Memphis Grizzlies – Hoops Rumors Legitimate NBA free agent and trade rumors. 2020-08-03T23:53:42Z WordPress Luke Adams <![CDATA[Mike Budenholzer, Billy Donovan Win Coaches Association Award]]> 2020-08-03T16:37:33Z 2020-08-03T16:37:33Z Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer and Thunder head coach Billy Donovan have been voted the co-coaches of the year by the National Basketball Coaches Association, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

This award, introduced in 2017, isn’t the NBA’s official Coach of the Year award, which is voted on by media members and is represented by the Red Auerbach Trophy. The winner of that award is expected to be announced at some point during the postseason this summer.

The Coaches Association’s version of the award – named after longtime NBCA executive director Michael H. Goldberg – is voted on by the NBA’s 30 head coaches, none of whom can vote for himself.

Budenholzer, who also won the NBCA’s award in 2019, has had even more success with the East-leading Bucks this season. His team has a 54-13 record and – before the season was suspended – had been on pace to surpass the 60 victories that last year’s Milwaukee squad racked up.

As for Donovan, he has exceeded expectations with a Thunder team that was viewed as a borderline playoff contender and a candidate for a full-fledged rebuild. Instead of returning to the lottery following the offseason departures of Russell Westbrook and Paul George, Oklahoma City is 41-24, good for sixth in the Western Conference. A strong finish over the next couple weeks could result in a top-four record in the conference for the Thunder.

Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, widely viewed as the favorite to win the official Coach of the Year award in 2020, was one vote away from finishing in a three-way tie with Budenholzer and Donovan, per Wojnarowski.

Sources tell ESPN that Taylor Jenkins (Grizzlies), Nate McMillan (Pacers), Erik Spoelstra (Heat), and Brad Stevens (Celtics), and Frank Vogel (Lakers) also received votes.

Alex Kirschenbaum <![CDATA[Tyus Jones To Miss Some Seeding Games With Knee Soreness]]> 2020-07-29T23:38:52Z 2020-07-29T19:16:14Z Grizzlies backup point guard Tyus Jones is battling knee soreness and will miss at least a week of action before being reassessed, per an official team announcement (Twitter link).

The 32-33 Grizzlies, the West’s current No. 8 seed, will play their fourth seeding game a week from today, on August 5, against the 28-36 Pelicans, the current tenth seed. There are currently six teams in the West scheduled to compete for the conference’s eighth seed. The loss to the club’s depth in these crucial pre-playoff games could be an impediment.

Though Jones is a bench player averaging just 19.5 MPG, he is a consistent rotation piece who has logged time in every single game for the Grizzlies this season.  The 6’3″ guard out of Duke signed a three-year, $24MM offer sheet with Memphis as a restricted free agent last summer — his former team, the Timberwolves, declined to match.

Jones is enjoying his best scoring year as a pro during his inaugural Grizzlies season, averaging a career-best 7.4 PPG on a career-high 45.9% field goal shooting. He’s also making a career-best 37.9% of his three-point attempts on 6.6 tries per night to go along with 4.4 APG and 1.6 RPG.

Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian tweets that the loss of Jones will necessitate more time running the point for second-year guard De’Anthony Melton and that little-used Grizzlies backup Grayson Allen figures to receive rotation minutes during Jones’s absence.

Luke Adams <![CDATA[How Winslow Injury Impacts Grizzlies]]> 2020-07-23T15:24:00Z 2020-07-23T15:24:00Z
  • Noting that the club didn’t provide many details on the hip injury that brought Justise Winslow‘s season to an end and further delayed his Grizzlies debut, Chris Herrington of The Memphian attempts to make sense of what the injury means for the team this season and in 2020/21.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Grizzlies’ Winslow Out For Season With Hip Injury]]> 2020-07-21T18:24:27Z 2020-07-21T18:02:45Z Grizzlies forward Justise Winslow, acquired from the Heat at the trade deadline, won’t get a chance to make his debut with his new team this summer after all. According to a press release, Winslow fell during an intra-squad scrimmage on Monday and injured his hip. The injury will force him to miss the rest of the season, per the club.

