Kennedy Chandler

Grizzlies Promote Lofton, Waive Chandler, Sign Gilyard

1:48pm: The Grizzlies have officially announced their series of roster moves, including a two-way deal for guard Jacob Gilyard, which was first reported by Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

An undrafted rookie in 2022, Gilyard spent the season with the Memphis Hustle in the G League and led the NBAGL in assists per game (9.7). He’ll occupy the two-way slot previously held by Lofton, while Lofton moves into the 15-man roster spot that had been held by Chandler.

12:39pm: The Grizzlies are promoting rookie two-way forward Kenneth Lofton Jr. to their standard roster, and will sign him to a four-year, $7MM contract, Lofton’s agent Mike George informs Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter).

Lofton was recently named the 2022/23 G League Rookie of the Year. With the Grizzlies’ G League affiliate, the Memphis Hustle, he averaged 20.2 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.2 SPG and 0.6 BPG across 17 games, including 15 starts.

The 6’7″ power forward has appeared in 23 games for the Grizzlies proper, posting modest averages of 3.4 PPG, 1.6 RPG and 0.9 SPG in 5.9 MPG.

Woj notes that Lofton is being inked to Memphis’ standard 15-man roster in part to address the absence of center Steven Adams, who is reportedly likely to miss the entire 2023 postseason due to the lingering effects of his right knee injury. Adams is one of two key big men unavailable for the Grizzlies — reserve power forward Brandon Clarke tore his Achilles in early March.

Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian tweets that Lofton, who would have entered restricted agency this summer if not for his new deal, has impressed the Grizzlies with his development thus far this season.

To carve out roster space for Lofton, Memphis is releasing rookie guard Kennedy Chandler, sources inform Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Chandler, 20, was selected with the No. 38 pick in the 2022 draft out of Tennessee. As Charania notes, Chandler had been on a long-term agreement with the club, and should now garner significant attention on the waiver wire or as a free agent if he manages to clear waivers.

Herrington adds (via Twitter) that Chandler flashed promise with his ball-handling and defense this season, and may be a better fit on a team that will have more patience as he develops. The 51-30 Grizzlies are clearly prioritizing win-now pieces.

Memphis will be on the hook for Chandler’s guaranteed cap hits in 2023/24 ($1.72MM) and ’24/25 ($2.02MM) if he goes unclaimed on waivers.

Southwest Notes: Jones, Chandler, Luka, Mavs, Spurs

With Ja Morant sidelined on Monday due to left ankle soreness, Tyus Jones showed why the Grizzlies made him the NBA’s highest-paid backup point guard this past summer, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Inserted into the starting lineup, Jones responded by scoring 28 points and dishing out 10 assists en route to an impressive Memphis win over Miami.

While we could quibble over whether Jones is technically the NBA’s highest-paid backup point guard (Russell Westbrook is coming off the bench in Los Angeles while earning more than three times as much), the Grizzlies point guard is perhaps the league’s highest-paid point guard who signed his contract expecting to be a backup — even if he doesn’t think of himself that way.

“I feel like I view myself as a starter in this league,” Jones said. “I feel like I am a starter in this league. I just come off the bench, and I have no shame in that. I love being in Memphis, and I take pride in my role.”

Morant’s absence and Jones’ promotion gave Grizzlies rookie Kennedy Chandler the rare chance to play a major role off the bench, and he logged a season-high 26 minutes in the win over the Heat. As Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal details, Chandler has taken advantage this season of the opportunity to lean from the two veteran point guards ahead of him on the depth chart, but admits he has had to adjust to not playing regularly.

“It’s hard. It’s the first time I’ve ever dealt with this. My whole entire life I’ve played 30 minutes (a game),” Chandler said. “This is a business, it’s a growing up moment for me to just keep my mind right.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd recognizes that the workload Luka Doncic has handled so far this season isn’t sustainable, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Doncic ranks first in the West with a 37.9% usage rate and is second in the conference in minutes per game (36.8). “For 82 games, it’s no way that he can play at this level, the usage is just way too high. No one can. You know, the things that we ask him to do on the offensive end and then asked him to defend on the other end. It’s a lot,” Kidd said, noting that other players will have to step up for Dallas.
  • Now a member of the Wizards, former Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis is willing to admit in a conversation with Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports that he “just wasn’t the right guy” to be Doncic’s co-star. “On paper, it would be the perfect fit, but it just didn’t mesh the way that we wanted to,” Porzingis said. “We just did not mesh together well. Sometimes it’s like that in the workplace, you know? It just didn’t work out the way you expected.”
  • The Spurs are doing a ton of homework to prepare for the possibility of landing Victor Wembanyama in the 2023 draft, including considering how their current players might mesh with him, according to LJ Ellis of The Spurs won’t have more than a 14% chance of winning the No. 1 pick in next year’s lottery, but it seems likely they’ll be among the top contenders for Wembanyama — San Antonio is currently just 6-18, dead last in the West.

