As Jonah Dylan of The Memphis Commercial Appeal details, the Grizzlies players who remained on the roster through Thursday’s trade deadline were sorry to see Tillman and Roddy go. “I’m obviously upset and gutted and I feel bad,” said Jaren Jackson Jr., who played with Tillman at Michigan State before spending the past four seasons with him in Memphis. “It’s just part of the business. I’ve been here a long time. But it doesn’t get easier, for sure.”
  • GG Jackson‘s new four-year deal with the Grizzlies will be worth $8.5MM over four seasons, with $6.1MM in guaranteed money, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. A minimum-salary deal would be worth in the range of $7MM, so it sounds like Jackson will receive significantly more than the prorated rookie minimum for the rest of the 2023/24 season.

Grizzlies Notes: Clarke, Biyombo, Tillman, V. Williams

Grizzlies forward/center Brandon Clarke, who is making his way back from a torn Achilles, is “trending in a really good direction,” head coach Taylor Jenkins said before Sunday’s game vs. Sacramento.

“His on-court has picked up, he’s still in one-on-zero kind of format right now. He’s starting to move a lot more,” Jenkins said. “Obviously, you’ve seen the videos of him elevate and dunk and all that stuff. We are still being smart obviously with the nature of the injury, but he’s trending in a good direction. I don’t think the timelines are really shifted. Hopefully in the next month or so, we’ll be able to ramp up a little bit more and have a better feel.”

Clarke told Marc J. Spears of Andscape last month that he’s aiming to return at some point right around the All-Star break. Based on Jenkins’ comments, it sounds like that timeline remains realistic.

Here’s more on the Grizzlies:

  • While the Grizzlies have played better since Ja Morant‘s return from his 25-game suspension, the team needs more from its centers, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Centers Bismack Biyombo and Xavier Tillman have been solid defensively, but neither player is a great rebounder or contributes much on offense, so Clarke’s eventual return will be a boon up front.
  • Improving their floor spacing and their rebounding numbers are important areas of focus for the Grizzlies if they still hope to secure a playoff spot this season, Cole says in another Commercial Appeal story. Reaching the postseason will be an uphill battle for a Memphis team that is currently six games back of the 10th-seeded Lakers.
  • In yet another article for The Commercial Appeal, Cole takes a look at how Vince Williams went from being a little-used to reserve to being a key defensive X-factor for the Grizzlies. The 47th overall pick in the 2022 draft, Williams logged just 105 total minutes in 15 games as a rookie, but is averaging over 20 minutes per night in 24 appearances so far this season. “I didn’t know he would be this type of defender, but I knew he had that dog in him,” teammate Desmond Bane said. “He’s shown that in his time being here. He got his opportunity, and he’s running with it.”