Jake LaRavia

Southwest Notes: Ryan, Morant, Grizzlies, Gafford, Mavs

When the Pelicans converted Matt Ryan from his two-way deal to a standard contract on the day before their regular season finale, they used their mid-level exception to sign him to a three-year deal that paid him $1.5MM in guaranteed money for the final two days of this season, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

In exchange for that substantial end-of-season payday, Ryan gave the Pelicans two additional years of low-cost control — he’s under contract for a non-guaranteed minimum salary ($2,196,970) in 2024/25, with a non-guaranteed minimum-salary team option ($2,381,501) for ’25/26.

Ryan’s salary for ’24/25 would become guaranteed if he remains under contract through the start of the regular season, but there are no trigger dates before that point, so New Orleans won’t necessarily need to make a decision on him until the fall.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Grizzlies guard Ja Morant is now being represented by Lift Management, according to a tweet from the agency. Morant reportedly parted ways with longtime agent Jim Tanner earlier this spring. The two-time All-Star has seen his stock drop following multiple suspensions for his off-court behavior, along with a shoulder injury that cost him nearly all of the 2023/24 season, but his maximum-salary contract runs for four more seasons.
  • Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal takes a look at what the Grizzlies want to see from their young players this summer, including projected Summer League participants like GG Jackson and Scotty Pippen Jr. As Cole observes, it’ll also a big offseason for Jake LaRavia, who will be entering his third NBA season, but it’s rare for former first-round picks to return for a third year of Summer League.
  • With center Daniel Gafford listed as questionable for Game 3 vs. the Clippers on Friday due to back spasms, the Mavericks could be forced to make a change to their starting lineup, writes Mike Curtis of The Dallas Morning News (subscription required). Dereck Lively would likely be the top candidate to move into the starting five, though Maxi Kleber – who has averaged 27.0 minutes per game so far in the series – would also play a major role. Dwight Powell and Markieff Morris are also in the mix as depth options.

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.

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.

Western Rumors: Suns, Rockets, O’Neale, Tate, Jazz, Grizzlies

The Suns continue to keep an eye on Nets forward Royce O’Neale and Rockets wing Jae’Sean Tate, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who hears from league sources that Phoenix has discussed a package of Nassir Little and second-round picks for one of those two players.

As Scotto details, the Suns are hoping to find a wing and/or a frontcourt piece on the trade market and will likely be aggressive on the buyout market looking for that sort of player if they’re unable to make a deal. Phoenix will be prohibited from signing a player whose pre-waiver salary exceeds $12.4MM, but not every player on the buyout market will fit that bill.

The Rockets, who are among the other teams with interest in O’Neale, have sought either a late first-round pick or multiple second-rounders to part with Tate, league sources tell Scotto. Aaron Holiday is another Houston player who has generated trade interest.

If the Rockets were to acquire draft assets for a player like Tate or Holiday, they could ultimately flip those picks for another rotation player, Scotto writes.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference in advance of today’s trade deadline:

  • Scotto hears from multiple executives who have explored trading for Kelly Olynyk that the Jazz are seeking draft compensation — ideally a first-round pick. Another potential Utah trade candidate, Kris Dunn, appears likely to stick with the team through the deadline unless the team gets an “unexpected” offer it can’t refuse, a league source tells HoopsHype.
  • The Jazz have had some talks with the Hornets about forward P.J. Washington, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv, who says John Collins came up in those discussions.
  • Rival executives believe that some of the Grizzlies‘ recent first-round picks – Ziaire Williams, David Roddy, and Jake LaRavia – could be trade candidates, given the emergence of cheaper youngsters like Vince Williams and GG Jackson, says Scotto. Memphis is facing a bit of a roster and cap crunch for 2024/25, so creating a bit more flexibility in both areas would help.
  • Suns head coach Frank Vogel said on Wednesday won’t mind if his front office decides to stand pat at the deadline, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I’m very in the loop with all of those conversations, but as I said (Tuesday), we love where we’re at as a team,” Vogel said. “If we don’t do anything, I’ll be really happy with the group we have, but obviously, you always look at ways to improve your team.”

Scotto’s Latest: Jones, Wright, Hayes, Grizzlies, Okoro, More

He may not be a splashy name, but veteran point guard Tyus Jones is drawing interest from a variety of teams on the trade market, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

The Lakers and Timberwolves have previously been linked to Jones, which Scotto confirms. However, he also adds three new possible suitors to the list: the Magic, Spurs and Nets.

