John Konchar

Grizzlies’ Derrick Rose, Ziaire Williams Unlikely To Return This Season

Injured Grizzlies point guard Derrick Rose and forward Ziaire Williams aren’t expected to return to action this season, according to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Rose, who last played on February 28, has been sidelined due to right groin issue and lower back recovery. Williams hasn’t suited up since March 2 due to a lower back injury of his own, as well as a hip flexor strain.

“They’re doing well,” head coach Taylor Jenkins said on Friday. “Most likely they’re not going to be coming back by the end of the season. We’re just kind of taking it day to day.”

As Cole notes, Ja Morant is the only Grizzlies player who has officially been ruled out for the rest of the season. There also has been no indication that Marcus Smart (finger) is on track to play again this spring. However, the team isn’t simply shutting down all of its injured players despite its 24-49 record.

Brandon Clarke made his season debut on Wednesday after spending more than a year recovering from an Achilles tear. Memphis also remains hopeful that Vince Williams (knee) and John Konchar (heel) will play again before the regular season concludes on April 14, says Cole.

The banged-up Grizzlies have qualified for multiple hardship exceptions in recent weeks due to all their injuries. If Morant, Rose, Williams, and Smart are the only four players they don’t expect back in the season’s final two weeks, they’ll only qualify for a single hardship exception going forward, giving them the ability to carry one extra player rather than two.

Cavs Rumors: Okoro, Caruso, Fontecchio, Trade Targets

The Cavaliers are making and taking calls leading up to Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline, according to Chris Fedor of (subscriber link), who reports that the team continues to eye players with three-and-D skill sets. However, Cleveland has a limited number of trade assets, including no movable first-round picks, so the club may ultimately stand pat at the deadline and explore the buyout market afterward, Fedor writes.

Any trade of significance – beyond a minor tweak around the edges of the roster – would likely have to include former lottery pick Isaac Okoro, sources tell But the Cavs highly value Okoro both on and off the court, viewing him as their best on-ball defender and the player who figures to take on the most challenging perimeter assignments in the postseason.

If the Cavs did move Okoro, they’d presumably be targeting a player who could provide similar resistance on defense and more punch on offense. Fedor suggests the team has had internal discussions about Bulls guard Alex Caruso, an elite defender who has been a better three-point shooter than Okoro (on a higher volume) this season. However, Chicago’s asking price for Caruso is steep, so Cleveland would have to be willing to give up more than just Okoro.

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • The Cavaliers have had some “cursory” conversations with the Jazz about Simone Fontecchio, Fedor reports, noting that the two teams have worked together on multiple trades in recent years, including the Donovan Mitchell blockbuster. Fontecchio has already reportedly drawn interest from Boston and Phoenix.
  • Cleveland has had interest in Hornets forward P.J. Washington in the past and briefly revisited that possibility this season, but the cost will likely be too high, Fedor writes. According to Fedor, Nets forwards Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale are also still on the Cavs’ radar, while Nets guard Lonnie Walker and Grizzlies wing John Konchar are among the other potential targets worth keeping an eye on.
  • Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic could be a fit in Cleveland, but his $20MM salary makes him a long shot, since the Cavs don’t appear inclined to part with any of their key rotation players, says Fedor. It’s safe to assume that group includes Caris LeVert ($15.4MM) and Max Strus ($14.5MM).
  • This was J.B. Bickerstaff‘s response when the Cavs’ head coach was recently asked about the trade deadline, per Fedor: “We’re happy where we are. Our front office has to do their due diligence and do their job and you never know what you can turn over, but we haven’t had a ton of conversations about particulars because we are happy with where we are. We’re pleased with the group of guys we have and the way we have been playing. I don’t want to lose anybody, and we are not desperate for anybody to come in.”

Western Rumors: Rockets, Grizzlies, Jazz, Kings, Brogdon

After making several significant changes to their roster during the 2023 offseason, the Rockets figure to remain active on the trade market during the season. League sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype that Houston has interest in pursuing further roster upgrades, with Victor Oladipo, Jock Landale, Jeff Green, and draft picks among the team’s potential trade chips.