Grizzlies Sign Kennedy Chandler To Four-Year Deal

JULY 6: The Grizzlies have officially signed Chandler, according to the transactions log at

JULY 5: The Grizzlies are signing second-round pick Kennedy Chandler to a four-year, $7.1MM contract, his agent Ryan Davis tells Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (Twitter link).

According to Charania, Chandler’s rookie contract contains $4.94MM in guaranteed money, which is the most an American second-rounder has ever received.

A four-year, minimum-salary contract would have been worth $6.94MM, so Chandler will likely receive a little more than the minimum in his rookie season.

The Grizzlies acquired Chandler in a draft-day trade from the Spurs in exchange for the Lakers’ 2024 second-round pick and cash. He was the 38th selection of the 2022 NBA draft.

Chandler was ranked 20th on ESPN’s big board prior to the draft, so he slid a bit to fall into the second round. The Memphis native averaged 13.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 4.7 APG and 2.2 SPG on .464/.383/.606 shooting in 34 games (30.8 MPG) as a freshman for Tennessee this past season.

Although he stands just 6’0″, Chandler is an excellent athlete and has a reputation as a strong defender. The 19-year-old recorded the highest max vertical leap (41.5″) and the second-fastest shuttle run (2.89) among all participants who were tested at the NBA draft combine in May.

Chandler is a true point guard, capable of distributing and getting to his spots at a high level. He’s currently starting for Memphis’ Summer League squad against Philadelphia in Salt Lake City, recording six points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks through nearly three quarters of action, per ESPN.

As Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian observes (Twitter links), Chandler’s deal is pretty similar to the contract Xavier Tillman received from the Grizzlies as the 35th pick in 2020 ($6.5MM over four years, with $4.6MM guaranteed). The Grizzlies had to use part of their mid-level exception to give Chandler a four-year deal, Herrington notes.

Grizzlies Acquire Kennedy Chandler From Spurs

JUNE 24: The trade is now official, the Spurs announced in a press release. The Grizzlies have also announced the deal, indicating in their press release that they’re sending the Lakers’ 2024 second-round pick to San Antonio.

JUNE 23: The Grizzlies are acquiring Tennessee guard Kennedy Chandler, the No. 38 pick, from the Spurs, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that the Spurs will receive a future second-rounder and cash in exchange for the No. 38 pick.

Chandler was ranked No. 20 on ESPN’s big board prior to the draft, so he appears to be a solid value pick for the Grizzlies in the second round. The Memphis native averaged 13.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 4.7 APG and 2.2 SPG on .464/.383/.606 shooting in 34 games (30.8 MPG) as a freshman this season.

Chandler’s local ties likely played a factor in Memphis’ decision to trade for him, as the team had plenty of opportunities to scout him. Although he’s just 6’0″, likely causing his draft stock to fall, Chandler is an excellent athlete and a strong defender. He’s a true point guard, capable of distributing and getting to his spots at a high level.

The Grizzlies are trading De’Anthony Melton to the Sixers, so they had a hole to fill in the backcourt depth chart. It will be interesting to see if the decision to acquire Chandler has an impact on the impending free agency of backup point guard Tyus Jones.

Central Notes: Pistons Prospects, Griffin, Bucks Wings, Chandler

The Pistons could go in a variety of directions with the No. 5 pick in the upcoming draft, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. According to Edwards, while Purdue guard Jaden Ivey or Iowa forward Keegan Murray seem most likely to be selected, Arizona swingman Bennedict Mathurin enjoyed a good workout with the club and has impressed Detroit’s front office personnel.

Edwards considers the 6’4″ Ivey, a consensus All-American and a 2021/22 All-Big Ten selection, to have the highest ceiling among this trio. In 36 college contests, Ivey averaged 17.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.1 APG and 0.9 SPG with a shooting line of .460/.358/.744.

Edwards acknowledges that the versatile Murray seems more readily capable of contributing at the next level than Ivey. The 6’8″ forward, himself a consensus All-American and 2021/22 All-Big Ten honoree while with the Hawkeyes, averaged 23.5 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.9 BPG, 1.5 APG and 1.3 SPG across 35 games.

