Lazeric Jones

Grizzlies Notes: Chalmers, Barnes, Carter, Martin

The Grizzlies are just 25-20, but GM Chris Wallace said he feels “optimistic and bullish” about the team and doesn’t feel compelled to make a deal as the trade deadline approaches, according to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. The No. 1 priority in free agency this summer for Memphis is re-signing Mike Conley, Wallace confirmed, but the Grizzlies aren’t planning an no-holds-barred attempt to win this season at the expense of the long term, as Tillery details.

“We are not going to do anything — even if it gives us a bump — that will significantly compromise us in the future,” Wallace said. “Part of watching your cap is watching the back end of your roster. We made a decision to fill up the back end of the roster with an eye on the future.”

Wallace praised recent trade acquisitions Mario Chalmers and Matt Barnes, calling Chalmers “best backup point guard we’ve had in the nine years I’ve been here,” Tillery notes. Both are set for free agency at season’s end. See more from Memphis:

  • The current Grizzlies roster might be flawed, but it still may be too expensive for the team to maintain, contends Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal as he takes a broad look at the cap situation for the franchise and the moves that it’ll be able to make financially. Still, don’t expect the Grizzlies to move toward a serious rebuild, Herrington writes.
  • Herrington suggests the team will “almost certainly” use the stretch provision to waive Vince Carter this summer, since the sides essentially agreed to a two-year deal in 2014 that they structured as a three-year contract only to reduce the tax burden for Memphis in the first year, Herrington explains. Carter’s salary is partially guaranteed for $2MM, so the stretch provision would break that into three equal parts each season through 2018/19.
  • Grizzlies camp cut Lazeric Jones has signed with Pinar Karsiyaka of Turkey, the team announced (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). Ismail Senol of Turkey’s NTV Spor first reported the move (Twitter link; translation again via Carchia). Jones had been playing with the Grizzlies D-League affiliate in Iowa as an affiliate player.
  • The Grizzlies have assigned Jarell Martin to the D-League, the team announced. It’s D-League assignment No. 4 on the season for the rookie who missed the first two months of 2015/16 recovering from a broken foot.

NBA Teams Designate Affiliate Players

NBA teams cut as much as 25% of their rosters at the end of the preseason, but franchises that have D-League affiliates have a way to maintain ties to many of the players they release from the NBA roster. An NBA team can claim the D-League rights to up to four of the players it waives, as long as the players clear waivers, consent to join the D-League, and don’t already have their D-League rights owned by another team. These are known as affiliate players, as our Hoops Rumors Glossary entry details.

NBA teams allocated 46 affiliate players to the D-League at the beginning of the season last year, and this year, that number has risen to 56, according to the list the D-League announced today. These players are going directly to the D-League affiliate of the NBA team that cut them and weren’t eligible for the D-League draft that took place Saturday. Teams that designated fewer than the maximum four affiliate players retain the ability to snag the D-League rights of players they waive during the regular season, but for now, this is the complete list:

Boston Celtics (Maine Red Claws)

Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton Charge)

Dallas Mavericks (Texas Legends)

Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids Drive)

Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors)

Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)

Indiana Pacers (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)

Los Angeles Lakers (Los Angeles D-Fenders)

Memphis Grizzlies (Iowa Energy)

Miami Heat (Sioux Falls Skyforce)

New York Knicks (Westchester Knicks)

Oklahoma City Thunder (Oklahoma City Blue)

Orlando Magic (Erie BayHawks)

Philadelphia 76ers (Delaware 87ers)

Phoenix Suns (Bakersfield Jam)

Sacramento Kings (Reno Bighorns)

San Antonio Spurs (Austin Spurs)

Toronto Raptors (Raptors 905)

Utah Jazz (Idaho Stampede)

Also, several players who were on NBA preseason rosters are on D-League rosters through means other than the affiliate player rule. Most of them played under D-League contracts at some point within the last two years, meaning their D-League teams have returning player rights to them. Others entered through last weekend’s D-League draft, while others saw their D-League rights conveyed via trade. Most of these players aren’t with the D-League affiliate of the NBA team they were with last month, with a few exceptions.

Roster information from Adam Johnson of D-League Digest, Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor and freelancer and Hoops Rumors contributor Mark Porcaro was used in the creation of this post.

Grizzlies Waive Diawara, Carter, Jones, Stepheson

The Grizzlies have waived Yakhouba Diawara, Sampson Carter, Lazeric Jones and Alex Stepheson, the team announced. Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reported the moves minutes earlier (Twitter link). The Memphis roster drops to 16, which means one more cut has to take place no later than Monday. JaMychal Green, who has a $150K partial guarantee, and Ryan Hollins, who’s on a non-guaranteed deal, are the only remaining Grizzlies without full guarantees. The four players Memphis is letting go have no guaranteed money.