    It’s a tough break for the Grizzlies and for Winslow, who had already missed the majority of the 2019/20 season due to a back injury. The 24-year-old appeared in just 11 games for Miami before being shut down, and had yet to suit up for Memphis.

    Winslow averaged 12.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 4.3 APG with a .433/.375/.628 shooting line in 66 games (29.7 MPG) in 2018/19, showing impressive versatility on both ends of the court and taking on primary ball-handling duties at times.

    Winslow was the centerpiece of the deadline deal that saw the Grizzlies take on Dion Waiters‘ and Gorgui Dieng‘s pricey multiyear contracts and send Andre Iguodala to Miami. The hope was that the young swingman would emerge as a long-term building block on an up-and-coming Memphis squad led by Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. If that’s going to happen, it’ll have to start in 2020/21 — Winslow has a $13MM salary next season, with a $13MM team option for ’21/22.

    Although the Grizzlies got some bad news on Winslow, the club’s roster as a whole should still be healthier than it was in March before the season was suspended. Jackson and Brandon Clarke are on track to return from injuries of their own, so Winslow’s absence won’t create a major hole in coach Taylor Jenkins‘ rotation.

    The Grizzlies have a 3.5-game cushion for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference, but holding onto that final playoff berth won’t be easy. Memphis has one of the summer’s most challenging eight-game schedules, which concludes with games against the Jazz, Thunder, Raptors, Celtics, and Bucks.

    Before that, the Grizzlies will have to face the Trail Blazers, Spurs, and Pelicans, three teams chasing them for the No. 8 seed. The Kings and – to a lesser extent – the Suns are also in the running.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Rotation Will Benefit From Improved Health]]> 2020-07-21T18:40:32Z 2020-07-21T01:41:55Z Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist finally joined the Mavericks at the Orlando campus on Saturday, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Brad Townsend, and explained that his late arrival was due to personal reasons, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News tweets. “I had some personal things I had to handle in my family,” he said. “I’m just happy to be here.” Guard Trey Burke still hasn’t joined the team but he should arrive soon, Townsend adds.

    We have more from the Southwest Division:

    • The extended layoff will result in a new look for the Grizzlies’ rotation, Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal notes. Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke, Justise Winslow and Grayson Allen are healthy again and the first three will play major roles in Memphis’ aim to make the playoffs.
      [UPDATE: Grizzlies’ Winslow Out For Season With Hip Injury]
    • Seth Curry said his success with the Mavericks is due in large part to coach Rick Carlisle’s faith in him, he told Dwain Price of the team’s website. Curry, who signed a four-year, $32MM deal last summer, is averaging 12.6 PPG in 24.5 MPG while making 45.3% of his 3-pointers this season. “He allows me to play on and off the ball, and he just gives me a lot of opportunities and a lot of minutes,” Curry said. “He’s given me the most minutes of my career so far and it allows me to get better as the season goes along, so it’s been a great fit for both of us.”
    • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has stated he’s more interested in player development than securing a playoff spot in Orlando. That will benefit a player like 20-year-old rookie swingman Keldon Johnson, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News writes. “I just love the chance to get out there and show what I can do,” he said. The late first-round pick in the June 2019 draft averaged 7.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 1.3 SPG in the last four games before the hiatus.
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Increased Depth Is 'Welcome Dilemma' For Grizzlies]]> 2020-07-16T17:04:38Z 2020-07-16T17:04:38Z The Grizzlies will enter the NBA’s restart with a healthier roster than they’ve had all season, creating what Michael Wallace of refers to as a “welcome dilemma” for Taylor Jenkins. Memphis has already exceeded expectations this year despite dealing with some injuries — now the team will have added depth to allow Jenkins to try to find even more effective lineup combinations.