None of those three players are owed guaranteed money beyond 2023/24 and all are being paid between $8-10MM this season, making them logical salary-matching pieces. Forward Jae’Sean Tate has also generated exploratory interest from playoff-caliber clubs in recent years, according to Scotto, who adds that Reggie Bullock also had several suitors before signing with Houston, making him a name to watch too.

One player we shouldn’t expect to end up in Houston? Bulls guard Zach LaVine. Scotto says the Rockets aren’t involved in the LaVine sweepstakes.

Scotto has more trade-related items of interest from around the Western Conference. Here are a few:

  • Sharpshooter Luke Kennard and forward John Konchar are among the Grizzlies players who are candidates to be dealt before February’s deadline, Scotto writes, identifying the Celtics, Warriors, and Lakers as some of the teams that have “kept tabs” on Konchar.
  • Rival executives think the Jazz may attempt to stabilize their backcourt by acquiring a veteran point guard, according to Scotto. While rookie Keyonte George has played well, he’s more of a combo guard, Scotto explains, naming Talen Horton-Tucker and Kelly Olynyk as a couple potential trade candidates on Utah’s roster.
  • Keegan Murray is the Kings player whom potential trade partners would covet most, but Sacramento views the young forward as an important part of its core and would be more inclined to move future first-round picks in any deal for an impact player, per Scotto.
  • Three executives who spoke to Scotto believe the Trail Blazers could land a protected 2024 first-round pick – or a similar asset – if they decide to trade Malcolm Brogdon this season.

Injury Notes: Harris, Rozier, Middleton, Plumlee, Rose, Hachimura

The Pistons, who have been hit by a wave of injuries in the early going, got some more bad news on Tuesday. Joe Harris has an AC sprain in his shoulder and will be reevaluated in 10-to-14 days, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets.

Detroit had six other players out on Monday against Golden State due to injury or illness. Harris, acquired from Brooklyn during the offseason, has averaged a modest 3.4 points in 14 minutes this season. He’s in the final year of his four-year, $75MM contract.

We have more injury-related news:

  • Hornets starting guard Terry Rozier will miss at least the next two games. He underwent an MRI which confirmed a left adductor strain, the team’s PR department tweets.
  • Bucks forward Khris Middleton will have the night off against the Pistons on Wednesday due to right knee injury management, Eric Nehm of The Athletic tweets.
  • Clippers backup center Mason Plumlee has been diagnosed with a left knee MCL sprain, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and Adrian Wojnarowski. Plumlee is undergoing further evaluation, but he’ll miss at least the next two games.
  • Derrick Rose has missed the last three games due to left knee soreness and he’s “week-to-week,” according to coach Taylor Jenkins, as Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal relays. He’s among eight Grizzlies players who will be sidelined when Memphis faces Miami on Wednesday, the team’s PR department tweets. John Konchar (hip strain) is listed as doubtful.
  • Rui Hachimura is listed as probable by the Lakers for their contest against Houston on Wednesday after missing four games while in concussion protocol, Khobi Price of the Orange County Register tweets.

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.

Southwest Notes: Sengun, Spurs’ Arena, Konchar

Rockets center Alperen Sengun will play for the Turkish national team in the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament in Istanbul from Aug. 12-20, Sportando relays, via a Fanatik report.

It was previously reported that Sengun wouldn’t play. Turkey hosts the second of the two pre-Olympic qualifiers in Europe. Turkey will face Ukraine, Bulgaria and Iceland in Group C while Group D include Croatia, Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands. The two top teams from each group will advance to the knockout stages and the tournament winner will move on to next year’s Olympic qualifiers.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Spurs’ arena is undergoing a name change. The Spurs have found a new naming-rights sponsor in Frost Bank, according to Madison Iszler of the San Antonio Express News. Spurs Sports & Entertainment plans to sign an agreement with the San Antonio-based bank. The AT&T Center’s marquee became available in 2021, when the telecommunications company decided not to renew its naming rights deal. The Spurs were unable to find a new partner at that time, so they extended their agreement with AT&T through last season.
  • John Konchar gets favorable reviews in advanced analytics and four of the top five Grizzlies lineups in net rating last season included Konchar. He also has offensive upside to go along with his solid defense, which is why he’ll be a big part of Memphis’ plans in 2023/24, according to Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
  • The Rockets added Joshua Obiesie to their camp roster. Get the details here.