As Scotto previously reported, the Wizards want a first-round pick back for Jones, preferably one beyond the 2024 draft, with a chance at being a top-20 selection. However, rival executives are reportedly confident that Washington will ultimately accept multiple second-rounders for the 27-year-old, who likely wouldn’t be a starter in certain situations and is on an expiring $14MM contract.

Jones has been the NBA’s assist-to-turnover leader for several years running and is posting career highs in several categories as a full-time starter for the first time in his NBA career, averaging 12.2 PPG, 6.3 APG (against 0.9 TOV), 2.8 RPG and 1.2 SPG on .491/.392/.758 shooting in 49 games (28.5 MPG). He has limitations too of course, namely size (he’s listed at 6’1″, 196 lbs.), which limits his defensive versatility.

It’s worth noting that San Antonio currently deploys Jones’ younger brother, Tre Jones, as its starting point guard, though the Spurs are reportedly on the lookout for a long-term fixture at the position, viewing Tre as more of a strong backup.

The Magic seem like an odd fit for Jones, since they have Markelle Fultz (another impending free agent), Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs and Anthony Black as backcourt players who can initiate offense, though those duties are frequently handled by Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner. Jones would obviously help on the turnovers front, but he’s small as opposed to rangy and athletic, which is the mold of the rest of Orlando’s roster, and he isn’t a high-volume long-range shooter (3.7 three-point attempts per game), which is a team weakness.

Here’s more from Scotto’s latest rumor round-up:

  • The Celtics, Kings and Timberwolves are among the teams with interest in Wizards guard Delon Wright, sources tell Scotto. Washington is looking for second-round picks for the veteran guard, who had a previous stint with Sacramento back in 2020/21. Known for his excellent defense, Wright is on an expiring $8.2MM contract.
  • Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (subscription required) reported on Sunday that Killian Hayes‘ camp preferred a change of scenery, and sources tell Scotto the Grizzlies are among the teams to show interest in the fourth-year Pistons guard. Hayes has fallen out of Detroit’s rotation of late and could be a restricted free agent if given a qualifying offer this summer. As for players rivals teams are monitoring from Memphis’ side, Scotto hears Xavier Tillman, Ziaire Williams and Jake LaRavia are all considered potential trade candidates. Tillman will be an unrestricted free agent, while former first-rounders Williams (third year) and LaRavia (second) are still on rookie scale deals.
  • Forward Danilo Gallinari is another Pistons trade candidate, Scotto adds, with the Lakers checking in on the asking price for the Italian veteran.
  • Cavaliers wing Isaac Okoro is considered a trade candidate by rival teams, Scotto writes. One GM who spoke to HoopsHype speculated that Okoro could get $14MM annually in free agency this summer — right around the projected mid-level exception for 2024/25. As with Hayes, Okoro will be a restricted free agent if he’s tendered a qualifying offer, otherwise he’d be unrestricted and free to sign with any team. According to Scotto, the Knicks, Hawks, Pacers, Suns and Bucks are all worth watching, as they all have an interest in two-way wings.
  • In addition to Tyus Jones, Monte Morris, Bones Hyland and Wright, the Timberwolves also have interest in Pistons guard Alec Burks, Scotto reports. As Sankofa reported, the Pistons value Burks and “aren’t eager” to part with him. Sankofa suggested it would take a “strong offer” for Detroit to trade the 32-year-old, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. As for players Minnesota might move, rival executives are eyeing Wendell Moore, Shake Milton and Troy Brown, according to Scotto.
  • The Timberwolves are “hopeful” about their chances of re-signing veteran point guard Mike Conley this summer, Scotto adds. Conley, 36, has started all 45 of his games this year for Minnesota, averaging 10.6 PPG, 6.4 APG, 2.8 RPG and 1.0 SPG while shooting 43.6% from long distance. He’s making $24.4MM in the final year of his deal.
  • The Celtics continue to look for bench upgrades, with minimum-salary players and draft picks the likely outgoing pieces in a deal, according to Scotto.

Grizzlies’ Desmond Bane Out At Least Six Weeks

The Grizzlies’ lengthy injury list added two more names on Sunday, the team announced (via Twitter).

Guard Desmond Bane suffered a Grade 3 left ankle sprain during the third quarter against the Clippers on Friday. He will be reevaluated in six weeks.

Forward Jake LaRavia has a Grade 2 high left ankle sprain, which he suffered during the first quarter against the Knicks on Saturday. He will be reevaluated in three weeks.

