2022 NBA Offseason Preview: Memphis Grizzlies

Grizzly made it through the play-in tournament in 2020 and then finished 8th in the West in 2021, making it clear they were a team on the rise. However, not many of us expected this growth to accelerate as quickly as it did in 2021/22, when Memphis won 56 games, second most in the NBA.

Bye Ja MorantHis rise to the All-NBA level played a significant role in the Grizzlies’ own ascent in the standings and earned him the Most Improved Player award. Taylor JenkinsThe team has shown an impressive ability to win even without their star point guard in the roster. Memphis went 20-5 in games that Morant missed after finding a way to get positive input from players far down the depth table.

Growth for a young team like the Grizzlies isn’t always linear, so we shouldn’t limit a team to 60+ wins in 2022/23. But with Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. long term and a few solid support players around them, Memphis has a solid foundation to build on and, barring disaster, shouldn’t slide into lottery territory anytime soon.

Grizzlies plan for the off-season:

I mentioned Morant above as being “on the long haul,” but he and the Grizzlies still need to make it official. This should be one of the first and easiest tasks for the team in the off-season. On July 1st, Morant will be eligible for a maximum rookie salary extension, and I expect Memphis to put that proposal into consideration immediately.

The Grizzlies’ proposal is likely to include “Rose Rule” language that allows Morant to receive a starting salary of up to 30% of the 2023-24 salary cap (instead of 25%) if he meets certain performance criteria. Despite earning an All-NBA berth this year, Morant will have to make it back to the All-NBA next season to qualify for a higher maximum – the criteria for the rose rule require a player to be in the All-NBA either in the season , the new contract takes effect on or during two of the previous three seasons.

About a week before they finalize Morant’s contract renewal, the Grizzlies will have to make some decisions on draft night. Namely, do they want to use their two first-round picks to add more young players to their current core, or is it time to start cashing in some of their draft picks to help veterans?

Memphis is ranked 22nd and 29th overall this year and nearly missed the opportunity to add a third round one player to the lottery. The Grizzlies are perhaps the only ones of the 29 contestants frustrated with how hard the Lakers have struggled this season, as they would have received Los Angeles’ first-round pick had it been outside of the top 10. The Lakers finished well behind. the standings that their pick finished 8th and went to New Orleans instead, depriving the Grizzlies of the opportunity to truly load the 2022 draft’s assets. Instead of the first round, the Lakers got a couple of second round players, including this year’s 47th pick.

Without that extra first-round player, the Grizzlies won’t have as many options to make a really big hit – neither the 22nd or 29th picks on their own will bring back a striker, though perhaps the team will look into connecting. one or both choices to the player, e.g. Stephen Adams or Dillon Brooks looking for an upgrade. Adams, Brooks, etc. Brandon Clark are among Memphis’ rotational players who have contract years coming into effect and will be eligible for an extension this offseason.

Keeping one or both picks in the first round is a good fallback. In the end, this front office Grizzlies got hooked Desmond Bain 30th pick in the 2020 draft. A successful pick won’t be easy to replicate, but it’s a reminder that finding a key item at the end of the first round isn’t out of the question.

The Grizzlies also have a big decision to make on a couple of key free agents. Tyus Jones as well as Kyle Andersonand it will be interesting to see how the team approaches negotiations with the two best players.

Few point guards care as much about the ball as Jones, who has led all qualified players in pass-to-assist ratio for four consecutive seasons. He also shot down a career-high 39.0% from threes in 2021/22.

Memphis appears to want Jones back, but the club should be wary of trying to outbid rivals if he offers more than average money. He has averaged just 17.1 mpg this season in his 50 games as a reserve and has no plans to play on the team’s starting or final roster in the future. If the Grizzlies are willing to go as high as $12-15 million a year for Jones, it’s probably because they’re concerned about Morant’s longevity and see Jones as a solid insurance policy.

Anderson, meanwhile, took a step back in 21/22 from his best season as a pro the year before, but in his four years at Memphis, he proved himself to be a reliable secondary playmaker and all-around defender, on the wing and as a powerful smallball forward. The Grizzlies have enough depth that they don’t feel pressured to overpay Anderson, but it would be nice to bring him back, especially if there’s any uncertainty about whether the 2021 first-round players will Zier Williams as well as Santi Aldama ready for a higher role.

There are a few more factors the Grizzlies need to consider when debating whether to bring back Jones and/or Anderson. The first is their salary cap situation – in theory, the team could get over $20 million in the cap by letting these two players leave, which could come in handy in the free agent market or in the trade market.

Another factor to consider is the number of players on the Memphis roster. Preservation John Konchar and using both of their first-round picks would have left the Grizzlies with 14 contract players and only one spot on their regular season roster of 15. A consolidation trade (i.e. two for one) or moving one or both of their first round players could help overcome this deadlock if the Grizzlies want to secure a spot for both Jones and Anderson without giving up any guaranteed players. salary.

The situation with the salary cap

Note. Our salary cap numbers are based on the league’s latest forecast ($122M) for 2022/23.

Guaranteed salary

Player Options

Command Options

Non-guaranteed wages

  • John Konchar ($1,460,000) one
  • Total: $1,460,000

Restricted free agents

Bilateral free agents

Draft Pick

  • 22nd overall pick ($2,660,280)
  • 29th overall pick ($2,180,520)
  • General Choice No. 47 (no lid hold)
  • Total: $4,840,800

Players eligible for renewal

Note. These are players who are either already eligible for an extension or will become eligible before the start of the 2022/23 season.

  • Stephen Adams (veteran)
  • Dillon Brooks (veteran)
  • Brandon Clark (novice scale)
  • John Konchar (veteran)
  • De’Anthony Melton (veteran)
  • Ja Morant (novice scale)
  • Xavier Tillman (veteran)

Unlimited free agents / other restrictions

Off-season forecast

We assume the Grizzlies will try to re-sign at least one of Anderson and Jones and act as a limit-working team, but they don’t necessarily have to go in that direction.

Memphis could get close to $20 million in free space just by letting their free agents go, and could increase that figure even more by trading one or both of their first-round picks or some kind of guaranteed salary.

Exceptions to restrictions available

  • Middle-Level Exception: $10,349,000 3
  • Twice a year exception: $4,050,000 3
  • Trade exception: $4,054,695
  • Trade exception: $1,018,012
  • Trade exception: $119,844


  1. Konchar’s salary will be fully guaranteed after July 3rd.
  2. The Grizzlies are unable to offer Culver a starting salary in excess of his salary cap as his 2022/23 rookie option was rejected.
  3. These are predicted values. If the Grizzlies choose to go under the restriction and use the restricted space, they forfeit those exclusions (and their trading exclusions) and instead gain access to a room exclusion ($5,329,000).

Salary and ceiling information from basketball insiders as well as RealGM was used to create this post.

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