Mathurin projects to be a solid long-range shooter and wing defender, Edwards writes. Mathurin was a consensus All-American and the 2021/22 Pac-12 Player of the Year during his second season with the Wildcats, averaging 17.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG and 2.5 APG. During his sophomore season, the 6’7″ guard boasted shooting averages of .450/.369/.764.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Former Duke small forward AJ Griffin believes he would be a good match for the Pacers, per James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star. The Pacers possess the sixth pick in the 2022 draft. “I think I would fit perfectly,” Griffin said. “Just being able to play with guys who look for their open teammates and get your teammates going, I think I would fit perfectly… I love [guard Tyrese Haliburton]’s game.” Though Griffin averaged a fairly modest 10.4 PPG and 3.9 RPG as a one-and-done freshman for the Blue Devils, he proved to be a promising three-point shooter, connecting on 44.7% of his 4.1 long-range looks per night. The 18-year-old is currently listed as the ninth-best player on ESPN’s big board.
  • Though the Bucks did not defend their 2021 title in the 2022 postseason, the team’s rotation wings performed at a high level during the 2021/22 season, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Nehm grades the on-court play of All-Star small forward Khris Middleton, swingman Wesley Matthews, guard Pat Connaughton, guard Grayson Allen, and the rest of Milwaukee’s perimeter players.
  • The Cavaliers are set to work out Tennessee point guard Kennedy Chandler on Wednesday, according to Andrew Slater of Pro Insight (Twitter link). Cleveland possesses the No. 14 pick at the end of the 2022 draft lottery. Chandler was the MVP of the 2022 SEC Tournament. A 2022 All-SEC Second Team selection, the 6’0″ guard averaged 13.9 PPG, 4.7 APG and 3.2 RPG on .464/.383/.606 shooting for the Volunteers. Chandler is listed as the No. 19 prospect on the latest ESPN board.

Central Notes: Ibaka, Bucks, Branham, Pacers

Despite some chatter out of Europe regarding his future, veteran Bucks big man Serge Ibaka, an unrestricted free agent this summer, intends to remain in the NBA next season, per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

Carchia notes that Italian EuroLeague club Virtus Bologna, winners of the 2021 Italian Serie A, would be interested in adding Ibaka, but the team has not made any formal outreach to the 32-year-old. Before joining the NBA for the 2009/10 season, Ibaka played for two Spanish pro clubs: Bàsquet Manresa and EuroLeague powerhouse Real Madrid.

Last year while with the Clippers and Bucks, Ibaka posted his most modest numbers since his 2009/10 rookie season with the Thunder. For the regular season, the 6’10” power forward/center averaged 6.8 PPG and 4.6 RPG across 16.2 MPG.

Ibaka, a former three-time All-Defensive Team selection and a champion with the Raptors in 2019, played even more minimally in the postseason for Milwaukee. He appeared in only six of the Bucks’ 12 playoff contests this year, averaging 1.5 PPG and 1.7 RPG in just 3.7 MPG when he did play.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Bucks may look to the upcoming draft to build out their bench depth for the 2022/23 season. Eric Nehm of The Athletic assesses four point guard prospects who could fit for Milwaukee behind 2022 All-Defensive Second Teamer Jrue Holiday: Kentucky guard TyTy Washington, G League Ignite guard Jaden Hardy, Tennessee freshman Kennedy Chandler, and 6’7″ Arizona prospect Dalen Terry.
  • An ankle sprain prevented Ohio State guard Malaki Branham from participating in a group workout with the Cavaliers, but the team was nevertheless intrigued by the NBA prospect following a dinner, per Chris Fedor of (Twitter link). Fedor adds (via Twitter) that Cleveland intends to bring Branham back to its facilities for a healthy workout ahead of the June 23 draft.
  • Due to a flight delay, three prospects missed their group workout with the Pacers on Friday, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Baylor forward Jeremy Sochan, Iraurgi Saski Baloia shooting guard Pavel Savkov and Urbas Fuenlabrada guard Ziga Samar were not able to participate in a team workout that also included G League Ignite prospect Dyson Daniels, Oklahoma guard Kameron McGusty and Villanova forward Jermaine Samuels. Given that most prospects have fairly busy schedules leading up to the draft, it is unclear whether this triumvirate’s Pacers workout will be rescheduled.