Ja Morant and Steven Adams have already suffered season-ending injuries. The team announced on Thursday that Marcus Smart will be out at least six weeks due to a finger injury, and Brandon Clarke (Achilles) and Derrick Rose (hamstring) are also currently sidelined.

Bane is enjoying a career year, averaging 24.4 points, 5.3 assists and 4.6 rebounds. He officially leads the teams in scoring and assists, as Morant only appeared in nine games before a shoulder injury ended his season.

LaRavia has appeared in 11 games this season, averaging 3.6 points and 1.5 rebounds.

As was the case earlier this season, Memphis will soon become eligible for multiple hardship exceptions. The Grizzlies carried as many as 17 players on their standard roster in the fall when they was beset by injuries, adding Jaylen Nowell and Shaquille Harrison to 10-day contracts.

Southwest Notes: Grizzlies, Spurs, Wembanyama, D. Jones

Don’t expect the Grizzlies to immediately throw in the towel following news of Ja Morant‘s season-ending shoulder surgery, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. While the postseason is a long shot for the 13-23 squad, Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. are playing as well as they ever have, and Marcus Smart has never been on a team that missed the playoffs, Cole observes.

Still, with Morant and Adams out for the season, the front office can probably start looking ahead to next season and considering what the 2024/25 roster will look like. With that in mind, the coaching staff will have an opportunity in the coming months to evaluate players like Jake LaRavia, G.G. Jackson, and Vince Williams to get a better sense of what the Grizzlies have in those youngsters, says Cole.

Pointing out that Memphis still needs a starting-caliber forward to fill the hole created by Dillon Brooks‘ offseason departure, John Hollinger of The Athletic wonders if the team might actually be more inclined to make an in-season consolidation trade following Morant’s injury. As Hollinger explains, the Grizzlies could “start tackling next year’s problems without worrying so much about the impacts on this season.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • French phenom Victor Wembanyama and the Spurs will be one of the teams playing in the NBA’s annual Paris game next season, reports Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Although nothing’s official yet, the Spurs have agreed in principle to participate, sources tell Vardon.
  • Elsewhere on the Wembanyama front, Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News argues that the Spurs should make the big man’s life easier by finding a way to get him more playing time alongside a traditional point guard, while the 20-year-old spoke this week about getting over the frustration caused by his ongoing minutes restriction. “It’s hard, but my body needs time to adapt to the load and this long season,” Wembanyama said, per Vardon. “Once it’s ready, it’s go time, and there will be no need to be frustrated.”
  • Derrick Jones‘ one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Mavericks wasn’t among last summer’s biggest free agent deals, but Jones’ impact on Dallas’ defense has been noticeable, according to Shawn McFarland of The Dallas Morning News, who says the wing’s athleticism , effort, and instincts have helped the team cover up some weaknesses on that end of the court.

Injury Notes: LaRavia, Reddish, Watanabe, DSJ, Thomas

Grizzlies forward Jake LaRavia is undergoing a procedure to address a corneal abrasion of his left eye, the team announced in a press release on Tuesday (Twitter link). According to the club, LaRavia will be reevaluated in about two or three weeks, so he won’t return until sometime in December, at the earliest.

It’s the latest in a growing list of injuries for the Grizzlies, who are missing big men Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke due to long-term ailments and have also had Marcus Smart, Luke Kennard, and Xavier Tillman go down recently.

The Grizzlies are already carrying one extra player on their standard roster while Ja Morant is on the suspended list, but could qualify for another roster spot via the hardship provision. A team can apply for a hardship exception when it has at least four players who have missed three or more consecutive games due to injury or illness, assuming those players will remain sidelined for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday’s game vs. Houston will be the third straight that Smart, Kennard, and Tillman have missed, so the Grizzlies could request a hardship exception after that contest if they want to try to add some extra depth.

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

  • Lakers forward Cam Reddish left Tuesday’s win over Utah early due to a groin injury and didn’t return. He’ll undergo further evaluation on Wednesday to assess the severity of the injury, sources tell Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link). Head coach Darvin Ham said that second-year guard Max Christie could play a “really prominent” role on Wednesday vs. Dallas if Reddish can’t go, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic.
  • Suns forward Yuta Watanabe, who was unavailable for a second straight game on Tuesday, has a “deep” thigh bruise that head coach Frank Vogel described as “really painful,” per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Watanabe’s return timeline is unclear.
  • Nets guard Dennis Smith Jr., affected by a lower back sprain, underwent an MRI on Tuesday, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Smith will be out for a second consecutive game on Wednesday.
  • Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn added that the team should have an update on injured guard Cam Thomas (ankle sprain) later this week, according to Lewis. “He is heading in the right direction,” Vaughn said of Thomas. “Unless we wanted to be extremely proficient in giving him an MRI to compare to, to my knowledge he won’t need another MRI. He’s building towards getting back on the floor.”