Grizzlies Notes: Morant, Bane, Green, Konchar

Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant raised eyebrows earlier this week when he was asked by ESPN’s Malika Andrews in an NBA Today interview (video link) which teams around the league had caught his eye as opponents Memphis will have to “run through” to win a title. After Morant named the Celtics and fell silent, Andrews observed that he didn’t mention any Western Conference teams.

“Nah,” Morant said. “I’m fine in the West.”

Speaking to reporters later in the week, Morant didn’t back off those comments at all, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. In fact, while the All-NBA guard identified the Bucks as another team he might add to his list, he doubled down on his feelings about his Western rivals.

“Honestly, I don’t care about anybody else feedback but ours,” Morant said. “That’s how we feel. That’s how confident we are in our abilities and where we think we stand in the Western Conference.”

Here’s more out of Memphis:

  • Although the Suns were missing leading scorer Devin Booker, Memphis’ 25-blowout win over Phoenix on Friday showed just how good the Grizzlies can be when they’re at full strength, Cole writes for The Commercial Appeal. Desmond Bane was only 4-of-13 from the floor in his return from a toe injury, but he “played decisively and looked fluid in his movements,” according to Cole. The starting five of Morant, Bane, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Steven Adams had a plus-44.8 net rating in its first 11 minutes together this season.
  • During ESPN’s broadcast of Friday’s game in Phoenix, Danny Green said he’s aiming to return from his ACL tear before February’s All-Star break, according to Evan Barnes of The Commercial Appeal. Green added that he did some 1-on-1 work on Friday for the first time during his recovery. “The knee is going smoothly,” the 35-year-old swingman said. “We’re in a good pace and hopefully you’ll see me before the break. That’s the target right now.”
  • Based on the current construction of the Grizzlies’ roster, Cole believes a healthy Green would likely take John Konchar‘s rotation minutes (Twitter link).
  • The Grizzlies will be in action on Christmas Day for the first time in franchise history. Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal explores what it means for the team to finally be considered one of the NBA’s marquee attractions.

Injury Updates: Harden, Wiggins, Poole, Grizzlies, Jazz

James Harden is on track to return tonight for the Sixers as they face the Rockets in Houston, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The star guard has been sidelined for a month with a right foot strain, missing 14 games in the process.

As much as I love basketball, I want to be out there to compete, especially for my teammates,” Harden said. “So this month has been patience, putting the work in, making sure I’m ready to come back and help this team get to where we can get to.”

Head coach Doc Rivers indicated on Sunday that Harden would be on a minutes restriction.

Hopeful, he’ll be ready for [Monday],” Rivers said. “And if he is, he’ll be in a limited role. But it’s still better to have him than not, if we can have him.”

After winning four of five, the Sixers have dropped two straight games and currently hold a 12-11 record.

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

  • Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins will miss Monday’s contest against the Pacers with right adductor tightness, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Golden State guard Jordan Poole is questionable with an ankle injury, which he suffered on Saturday.
  • Grizzlies star Ja Morant is doubtful for tonight’s game vs. Miami due to left ankle soreness, Memphis announced (via Twitter). In addition to Morant, injury-replacement starter John Konchar (right toe soreness) and rookie forward Jake LaRavia (left foot soreness) are also doubtful, while All-Defensive big man Jaren Jackson Jr. has been ruled out on the second of a back-to-back for injury management (he had offseason foot surgery and just returned a few weeks ago). On a positive note, second-year wing Ziaire Williams, who has yet to play this season due to right patellar tendinitis, is listed as doubtful instead of out for the first time and was sent to the G League to practice ahead of Monday’s game (Twitter link). Head coach Taylor Jenkins recently said Williams was nearing a return.
  • Jazz veterans Mike Conley (knee) and Rudy Gay (hand) were full participants in Monday’s practice and both hope to play on Wednesday against Golden State, though they’re still experiencing some pain (All Twitter links via Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune). If Conley returns Wednesday, he’ll likely be on a minutes restriction, tweets ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. The Jazz have missed Conley’s steadying influence, going just 2-6 over the past two weeks without their starting point guard.

