The Free Agency Profile for the Memphis Grizzlies
*Photo via Getty Images
Memphis Grizzlies (55-27) – (2nd Southwest Division, 5th Western Conference)
The Memphis Grizzlies were eliminated from the 2015 NBA Playoffs in the second round by eventual champions, the Golden State Warriors. Injuries to first-team all-defense selection, Tony Allen and All-Star caliber point guard Mike Conley, proved to be too much to overcome as Memphis, who was up two games to one, lost the final three games of the series by an average of 16 points.
Memphis made an in-season move to acquire forward Jeff Green in January, who did not perform up to his capabilities in the postseason. Green’s scoring average dropped six points and shooting percentage dropped 10 percent when compared to his regular season numbers.
With a record of 55 wins and 27 losses, Memphis was just one game out of the number two or three seed which could have changed their result in the postseason. With one game separating seeds two through six (excluding the Northwest Division champion four seed, Portland Trailblazers), every regular season game matters and every offseason move matters.
Cap Space: $11,254,363
Memphis has $25,153,987 in luxury tax space.
They acquired Forward Matt Barnes in a deal earlier this offseason who is currently slated to make a fully guaranteed $3,542,500 this upcoming season if he is not waived on or before July 1, 2015. If Barnes is cut, Memphis will be responsible for a guaranteed $1 million before sending Barnes to unrestricted free agency. Marc Stein of ESPN indicated that Memphis intends to keep Barnes.
Similarly, Guard Beno Udrih is another rotation player on a partially guaranteed contract for this upcoming season. Udrih has $923k guaranteed and the full $2,170,465 guaranteed if he not waived on or before July 5, 2015.
C Marc Gasol (Unrestricted)
Hometown Memphis boy, Marc Gasol, is arguably the best center in the NBA. Gasol has made it known that he has minimal to no interest in other teams this free agency and will return to Memphis, likely on a max deal. A new deal would keep the Smash Brothers, Gasol and Zach Randolph, together until at least 2017-18.
C Kosta Koufos (Restricted)
Kosta Koufos generated interest earlier this season as a possible trade candidate for the Cleveland Cavaliers before they were able to bring in Timofey Mozgov. There should be interest in Koufos as he enters this offseason as a restricted free agent. With the addition of first round pick, forward Jarell Martin, and loss of forward Jon Leuer, Memphis may have to bring Koufos back in order to keep Gasol and Randolph fresh throughout the season. However, a decision will be made based on the types of offer sheets Koufos receives in free agency.
G Nick Calathes (Restricted)
Nick Calathes was thrust into the starting point guard role after the injury to Mike Conley and was not able to produce. Calathes did not score in the entire series against the Warriors after playing 19+ minutes in two of the six games and was benched in favor of Beno Udrih. With the guards Russ Smith and Andrew Harrison on non-guaranteed contracts (Harrison has yet to sign), Calathes’ tenure in Memphis looks like it’ll be coming to an end.
Wing floor spacer – Memphis has been looking for reliable shooting for the past couple of years. They haven’t been able to bring someone in who can consistently shoot the ball since they moved on from O.J. Mayo. A consistent threat from three would help space the floor for slashers like Jeff Green as well as give the Smash Brothers more room to operate in the paint.
Stretch 4 – This goes hand in hand with their floor spacer need. Jeff Green was brought in to play the stretch 4 role when Memphis plays small ball, but was unable to be a consistent three-point shooter during the playoffs (shooting 22 percent). Jon Leuer was supposed to be a stretch-4 but struggled, and is now with the Phoenix Suns.
SG Gary Neal – Neal is an undersized sharpshooter from downtown with NBA Finals experience who could be great for Memphis as they look to space the floor.
SG/SF Kyle Singler – As a career 37.8 percent shooter from distance, Singler would be a great addition. He is a restricted free agent with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and OKC wants him back.
SF/PF Luke Babbit – A career 40.3 percent shooter from three, Babbit could be a stretch-4 on the offensive end, but may be too much of a liability for the defensive minded Grizzlies.