    “We’re sorting through different combinations, but not trying to lose the lineups that were successful for us to this point,” the Grizzlies’ head coach said. “We’re going to have some really tough decisions to make, but that only means you have some great depth. We’re built on competing. We’re always prepared to have 17 guys ready to go at any given moment.”

    Besides having Justise Winslow – acquired at the trade deadline – available for the first time this summer, the Grizzlies will also have Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke back in their lineup. Jackson had missed the team’s nine games leading up to the hiatus in March, while Clarke had been out for eight games.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Community Shootaround: Western Conference Seeding]]> 2020-07-13T18:10:24Z 2020-07-13T18:10:24Z As we detailed on Friday when we discussed the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, there will be an opportunity for teams to move up – or down – in the standings when play resumes on July 30.

    With eight “seeding games” on tap, teams are unlikely to make up five- or six-game deficits on the clubs ahead of them in the standings, but there’s a strong likelihood of a shake-up in instances where teams are only separated by a game or two.

    That’s even more true in the Western Conference than it is in the East, albeit not necessarily at the very top of the standings, where the 49-14 Lakers hold a fairly comfortable lead on the 44-20 Clippers. The Lakers’ magic number to clinch the conference is just three, so they’re a safe bet to hang onto the No. 1 seed.

    After that though, there’s some congestion in the standings. The Clippers’ lead on the Nuggets (43-22) is just 1.5 games. Denver holds an identical lead over the Jazz (41-23). Utah, meanwhile, is just a couple losses away from slipping down to the No. 6 seed, as the Thunder (40-24) and Rockets (40-24) are right on their heels. The 40-27 Mavericks round out this group of six teams, a game-and-a-half behind OKC and Houston and just 5.5 games behind the second-seeded Clippers.

    A number of those six clubs bunched up in the middle of the Western Conference playoff picture will face one another when play resumes. For instance, the Thunder – who have the potential to move up or down a couple spots in the standings – will open the restart against the Jazz and Nuggets and eventually finish their season against the Clippers. The Clips will face the Mavericks and Nuggets in addition to OKC. Dallas opens its eight seeding games by playing the Rockets.

    Given the strength of competition in the West, seeding could be paramount in the postseason. The Nuggets, for example, could conceivably face the Jazz, Thunder, Rockets, or Mavs in the first round and would likely prefer some opponents to others in that group. The Jazz, currently at No. 4, could be motivated to avoid the No. 6 Rockets in the first round, since they’ve been eliminated by Houston in each of the previous two postseasons.

    At the bottom of the playoff picture, the No. 8 Grizzlies (32-33) have essentially no chance to move up, since they’re seven games back of Dallas. But they’ll be looking to increase their lead over the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs, and Suns — if they can finish with more than a four-game lead on all those clubs, they’ll avoid a play-in tournament. If the Nos. 8 and 9 seeds finish within four games of one another, a play-in tournament will be necessary to determine that final playoff spot.

    A newly-healthy Blazers squad will be a major threat to the Grizzlies, as will a Pelicans team that faces one of the league’s weakest schedules over the course of the eight seeding games.

    What do you think? Do you think we’ll see much movement in the Western Conference’s top eight? Will the Grizzlies be knocked out by one of the challengers behind them in the standings? What do you expect the West’s top eight seeds to look like by the time the playoffs begin?

    Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your predictions!