Hornets Notes: Atkinson, Workouts, Keels, Arena Upgrades

Kenny Atkinson could become the Hornets‘ next head coach by the end of the upcoming week, a source tells Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer, though he cautions that the team still hasn’t reached a final decision. A report on Friday identified Atkinson as the frontrunner for the job, and Boone indicates that momentum for him has been building since last month’s draft combine.

Atkinson has been tied up with his duties as an assistant coach for the Warriors, but with three days between Games 2 and 3 of the NBA Finals, he should have time for a face-to-face meeting with team owner Michael Jordan. Boone notes that an in-person session with Jordan was the last step before James Borrego was hired four years ago.

The Hornets are intrigued by Atkinson’s experience, history of developing young players and emphasis on defense, Boone adds. The Finals could last through June 19, which would limit Atkinson’s input into preparations for the June 23 draft. According to Boone, Borrego’s former assistants are working behind the scenes and are waiting to see if they will be part of the new coach’s staff.

There’s more from Charlotte:

  • The Hornets welcomed six players today for a pre-draft workout, according to a tweet from the team. On hand were Tennessee’s Kennedy Chandler, Miami’s Kameron McGusty, Providence’s Justin Minaya, Memphis’ Josh Minott, Marquette’s Darryl Morsell and Arkansas’ JD Notae. On Friday, Charlotte hosted St. Bonaventure’s Jalen Adaway, Milwaukee’s Patrick Baldwin Jr., Michigan’s Moussa Diabate, Villanova’s Collin Gillespie, Texas A&M’s Quenton Jackson and Creighton’s Alex O’Connell (Twitter link).
  • Duke’s Trevor Keels talked to Boone about the pre-draft process following a workout with the Hornets on Wednesday. Keels is enjoying the chance to meet with interested teams and compete with players he’s never faced before, but he said the experience can be a grind. “I think guys think the pre-draft process is easy,” he said. “You are working every day, keeping your body right. There is only 58 picks and there are hundreds of guys trying to hear their name called and get an opportunity. So you’ve got to work every day.”
  • The Hornets would get $215MM in upgrades to the Spectrum Center along with a new $60MM practice facility in a proposal being considered by the city of Charlotte, per Genna Contino of The Charlotte Observer. The deal would require the team to extend its lease with the city an additional 15 years through 2045.

Southwest Notes: Wood, Rockets Workouts, Daniels, Pelicans Lottery Pick

Christian Wood is entering the final year of his contract and the Rockets need to get some value for him or extend him at a reasonable price, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who believes it would be prudent to move him if the Rockets can get a decent first-rounder for him, given that they can get a starter-level big man with their lottery pick. If they don’t extend Wood or get a strong trade offer this summer, they can still deal him at the trade deadline, Hollinger adds. Hollinger and Kelly Iko of The Athletic discuss how the Rockets’ offseason might play out.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

Full List Of 2022 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed its list of 76 players who have been invited – and who are expected to attend – next week’s draft combine in Chicago. The combine workouts will take place from May 18-20.

Over the course of the week, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft likely won’t participate in scrimmages, those top prospects are still expected to attend. That group includes Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, and Jaden Ivey.

A handful of standout players from the G League Elite Camp could be invited to participate in the combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 76 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link):

