Ben McLemore

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Report: Grizzlies consider Marc Gasol, Mike Conley “untouchable”

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The perception among some fans is that with Zach Randolph in Sacramento and Tony Allen sitting on the free agent market too, the “grit ‘n grind” era in Memphis is over and the team is about to tear it down and rebuild. And without Allen (who could still be re-signed, depending on what happens with JaMychal Green, the restricted free agent who is in a bit of a standoff with Memphis) that era does die.

But the Grizzlies are not about to dump assets and rebuild. Not even close.

Matt Moore breaks it down in a fantastic piece at CBSSports.com.

The Memphis Grizzlies consider All-Star center Marc Gasol “untouchable” and have refused to enter his name in any trade conversations, two sources close to the situation told CBS Sports this week. Gasol has been the subject of rampant speculation this summer that he could be dealt, despite being just two years into a five-year max contract signed in 2015 that doesn’t make him eligible for free agency until 2019….

Typically, the idea that Gasol could be available stems from the perception that Memphis has lost momentum and “needs” a rebuild. The Grizzlies, in reality, have made the playoffs the past seven years, and their decision to re-sign both Gasol and Mike Conley (who is also considered “untouchable” according to sources) was made with the intention of building around the duo long-term.

For Memphis, the concern is beyond simple wins and losses, however. For a small market, the Grizzlies may not have a center of Gasol’s quality for literally decades. Other teams can make moves with an idea toward mobility and flexibility. A team like Memphis has to pursue discipline in retaining its stars because of the challenges the team faces in obtaining big-name upgrades. The Grizzlies’ best path toward contention isn’t to trade Gasol, even for a high-value draft pick.

There’s another factor at play: Memphis the city has embraced this roster and this team. The physical, grinding, hard-working style of play is something the fans relate to, and they fill the building. The fans love Gasol and Conley. In a small market, that matters. It’s easy from the outside to take a “they can’t win a title with this roster, tear it down and rebuild” attitude, but that would not sit well with the Memphis fan base. Tearing it down means years and years of losing, years and years of largely empty buildings, and a lot of work to re-connect with fans. Why would they throw a successful business model away?

Gasol has said if the Grizzlies aren’t going to try to find a path forward he might reconsider his position, but right now he’s not asking for a trade. This is a Grizzlies team that won 43 games last season, will not miss Randolph as much as some fans think, will get more out of Green, has to get more out of Chandler Parsons (he can’t give them less), and made some smart gambles on guys like Ben McLemore. The bottom of the West is stacked, but if the Grizzlies stay healthy, they likely make the postseason.

Bottom line, Gasol is not on the block. Sorry Celtics fans. While we’re at it, Anthony Davis is not on the trade block right now, either.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Report: Zach Randolph arrested, charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell

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Not a great week for players in the Sacramento-Memphis pipeline.

Ben McLemore, who went from the Kings to the Grizzlies, broke his foot. And Zach Randolph – who went the other way on a two-year, $24 million contract – got arrested.

TMZ:

LAPD officers were called to the Nickerson Gardens area in L.A. around 10 PM — and when they arrived, cops found a large crowd of people smoking, playing loud music and blocking the roadway.

Three people were detained — including Randolph, who was eventually arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to sell. We’re told the “intent to sell” part was due to the large amount of weed found.

After the arrests, we’re told things got crazy — the crowd became unruly and LAPD had to call for backup.

We’re told 6 cop cars were vandalized — tires slashed and windows busted — and cops formed a battle line to restore order.

In the end, cops recovered 2 guns, drugs, a significant amount of cash and 2 vehicles were impounded — though it’s unclear if any of those things belonged to Randolph.

The Kings said they are aware of the situation but would not comment at this time.

It is fairly common for people arrested with large amounts of marijuana to have the charge of intent to sell put on them, but that charge is often dropped by prosecutors as it is tougher to prove. Possession and use of recreational marijuana is legal in California.

Back in 2010, Randolph was implicated as a marijuana kingpin in Indianapolis. Though he never faced charges, this latest incident renews questions. He was also accused in 2011 of orchestrating a beating and robbery of a marijuana dealer Randolph had invited to his house. He wasn’t charged for that, either.

The NBA fines players $25,000 for a second marijuana conviction/positive test, then players are suspended five games for a third violation. For a first violation, a player is sent to an education, treatment and counseling program, although if there is an arrest and conviction of sales the league likely would add some response.

Grizzlies’ Ben McLemore out 12 weeks after foot surgery

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Ben McLemore‘s two-year, $10.7 million contract with the Grizzlies isn’t off to the best start.

Grizzlies release:

Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace announced that guard Ben McLemore has been diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot. The injury occurred when he landed on another player’s foot after driving to the basket during a pick-up game in Los Angeles.

McLemore underwent successful surgery and will be out an estimated 12 weeks. He is expected to make a full recovery.

With the NBA season starting sooner, a 12-week timetable would sideline McLemore the first two weeks of the regular season. This a blow both for him and Memphis, which looks like an unlikely – but potential – playoff team in a stacked Western Conference.

McLemore, who never found his footing with the Kings, had a chance to become the Grizzlies’ starting shooting guard. At least Memphis has plenty of players who can play the position in his absence: Tyreke Evans, Andrew Harrison, Wayne Selden, Troy Daniels and Wade Baldwin. It gets easier to put one of the combo guards there if Mario Chalmers – who was very good in his last stint with the Grizzlies – is healthy enough to back up Mike Conley at point guard.

Report: Grizzlies signing Tyreke Evans to one-year deal

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The Grizzlies let franchise icon Zach Randolph leave for Sacramento.

They’re trying to soften the blow by already announcing they’ll retire Randolph’s number. Adding another local favorite – Tyreke Evans, who starred at University of Memphis – will also help.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

I bet Evans is getting the $3,290,000 bi-annual exception. The Grizzlies were already hard-capped by paying Ben McLemore $8,000 (!) more than than the taxpayer-midlevel exception.

Evans has spent the last few years toiling in New Orleans and Sacramento. He went from Rookie of the Year to forgotten nearly as quickly as Michael Carter-Williams. A one-year deal could allow Evans to rehab his value and get back on the market.

The Grizzlies can use Evans’ positional versatility with so many questionable perimeter players – from Chandler Parsons (injury) to Tony Allen (free agent) to Andrew Harrison and Wade Baldwin (unproven). Evans can plug in anywhere from small forward to point guard.