    JD Shaw <![CDATA[Exploring How Justise Winslow Fits With Grizzlies]]> 2020-07-13T01:34:03Z 2020-07-12T22:57:49Z
  • Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal examines how Justise Winslow fits in with the Grizzlies, particularly under head coach Taylor Jenkins’ offensive system. Jenkins indicated that Winslow will likely be used in a play-making role during the NBA’s resumed season, Barnes writes. “His versatility is really going to come out in our style of play,” Jenkins said. “That’s why I talk about him being just a great fit and a perfect fit for our system because he can play multiple positions on offense.”
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Brandon Clarke Feeling Healthy]]> 2020-07-07T22:00:14Z 2020-07-07T22:00:14Z
  • Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke, who missed the team’s last eight games before the hiatus due to a quad injury, said on Monday that he feels like he’s back to full health, as Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. “Over these past five to six weeks, I’ve gotten back to the player that I was. I feel like I’m pretty much the same health that I was pre-injury,” Clarke said. “I got the same balance and running habits, so it’ll all just be about my habits on the court.”
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Lou Williams Expected To Play In Restart; Beal Still Undecided]]> 2020-07-02T14:48:00Z 2020-07-02T14:48:00Z Seven players so far have opted out of the NBA’s restart this summer, but Clippers guard Lou Williams is unlikely to join that group. Despite previously expressing uncertainty about his status, Williams is expected to suit up for the Clippers as they pursue a title at Walt Disney World, head coach Doc Rivers said on Wednesday.

    “As far as Lou, all indications (are) that yes, he is (playing),” Rivers said on a Zoom call, per Ohm Youngmisuk of “Obviously, up until we get on the plane, anything can happen. But I do expect Lou to be with us. I would be very surprised if he’s not.”

    Meanwhile, another high-scoring guard, Bradley Beal, remains uncertain about his status for Orlando, as Youngmisuk writes in a separate story. Beal’s teammate Davis Bertans has already pulled out due to injury concerns ahead of his upcoming free agency. Beal’s backcourt mate and fellow All-Star John Wall won’t be in attendance either, as he continues to focus on his Achilles rehab and a 2020/21 return.

    According to Youngmisuk, Beal is considering health factors too as he weighs his options.

    “I have yet to make (my decision),” Beal told reporters on Wednesday. “I am still working my tail off every single day as if I am playing. It is more or less a decision that will come down to the medical staff and coming back from zero to 100, and then I have some nagging stuff from the end of the year that we are trying to clean up, too. We are looking at it from all angles. I am definitely working out every single day here. It is good to be back in the facility. … I am not swayed one way or another.”

    Here’s more on certain players’ participation decisions:

    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Pelicans-Jazz Begins NBA Restart On July 30]]> 2020-06-28T16:27:21Z 2020-06-26T23:33:26Z The Pelicans and rookie star Zion Williamson will face the Jazz on July 30 at 6:30 p.m. ET in the first game of the NBA’s restart, the league announced on Friday.

    There will be 88 “seeding” games from July 30 to August 14 prior to the postseason.

    The Clippers will square off against the Lakers in the second game on July 30 at 9 p.m. ET. The first two games will be broadcast by TNT.

    It will get very busy the next day with six games scheduled, highlighted by Celtics vs. Bucks and Rockets vs. Mavericks. There will be a maximum of seven games per day, with start times ranging from 12-9 p.m.

    At the conclusion of the seeding games, the seven teams in each conference with the highest combined winning percentages across regular-season games and seeding games will be the first through seventh seeds for the conference playoffs.  If the team with the eighth-best combined winning percentage (regular-season games and seeding games) in a conference is more than four games ahead of the team with the ninth-best combined winning percentage in the same conference, then the team with the eighth-best winning percentage would be the No. 8 seed.

    If the team with the eighth-best combined winning percentage in a conference is four games or fewer ahead of the team with the ninth-best combined winning percentage in the same conference, then those two teams would compete in a play-in tournament to determine the No. 8 playoff seed in the conference.  The play-in tournament will be double elimination for the eighth-place team and single elimination for the ninth-place team.

    Much of the intrigue regarding the seeding games concerns the final Western Conference spot. The Grizzlies, currently eighth, hold a 3 1/2-game lead over the Trail Blazers, Pelicans and Kings, a four-game lead over the Spurs and a six-game advantage on the Suns.

    Memphis will face the Blazers, Spurs, Pelicans, Jazz, Thunder, Raptors, Celtics and Bucks during the seeding round. Among the Grizzlies’ pursuers, the Pelicans appear to have the weakest schedule. After opening against the Jazz, they’ll face the Clippers, Grizzlies, Kings (twice), Wizards, Spurs and Magic.