Grizzlies, John Konchar Finalize Three-Year Extension

5:00pm: Konchar’s extension is now official, per’s transactions log.

11:54am: The Grizzlies are signing John Konchar to a three-year, $19MM extension, his agent George Landberg tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links).

According to Wojnarowski, the deal will be fully guaranteed, and Konchar will now be locked up through the next five seasons, as he still has two years left on his current contract.

As we relayed a few days ago, Konchar’s $2.3MM salary for 2022/23 became guaranteed once he remained on the roster through this past Sunday. He had already been owed a partial guarantee of $840K.

Konchar, 26, went undrafted out of Purdue-Fort Wayne in 2019 after a four-year college career. As shown by Basketball Reference, Konchar is the only known former Mastodon to reach the NBA.

He was a solid role player for the Grizzlies in ’21/22, averaging 4.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 1.5 APG on .515/.413/.551 shooting in 72 games (17.9 MPG). An excellent rebounder for a guard, Konchar holds a career mark of 8.9 boards per 36 minutes.

In addition to his rebounding prowess, Konchar holds impressive career shooting percentages of 61.2% on twos and 40.6% on threes in 134 games (52.2% from the field overall). He’s also an intelligent ball-mover and solid defender, with a career assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.3:1.

De’Anthony Melton, another backup guard, was traded to Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago, so it’s possible that Konchar could have a bigger role next season. Either way, clearly the Grizzlies value his contributions, as evidenced by the fact that Konchar is under contract through ’26/27.

Once the extension becomes official, Konchar won’t be trade-eligible for six months.

Contract Notes: Konchar, Roby, Landale

John Konchar‘s contract with the Grizzlies called for his $2.3MM salary for 2022/23 to become guaranteed if he remained on the roster through Sunday, and there has been no reporting indicating that he and the team agreed to move that date back. As such, we’re assuming Konchar’s salary for ’22/23 is now locked in.

If that’s the case, it doesn’t come as a surprise. Konchar was a solid role player for the Grizzlies in 2021/22, averaging 4.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 1.5 APG with a .413 3PT in 72 games (17.9 MPG). His salary is relatively modest and he had already been owed a partial guarantee of $840K.

Konchar is one of many players on non-guaranteed contracts for 2022/23 whose salaries will become guaranteed this summer if they’re retained through certain dates. We’re tracking all of those players and decisions right here.

Here are a few more contract notes from around the NBA:

  • Although Isaiah Roby was earning a minimum salary ($1,930,681) when he was waived by the Thunder on Sunday, he had been on a four-year contract that was worth more than the minimum in year one, which means any team interested in claiming him off waivers can’t use the minimum salary exception to do so, as Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report tweets. A club that wants to put a claim in on Roby would need the cap space to absorb his salary or a trade exception worth at least $1,830,681. Waivers claims are rare for non-minimum players, but Roby showed promise in Oklahoma City last season and could draw some interest.
  • Jock Landale‘s non-guaranteed minimum salary became partially guaranteed for $46,120 when he was traded from San Antonio to Atlanta last week, Hoops Rumors has learned. That was the exact amount that needed to be guaranteed for salary-matching purposes, as Landale’s $46,120 was added to Dejounte Murray‘s 2021/22 cap hit ($15,428,880) to get to within $5MM of Danilo Gallinari‘s incoming $20,475,000 figure (it was also partially guaranteed, but San Antonio needed to be able to match the whole incoming amount). The Hawks have since agreed to flip Landale to the Suns, and it doesn’t appear his partial guarantee will increase any further in that trade, since no salary-matching is involved.
  • In case you missed it, we relayed earlier today that Otto Porter‘s new deal with the Raptors is worth $12.4MM over two years. We’ll get more info on the specific details of contracts like Porter’s and many others beginning later this week, when the July moratorium lifts and those signings start becoming official.