Jarnell Stokes

D-League suspends teammates who fought each other



In an incident perfect for a minor league, Grizzlies rookie Jarnell Stokes and former Grizzlies player Kalin Lucas – teammates on the Grizzlies’ D-League affiliatefought each other during a game.

Not only were they ejected, they’re facing bigger penalties.

D-League release:

The NBA Development League today announced that Iowa Energy guard Kalin Lucas has been suspended three games and forward Jarnell Stokes has been suspended two games for fighting with each other on the team’s bench.

Here’s a closer view of the fight:

Grizzlies rookie Jarnell Stokes fights D-League teammate Kalin Lucas (video)


The Grizzlies’ D-League affiliate, the Iowa Energy were playing the Rio Grande Valley Vipers tonight when…

Jarnell Stokes, the No. 35 pick in the 2014 draft, has a fully guaranteed salary for this season and next.

Kalin Lucas, who went undrafted a few years ago, has had a couple stints with the Grizzlies. I doubt he’ll be invited back to Memphis anytime soon.

(hat tip on the video: Ryan Glasspiegel of The Big Lead

Seven Grizzlies players questionable Friday with stomach virus


When the Memphis Grizzlies play the Boston Celtics on Friday, they may be without almost half their roster. A stomach virus left them shorthanded on Wednesday during a loss to the Toronto Raptors, and now the team has announced that the virus has spread to affect seven players, all of whom are questionable Friday:

Seven members of the Grizzlies are dealing with a stomach virus and their status is uncertain for Friday’s game with the Boston Celtics.

The Grizzlies announced Thursday that guards Tony Allen, Courtney Lee and Beno Udrih, forwards Jon Leuer and Jarnell Stokes, center Kosta Koufos and guard/forward Quincy Pondexter have been hit with the virus and are questionable for the Boston game.

Lee and Stokes are new additions to the injury list. The other five players didn’t play in a 96-92 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday due to their illnesses.

This is just unfortunate timing for the Grizzlies, who currently have the best record in the Western Conference at 10-2. Hopefully, the illness doesn’t keep their players out much longer past Friday.

67RIEFNS No. 35: K.J. McDaniels testing the second-round system


The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.

Unlike first-round draft picks, second rounders don’t have a set salary scale. They’re free to negotiate with the team that drafted them for any contract between the NBA minimum and maximum as long as the team has enough room.

Obviously, they typically get much closer to the minimum. High second-round picks often get a couple seasons guaranteed, the first season slightly above the minimum salary with an unguaranteed third year if the team has enough cap space. It can vary quite a bit.

Players have one – rarely used – source of leverage. In order to maintain exclusive negotiating rights with a player, a team must extend him a required tender. A required tender is a one-year contract. That’s the only criterion. So, of course, those required tenders are usually for a minimum salary and fully unguaranteed.

That way, if a team fails to offer a satisfactory multi-year deal, the player can always accept the required tender and become a free agent after only one season (or sooner, if waived). It’s a last resort.

It’s also the route K.J. McDaniels took.

McDaniels left Clemson early, and I considered him a worthy of a late first rounder. Instead, he slipped to No. 32, where the 76ers drafted him.

Philadelphia wanted to sign McDaniels – according to his agent, Mark Bartelstein – to a four-year contract with the first two seasons guaranteed and the second two unguaranteed.

We don’t know exactly how much money the 76ers offered McDaniels in each season of the deal, but they gave another second-round pick – Jerami Grant – a contract that fit that format. Grant will make $377,543 more than the rookie minimum ($507,336) this season and the minimum in the three subsequent seasons. Presumably, McDaniels – picked seven spots higher than Grant – would have gotten at least that much.

Essentially, if Grant is a bust, Philadelphia will have to pay him more than they were required to offer. If he succeeds, the 76ers will have him at a discount on the latter seasons of the deal. It’s a low-risk, high-reward bet by Philadelphia. In exchange, Grant – who has never played professionally – gets more guaranteed money.

Given a similar choice, McDaniels opted for the one-year, unguaranteed tender.

McDaniels is the only 2014 second rounder to sign with an NBA team without receiving any guaranteed salary. His 2014-15 salary is also lower than the players drafted around him.