    The Nets and Magic need only to hold off the Wizards in the East to claim the final two spots in their conference. Washington trails Brooklyn by six games and Orlando by 5 1/2 games.

    The breakdown of each team’s seeding schedule can be found here. The day-by-day schedule and national TV schedule can be found here.

    Alex Kirschenbaum <![CDATA[Grizzlies Could Exercise "Early Termination" Option For FedEx Forum]]> 2020-06-26T02:34:57Z 2020-06-26T02:09:34Z The Pelicans, currently occupying the No. 10 Western Conference playoff seed with a 28-36 record, are 3.5 games behind the 32-33 Grizzlies, the present No. 8 seed.

    • Due to soft attendance numbers during the 2019/20 season, the Grizzlies may be able to exercise an “early termination” option in the team’s lease on its publicly-funded home arena, the FedEx Forum, according to Geoff Calkins of the Daily Memphian. Team owner Robert Pera and local municipalities are anticipated to begin appraising various possible courses of action.
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Restart Notes: COVID-19, Schedule, Winslow, More]]> 2020-06-24T16:29:03Z 2020-06-24T16:29:03Z With NBA teams just a couple weeks away from traveling to Orlando to enter the Walt Disney World “bubble,” the stats on coronavirus cases in Orange County, Florida continue to be worrisome. As Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press relays (via Twitter), data from Wednesday morning showed that the area had 561 new cases on Tuesday, with a positive test rate of 17.3%.

    The recent COVID-19 numbers in Florida are “extremely concerning,” epidemiologist Zachary Binney tells Henry Bushnell of Yahoo Sports, who spoke to a series of experts to get their thoughts on the NBA’s restart plan. Binney noted that he thought the NBA’s plan was a good one, but cautioned that it’s being compromised by Florida’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Since Walt Disney World staffers have to go in and out of the bubble, there’s a greater chance that one of them will bring the virus with them now that it’s becoming so prevalent in the Orlando area.

    Despite some worrying COVID-19 trends, people around the NBA are still expressing confidence that the plan can work. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban recently told Steve Selby of The New York Post that the Orlando bubble will likely be safer than a player’s home city, given all the testing happening at Disney. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, meanwhile, said on CNBC on Tuesday that the NBA and other sports leagues will have to prepare to deal with some positive test results.

    “I think (the NBA season) is going to get off the ground,” Fertitta said, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “I don’t know if it’s going to stay. But we’re going to do whatever. You’re going to follow the protocols. It’s no different from one of our businesses. If somebody’s sick, you send them home. Everybody else watch themselves. Sanitize the establishment, and you have to move on.

    “If you’re not willing to say, ‘Oh my gosh, (hypothetically) three people tested today for the Houston Rockets, and three people tested today for the L.A. Lakers. Those guys go home, and we’re going to play the games’ — if we’re not willing to recognize that that’s going to be what happens, then we’re not going to complete the season, not in football, baseball, basketball or whatever.”

    Here’s more on the NBA’s restart:

    • Magic CEO Alex Martins told Orange County officials today that the NBA’s plan is for games to be played “all day long” inside three Disney arenas when the season restarts (Twitter link via Tim Reynolds). A “stringent sanitation process” will occur between games, Martins added.
    • The NBA and NBPA each issued press releases today announcing that they’ve made progress in talks to advance social justice issues. The two sides “agreed in principle that the goal of the season restart in Orlando will be to take collective action to combat systemic racism and promote social justice,” according to the announcements from the league and the players’ union.
    • Although he hasn’t given any indication that he plans to opt out of the NBA’s restart, Grizzlies forward Justise Winslow recently questioned the league’s plan, suggesting that the NBA and NBPA are focused on money rather than player safety. Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal has the details.
    • In an opinion column, Mark Medina of USA Today contends that players who voluntarily opt out of the NBA restart this summer shouldn’t feel guilty for doing so.
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Grizzlies Sign Anthony Tolliver For Remainder Of Season]]> 2020-06-24T01:44:19Z 2020-06-24T01:25:34Z JUNE 23: The signing is official, according to the team’s Twitter feed.