  1. Ochai Agbaji, G/F, Kansas (senior)
  2. Patrick Baldwin Jr., F, Milwaukee (freshman)
  3. Paolo Banchero, F, Duke (freshman)
  4. Dominick Barlow, F, Overtime Elite (auto-eligible)
  5. MarJon Beauchamp, G/F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  6. Hugo Besson, G, Australia (born 2001)
  7. Malaki Branham, G/F, Ohio State (freshman)
  8. Christian Braun, G, Kansas (junior)
  9. Kendall Brown, F, Baylor (freshman)
  10. John Butler Jr., F/C, Florida State (freshman)
  11. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (junior)
  12. Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  13. Max Christie, G, Michigan State (freshman)
  14. Kofi Cockburn, C, Illinois (junior)
  15. Dyson Daniels, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  16. Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin (sophomore)
  17. JD Davison, G, Alabama (freshman)
  18. Moussa Diabate, F, Michigan (freshman)
  19. Ousmane Dieng, F, Australia (born 2003)
  20. Khalifa Diop, C, Spain (born 2002)
  21. Jalen Duren, C, Memphis (freshman)
  22. Tari Eason, F, LSU (sophomore)
  23. Keon Ellis, G, Alabama (senior)
  24. Michael Foster, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  25. Collin Gillespie, G, Villanova (super-senior)
  26. AJ Griffin, F, Duke (freshman)
  27. Jaden Hardy, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  28. Ron Harper Jr., F, Rutgers (senior)
  29. Chet Holmgren, C, Gonzaga (freshman)
  30. Harrison Ingram, F, Stanford (freshman)
  31. Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue (sophomore)
  32. Trayce Jackson-Davis, F, Indiana (junior)
  33. Nikola Jovic, F, Serbia (born 2003)
  34. Johnny Juzang, G, UCLA (junior)
  35. Ismael Kamagate, C, France (born 2001)
  36. Trevor Keels, G, Duke (freshman)
  37. Walker Kessler, F/C, Auburn (sophomore)
  38. Christian Koloko, C, Arizona (junior)
  39. Jake LaRavia, F, Wake Forest (junior)
  40. Justin Lewis, F, Marquette (sophomore)
  41. E.J. Liddell, F, Ohio State (junior)
  42. Bennedict Mathurin, G/F, Arizona (sophomore)
  43. Matthew Mayer, F, Baylor (senior)
  44. Bryce McGowens, G, Nebraska (freshman)
  45. Leonard Miller, F, Canada (born 2003)
  46. Josh Minott, F, Memphis (freshman)
  47. Aminu Mohammed, G/F, Georgetown (freshman)
  48. Iverson Molinar, G, Mississippi State (junior)
  49. Jean Montero, G, Overtime Elite (auto-eligible)
  50. Wendell Moore, F, Duke (junior)
  51. Keegan Murray, F, Iowa (sophomore)
  52. Andrew Nembhard, G, Gonzaga
  53. Scotty Pippen Jr., G, Vanderbilt (junior)
  54. Gabriele Procida, G/F, Italy (born 2002)
  55. Orlando Robinson, F/C, Fresno State (junior)
  56. David Roddy, F, Colorado State (junior)
  57. Ryan Rollins, G, Toledo (sophomore)
  58. Dereon Seabron, G, NC State (sophomore)
  59. Shaedon Sharpe, G, Kentucky (freshman)
  60. Jabari Smith, F, Auburn (freshman)
  61. Terquavion Smith, G, NC State (freshman)
  62. Jeremy Sochan, F, Baylor (freshman)
  63. Matteo Spagnolo, G, Italy (born 2003)
  64. Julian Strawther, G/F, Gonzaga (sophomore)
  65. Dalen Terry, G, Arizona (sophomore)
  66. Drew Timme, F, Gonzaga (junior)
  67. Jabari Walker, F, Colorado (sophomore)
  68. TyTy Washington Jr., G, Kentucky (freshman)
  69. Peyton Watson, G/F, UCLA (freshman)
  70. Blake Wesley, G, Notre Dame (freshman)
  71. Alondes Williams, G, Wake Forest (super-senior)
  72. Jalen Williams, G, Santa Clara (junior)
  73. Jaylin Williams, F/C, Arkansas (sophomore)
  74. Mark Williams, C, Duke (sophomore)
  75. Trevion Williams, F/C, Purdue (senior)
  76. Fanbo Zeng, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)

Tennessee’s Kennedy Chandler Entering NBA Draft

Tennessee freshman Kennedy Chandler will enter the 2022 NBA draft, hiring an agent and forgoing his remaining college eligibility, he told ESPN’s Malika Andrews on NBA Today on Tuesday (link via Jonathan Givony of ESPN).

Chandler is a projected first-round pick, according to Givony, who ranks him at No. 17 on ESPN’s big board. The six-foot point guard averaged 13.9 PPG, 4.7 APG, 3.2 RPG, and 2.2 SPG on .464/.383/.606 shooting in 34 games (30.8 MPG) for the Volunteers, earning a spot on the All-SEC Second Team and All-Freshman team. He also led Tennessee to an SEC tournament championship and was named MVP of the tournament.

As Givony outlines, Chandler improved as the season went on, becoming a more vocal leader, improving his shooting, and playing strong defense.

“Adjusting to the speed of the college game was the big thing early on,” Chandler told ESPN. “Coach [Rick] Barnes had me watching a lot of Chris Paul and Tony Parker film. Learning how to make different reads, and understanding that every team is going to have a different game plan.

“… I want to show NBA teams how much stronger I will get through the pre-draft process. Being ready to play with physicality in the NBA, a six-foot guard like me can play with anybody in the league. Just being coachable, cerebral, that’s how I can separate myself in this process.”