UNDER CONTRACT: F Zach Randolph, F Rudy Gay, C Marc Gasol, G Mike Conley, F Marreese Speights, G Tony Allen, F Darrell Arthur, G Jerryd Bayless, G Wayne Ellington, F Quincy Pondexter, G Josh Selby, C Hamed Haddadi, C Jerome Jordan, G Flip Murray, G Ronald Dupree
DRAFT PICKS: G Tony Wroten
FREE AGENTS: G Gilbert Arenas, G Lester Hudson
MOVES: Over the last two playoff seasons, the Grizzlies have had two pressing needs: perimeter shooting and backup point guard. They tried to address their need for shooting by offering Ray Allen the mid-level exception over two years but struck out when Allen opted for less money with defending champion Miami. However, they succeeded in plugging the hole behind Mike Conley by signing Jerryd Bayless – who had his qualifying offer pulled by Toronto – to a two-year deal. Memphis also did not lose sight of its own free agents, re-signing RFAs Marreese Speights to a two-year, $9 million contract (second year is a player option) and Darrell Arthur to a three-year, $10 million deal (third year is a team option). The signings keep Memphis deep in the frontcourt, which was an issue last season when both Arthur and Zach Randolph went down with long-term injuries. Rudy Gay’s backup is now Quincy Pondexter following the trade of forward Dante Cunningham to Minnesota for guard Wayne Ellington, who perhaps needs a change of scenery to jump-start what has been a disappointing career thus far. And the Grizzlies made sure there is a legitimate center behind All-Star Marc Gasol by re-signing Hamed Haddadi to a two-year contract. They also inked the intriguing Jerome Jordan, who was once compared to Antonio Davis by then-Knicks president Donnie Walsh.
TO-DO LIST: O.J. Mayo was not given a qualifying offer, and the Grizzlies made no effort to pursue him at a lower number. He is headed to Dallas, which means Memphis plans to replace him with Ellington, who never has averaged more than 6 points per game, and Josh Selby, who spent the summer league at shooting guard. The acquisition of Bayless gave the Grizzlies four point guards until Jeremy Pargo was dealt with a 2014 second-round pick and cash to Cleveland for forward D.J. Kennedy, whose partially guaranteed contract was waived to reduce Memphis’ tax hit. The roster has two potential spots for the journeymen invited to camp, but Memphis may not want to add any more personnel because of its future financial obligations. One of those obligations is defensive demon Tony Allen, who is entering the final year of his deal but cannot be signed to an extension. That may not be such a bad thing, given the payroll’s proximity to the supertax.
PROJECTION: Obscured by a disappointing home loss in Game 7 of the first round was the fact that the Grizzlies had their best winning percentage ever despite Arthur missing the entire season, Randolph missing 38 games and Conley bearing virtually all of the responsibility of running the show. Once a joke around the league, Memphis has become one of the most stable franchises with one of the deepest rosters and by all accounts will remain that way for the next three to four years.
(RELATED: What grade did the Grizzlies get?)
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