    JUNE 22: The Grizzlies and forward Anthony Tolliver have reached a verbal agreement on a deal that can be officially completed once the NBA’s transaction window opens on Tuesday, league sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).

    Stein first reported over the weekend that Tolliver was drawing interest from a handful of teams, but appeared likely to rejoin the Grizzlies. According to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link), the veteran free agent ended up deciding between the Grizzlies and Raptors, opting to return to Memphis.

    Tolliver, 35, appeared in 33 games for the Trail Blazers this season and another nine with Sacramento before he was bought out by the Kings. In five games on his initial 10-day contract with the Grizzlies, he averaged 5.4 PPG and 2.4 RPG on .381/.412/1.000 shooting in 19.2 minutes per contest.

    Tolliver’s last 10-day deal, signed on March 2, had been set to expire on March 11, the night the NBA officially suspended its season. So even if the league had carried over active 10-day pacts once the season resumes, Tolliver would have needed to sign a new contract. He figures to get a rest-of-season deal that will put him on track to reach unrestricted free agency in the fall.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Kris Dunn Meets Starter Criteria, Increases Value Of QO]]> 2020-06-23T17:01:33Z 2020-06-23T17:01:33Z Bulls guard Kris Dunn has been deemed to have met the starter criteria as a result of the shortened season, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). As a result, Dunn will receive a qualifying offer of $7,091,457 instead of $4,642,800 this offseason if Chicago wants to make him a restricted free agent.

    We broke down Dunn’s situation in greater depth earlier this month, but the abridged version is this: A player eligible for restricted free agency receives a more lucrative qualifying offer if he starts 41 games or plays 2,000 minutes in the season before he reaches free agency, or if he averages 41 starts or 2,000 minutes in the two seasons before his free agency.

    Dunn, who started 32 games this season and 76 in total over the last two years, fell slightly short of the 41-game-per-season requirement, but the criteria became prorated due to the Bulls only playing 65 of their 82 games this season. As a result, the former No. 5 overall pick was considered to have met the starter criteria, increasing the value of his qualifying offer.

    As we’ve previously pointed out, the $2.5MM difference could have a real impact on Dunn’s free agency. It’s possible the Bulls will be less inclined to tender a qualifying offer now that it’s worth $7.1MM instead of $4.6MM. If they do move ahead with the QO, it’s possible Dunn will be more inclined to accept it.

    If Chicago doesn’t tender a qualifying offer to Dunn, he’d become an unrestricted free agent.

    As Marks and ESPN have previously reported, the NBA and NBPA also agreed to prorate the criteria for bonuses and incentives available to players in 2019/20, based on the shortened season. As a result, the following players have now achieved bonuses, according to Marks (Twitter link):

    • Rudy Gobert (Jazz): $250K for a rate of one rebound per 2.52 minutes in 62 games played.
      • Original criteria: A rate of one rebound per <3.2 minutes in 67 games.
    • Solomon Hill (Heat): $532K for 992 minutes played.
      • Original criteria: 1,000 minutes.
    • Jrue Holiday (Pelicans): $255K for 1,922 minutes played; $255K for 55 games played; $255K for 4.9 RPG in 55 games.
      • Original criteria: 2,075 minutes played; 66 games played; 3.15 RPG in 67 games.
    • Tyus Jones (Grizzlies): $858K for 32 wins.
      • Original criteria: 33 wins.
    • Kyle Lowry (Raptors): $200K for All-Star berth and 52 games played.
      • Original criteria: All-Star berth and 65 games played.
    • Patty Mills (Spurs): $250K for 149 three-pointers made.
      • Original criteria: 185 3PM.
    • T.J. Warren (Pacers): $250K for 184 three-pointers made and .375 3PT%.
      • Original criteria: 185 3PM; .370 3PT%.