Grizzlies Exercise 2024/25 Team Options On Four Players

The Grizzlies have exercised their 2024/25 rookie scale team options on Ziaire Williams, Santi Aldama, Jake LaRavia and David Roddy, the team announced on Monday (via Twitter).

After having their fourth-year options picked up, Williams (10th overall pick in 2021) and Aldama (30th in ’21) will now be eligible for rookie scale extensions in 2024. Williams will earn $6,133,005 next season, while Aldama will make $3,960,531.

LaRavia (19th pick in ’22) and Roddy (23rd pick in ’22), on the other hand, had their third-year options exercised. They’ll make $3,352,680 and $2,847,240 in ’24/25, respectively.

After a solid rookie campaign in 2021/22, Williams struggled with injuries and inconsistency last season. However, he started at small forward in a couple of preseason games, including the team’s finale on Friday (Twitter link via Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal), and is looking to bounce back with a strong season in ’23/24.

A 6’10” big man with a versatile skill set, Aldama didn’t play much as a rookie but had a productive sophomore campaign in ’22/23, averaging 9.0 PPG and 4.8 RPG on .470/.353/.750 shooting in 77 games (21.8 MPG). He should be in line for a larger role in year three with Brandon Clarke and Steven Adams unfortunately sidelined with major injuries.

Roddy was selected a few picks after LaRavia, but he saw the court much more frequently as a rookie last season for the Grizzlies, appearing in 70 games for an average of 18.0 MPG). LaRavia appeared in 35 games while averaging 11.8 MPG in ’22/23.

The full list of ’24/25 rookie scale team option decisions can be found right here.

Western Notes: Jazz, Holiday, Morant, Vezenkov, Strawther

The Jazz were involved in the Jrue Holiday sweepstakes before the All-Defensive guard was traded from Portland to Boston, according to Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune.

Larsen hears that Utah considered an offer that included multiple first-round picks for the standout guard. However, he notes that ESPN’s Bobby Marks said during a radio appearance that the Jazz were wary of pursuing Holiday too aggressively without any assurances that he’d commit to the team long-term. The 33-year-old holds a player option for the 2024/25 season, so he could have been just a one-year rental.

Having missed out on Holiday, the Jazz don’t have a clear-cut option to start at point guard and it’s clear that head coach Will Hardy is “struggling with this decision,” Larsen writes. As Tony Jones of The Athletic notes, each of the candidates for the role has exhibited his flaws as well as his strengths so far during camp and the preseason.

Collin Sexton isn’t a natural point guard and Talen Horton-Tucker and Keyonte George are still relatively raw as point guards, according to Jones, who adds that starting Kris Dunn would make it tricky for the team to find minutes off the bench for Sexton. Jordan Clarkson was also considered a candidate for the point guard job, but the Jazz appear more comfortable having him in a sixth-man role, so the competition could be down to four players.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • When Ja Morant‘s 25-game suspension was announced in June, the NBA indicated that the Grizzlies guard would have to meet certain conditions to be reinstated. The league provided an update this week, indicating that Morant’s suspension won’t be shortened but also isn’t expected to extend beyond 25 games, report Sam Amick and Joe Vardon of The Athletic.
  • Ziaire Williams played well as the Grizzlies‘ fifth starter in Tuesday’s preseason win over Milwaukee, but head coach Taylor Jenkins isn’t ready to commit to that spot for the regular season, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Luke Kennard appears to be Williams’ top competition for that starting spot, with Jake LaRavia, David Roddy, and John Konchar looming as wild card, per Cole.
  • Kings head coach Mike Brown is unsure whether NBA newcomer Sasha Vezenkov will be part of the team’s rotation when the regular season begins, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. In a separate story, Anderson points out that Vezenkov started in place of injured forward Keegan Murray (thumb) on Wednesday, but Chris Duarte took Vezenkov’s spot in the lineup to open the third quarter. According to Brown, Vezenkov’s ability to hold his own on defense will be a significant factor in determining his role.
  • Nuggets rookie Julian Strawther, vying for a rotation spot, had an impressive preseason debut on Tuesday vs. Phoenix, piling up 20 points, five rebounds, and three assists with no turnovers in 21 minutes off the bench. Bennett Durando of The Denver Post has the details, observing that Strawther’s ability to space the floor may help earn him a regular role.