Grizzlies Rumors: Steven Adams, Possible Center Targets, Brandon Clarke

The Grizzlies aren’t expected to make a big, splashy move and take on a large contract to try to replace center Steven Adams, out for the season with a knee injury.Steven Adams

Instead, they’re more likely to scour the free agent market and waiver wire, sources said.

At least, that seems to be the plan at the start. Along with Adams, Memphis will be without suspended point guard Ja Morant for the first 25 games.

So there doesn’t seem to be any panic or rush to make another move before the season begins. That’s not to entirely rule out a trade, as opposing teams are certainly calling. (As are plenty of agents who represent available big men.)

Still, it seems the early thinking is to let Jaren Jackson Jr. and Xavier Tillman handle the inside game, and then sign a veteran reinforcement down the road, perhaps with an injured-player exception. There is no timeframe for any of it. 

  • It might behoove Memphis to wait and see what develops with Robert Williams and the Trail Blazers. Portland seems committed to rotating Deandre Ayon and Williams in the pivot for now … though some insiders are skeptical that both players will find it to be a suitable arrangement for a full season. Especially Williams, who’s destined to get fewer minutes.
  • If the Grizzlies do decide to make a move, their best trade package might be forward Brandon Clarke with draft picks (and filler), one rival GM speculated. 
  • But again, it’s all speculation at this point. Memphis might even give second-year man Kenneth Lofton a shot at more minutes before signing or trading for an outsider.
  • Despite some internet rumors, the Grizzlies aren’t interested in veteran big men Dwight Howard or DeMarcus Cousins, sources said.
  • More plausible targets include the likes of Nerlens Noel, Bismack Biyombo, Tony Bradley or the recently released Khem Birch, who one source said may top Memphis’ list.
  • Some fear that Adams may not be a starting-caliber player once he returns, given the severity of the injury and overall wear and tear on his body. Then again, as one source said, it’s Adam’s strength and width — and not his vertical jump — that have made him an impactful center.
  • Finally, Grizzlies beat reporter Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal gave an excellent and extensive breakdown of the situation. He mentioned the Jazz’s Kelly Olynyk, Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson and Hawks’ Clint Capela as bigs who “fit the mold of potential candidates.” I urge you to check out Cole’s full post here.

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