Here are all 17 second-round picks who’ve signed with their 2014-15 base salary (blue) and total guarantee (red):


Pick Team Player 2014-15 salary Total guarantee
31 MIL Damien Inglis $820,000 $1,675,000
32 PHI K.J. McDaniels $507,336 $0
33 CLE Joe Harris $884,879 $1,729,938
34 NYK Cleanthony Early $507,336 $1,352,395
35 UTA Jarnell Stokes $725,000 $1,570,059
36 MIL Johnny O’Bryant III $600,000 $1,445,059
38 DET Spencer Dinwiddie $700,000 $1,545,059
39 PHI Jerami Grant $884,879 $1,729,938
40 MIN Glenn Robinson III $507,336 $250,000
42 HOU Nick Johnson $507,336 $2,332,826
44 BRK Markel Brown $507,336 $507,336
45 BOS Dwight Powell $507,336 $507,336
46 LAL Jordan Clarkson $507,336 $507,336
47 NOP Russ Smith $507,336 $507,336
49 CHI Cameron Bairstow $507,336 $932,336
56 ORL Roy Devyn Marble $884,879 $884,879
60 SAS Cory Jefferson $507,336 $75,000

Salary data via Basketball Insiders

McDaniels picked the right team to take this chance.

Players with unguaranteed contracts are usually the first cut when a team need to hit the roster limit, but the 76ers are so far below the salary floor, they can waive players with guaranteed contracts over those with unguaranteed contracts without financial consequence.

The tanking 76ers also have a barren roster, making it easier for McDaniels to earn playing time. He’s going to become a free agent by next summer, and he should have a chance to establish his value on the court.

This is probably a near-perfect storm, and I don’t see many second-round picks accepting the required tender. But it’s interesting to see just McDaniels take this path, and if he succeeds, others could follow.

ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 Preview: Memphis Grizzlies


Last season: The Grizzlies won 50 games and finished seventh in the Western Conference despite Marc Gasol being sidelined for two months with a knee injury. They did it by relying on the usual grit-and-grind formula, with a midseason trade for Courtney Lee adding some scoring punch. They took the Oklahoma City Thunder to seven games in the first round and damn near pulled off the upset, as Tony Allen proved himself the only defender on the planet capable of slowing down Kevin Durant.

Signature highlight from last season: The first-round series with the Thunder had no shortage of drama, but the Grizzlies’ overtime win in Game 2 in OKC is hard to top.

Key player changes: Seemingly deciding that Mike Miller probably wasn’t going to play 82 games again, Memphis wisely upgraded veteran wing scorers by signing Vince Carter to replace him. They also drafted small forward Jordan Adams and big man Jarnell Stokes. Little-used backup big Ed Davis left for the Lakers.

Keys to the Grizzlies’ season:

Are Z-Bo’s best days behind him? Zach Randolph just signed a two-year extension with Memphis, but he’s 33 years old and has slowed down in recent years and dealt with various lingering injuries. When healthy, he and Gasol make up the best defensive frontcourt in the NBA, and Randolph’s ability to bully opposing bigs at both ends and score in the paint is essential to the Grizzlies’ successful formula. They won’t hope to make a deep playoff run without a healthy and productive Z-Bo.

Can the rookies contribute right away? If Randolph can’t contribute at a high level, Stokes could see some action at backup power forward his rookie season. Adams adds much-needed scoring on the wing and has looked excellent in the preseason. But Memphis’ playoff hopes will be helped greatly if the two rookies are ready to play right away.

Who will score? In the past, the Grizzlies have been elite on the strength of their defense but sorely lacked shooters. The trade for Lee helped in that regard, and Carter should be a nice offensive addition. They need Allen’s defense in the backcourt, but he’s a complete minus on offense, so between the rest of their wings, they need to find a way to manufacture points.

Why you should watch the Grizzlies: Gasol is one of the most fun two-way centers the NBA, a creative passer with a gorgeous hook shot. Mike Conley is one of the West’s most underrated point guards. Carter’s late-career reinvention as a sixth-man utility player has been neat after a disappointing stretch in Orlando. Allen is a crazy person. Their home fans are terrific. What’s not to like?

Prediction: 53-29. Barring another major injury, the Grizzlies have as good a chance of any team below the Spurs/Thunder/Clippers tier of making a Finals run. Nobody wants to deal with their defense in the playoffs, and their offense should be better this season.