Diawara, 33, was attempting an NBA comeback after having played overseas since his last NBA appearance in 2009/10. The swingman averaged 2.3 points in 16.0 minutes per game across six preseason contests this month.

Carter was a 25-year-old combo forward who went undrafted out of UMass in 2014. Last season he hopped from BC Prievidza in Slovakia to CAB Madeira in Portugal and finally to Club Virgilio Castillo, also known as Chola, of the Dominican Republic. Pincus reported that his contract was a one-year, minimum-salary arrangement without a guarantee. He averaged 1.0 point and 6.0 minutes per game in six preseason appearances.

Jones’ contract was the first NBA deal for the former UCLA point guard who spent three years playing overseas. The 25-year-old put up 5.8 points in 14.3 minutes per game over six preseason contests for the Grizzlies.

Stepheson followed a similar path, playing overseas after going undrafted in 2011 out of USC and finally landing his first NBA deal with the Grizzlies earlier this month, when the team cut camp invitee Michael Holyfield. Stepheson’s deal was a one-year, minimum-salary arrangement without a guarantee, as Pincus reported. He averaged 2.3 points in 9.2 minutes per game over three preseason appearances.

Grizzlies Sign Five For Camp

The Grizzlies have formally signed Yakhouba Diawara, Ryan Hollins, Michael Holyfield, Lazeric Jones and Daniel Nwaelele, the team announced via press release. All five moves were expected, based on previous reports. The moves give Memphis a full 20-man roster for the preseason, as our roster count shows. All are making the minimum salary, since the Grizzlies don’t have the capacity to give more after signing Brandan Wright for the mid-level exception earlier in the offseason, and all are reportedly non-guaranteed

Diawara, 33, returns to the NBA after an absence of more than five years. The native of France played last season in Italy. Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports first reported the deal between Memphis and the swingman.

Hollins, who turns 31 next month, gives the Grizzlies depth on the interior. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports first reported the deal, and he and Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal had details about the arrangement, which covers one season.

Holyfield went undrafted this year out of Sam Houston State but joined the Grizzlies for summer league this year before formally signing with the team. Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders first reported the deal for the center who turns 23 in November, revealing that it’s a one-year pact.

Jones is a 25-year-old point guard who went undrafted out of UCLA in 2012 and has spent time overseas since then, playing in Israel, Greece and Hungary. Charania first reported the deal, and Pincus reports that it’s a one-year contract.

Nwaelele is a 31-year-old Air Force veteran who’s spent much of his time since going undrafted in 2007 serving out his military commitment. Marc Stein of first reported the deal, which is a one-year arrangement, according to Pincus.

Grizzlies, Lazeric Jones Agree To Camp Deal

SEPTEMBER 9TH, 10:55pm: No official announcement has been made by Memphis, but Jones has indeed signed a non-guaranteed minimum salary contract with the team, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.

SEPTEMBER 7TH, 2:30pm: The Grizzlies have agreed to sign former UCLA point guard Lazeric Jones to a non-guaranteed deal, a source tells Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The 25-year-old was with the Pelicans for summer league in July, but he’s chiefly played out his pro career overseas so far, with stops in Israel, Greece and Hungary.

Only one roster spot would appear to be up for grabs in Memphis, which has 14 fully guaranteed deals, though the Grizzlies have carried fewer than 15 players on opening night each of the last three seasons, as I noted earlier today. Jones would be competing against JaMychal Green, who has a $150K partial guarantee, and fellow non-guaranteed camp signee Michael Holyfield for a regular season roster spot if the Grizzlies decide to buck their recent trend. It’s more likely that Memphis would cut him at the end of the preseason and retain his D-League rights for its one-to-one affiliate, though that’s just my speculation.

Jones, who went undrafted in 2012, put up 13.6 points, 4.1 assists and 2.6 turnovers in 33.5 minutes per game in his final collegiate season with the Bruins in 2011/12. He posted 7.8 PPG, 1.6 APG and 1.2 TOPG in 16.3 MPG across five summer league appearances this year. The 6’0″ Chicago native spent this past season in Hungary, where he posted 12.8 PPG, 4.1 APG and 2.5 TOPG in 26.6 MPG for Szolnoki Olaj.\

Do you think Jones stands a realistic chance to make the regular season roster for the Grizzlies? Leave a comment to let us know.