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Memphis Grizzlies GM Zach Kleiman Reveals Insights On Offseason Plans

The 2023-24 season was not easy for the Memphis Grizzlies, as they had to deal with injuries to several of their star players, offseason drama with Ja Morant, and setting a franchise record they would have rather not. However, Memphis is moving forward, and Grizzlies GM Zach Kleiman recently discussed the team’s plans.

Memphis Grizzlies GM Zach Kleiman Reveals Insights On Offseason Plans

Memphis saw its three-year postseason run end this year with a 27-55 record, a major reason for the Grizzlies’ record 33 players.

The Grizzlies enter its sixth year under head coach Taylor Jenkins, who has a career record of 206-185. Heading into the summer, the Grizzlies have 14 players under contract for 2024-25, with salaries totaling over $175 million or more than $4 million above the tax threshold.

The problem for the Grizzlies is that they have limited flexibility unless they make trades. Luke Kennard has a team option at $14.7 million, while Yuta Watanabe has a $2.64 million player option. Derrick Rose has said he isn’t retiring and expects to be with the Grizzlies next season.

Memphis owns three draft picks, including the projected No. 7 overall selection. The Grizzlies also have the No. 39 pick and No. 57 selection. Two of their 2-way spots are filled with Trey Jemison and Scotty Pippen Jr.

Luke Kennard’s Status

Kennard was limited to 39 games this past season due to various injuries, marking the second-fewest of his career. The 27-wing still had solid numbers with 11.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists.

Known as a cerebral and lethal shooter, Kennard also drained 2.7 threes while shooting .448/.450/.889. He scored in double-figures in 25 of 39 contests.

However, Kennard’s high salary and in-flexible roster puts his status in jeopardy.

“Luke is someone we continue to feel strongly about,” Kleiman told Memphis Commercial Appeal. “Someone who is important for this team and this NBA. We have decisions that we have to make regarding him coming up.”

Grizzlies Looking To Add Big Man

Memphis dealt both of their primary centers during the season, leaving Jaren Jackson Jr. to handle the middle. Jackson spent nearly 99% of his minutes at center this year, and while he thrived, specifically on the offensive end, it appears that he may continue to spend the majority of time there.

But Kleiman told Cole that one of his goals is to add another big in the offseason.

“We are probably best positioned if Jaren is playing the five. From a roster-building standpoint, I think we see the value of having a more traditional or true big. We’ve seen Jaren successful in those type of lineups as well.”

“I envision we’ll add at least one big. Whether that’s a starting big or a rotation big, I think we have some work to do on the roster there.”

Brandon Clarke can play both frontcourt positions and played well in his five late-in-the-season appearances. Santi Aldama, who can also play the 4 or 5, continues to improve, though he is a little undersized at center. GG Jackson, who can play either forward spot, showed why he probably had the highest upside of all 2023 second-round selections.

Memphis should be able to land a good free agent big if that is the route they choose.

2024 Draft

Memphis has drafted quite well since 2018. However, there is a caveat to this: They have traded more of their selections than kept. Since 2018, only six of their 11 draft selections have suited up for the Grizzlies—not including the 2023 draft and stasher Tarik Biberovic. However, the players who have played for them, led by Morant and Jackson, have ended up being pretty solid picks.

All five players who have not played for the Griz were traded, including first-rounders Marcus Sasser, Walker Kessler, TyTy Washington, and Trey Murphy. Washington is the only player among the first-rounders who would be considered a poor selection.

So, what will the Grizzlies do with their lottery pick?

It may depend on where exactly it all is. If the Griz hit the proverbial letter and move up into the top three, their decision may differ from mine if they remain where they are.

“I think we’re going to be open-minded on what we can do with that pick,” Kleiman said.

The draft may be where the Grizzlies find their big man.



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