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2 players Grizzlies must sign in 2022 NBA free agency

Grizzlies, Ja Morant

The Memphis Grizzlies were among the biggest surprises of the 2021-22 NBA season, as Ja Morant and company wreaked havoc on the court for the most part of the campaign. They even reached the second round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs, and who knows how far they would have gotten if Morant stayed healthy in the series against the eventual 2022 NBA champions Golden State Warriors. But it’s now the offseason, and with the 2022 NBA Draft over, most eyes will be on the free agents. Here are two free agents the Grizzlies should be wanting to sign.

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Grizzlies 2022 NBA Free Agency Targets

2.  Tyus Jones

Jones has found a home with the Grizzlies, settling in comfortably in Memphis as Ja Morant’s top backup. The Grizzlies managed to keep their heads above water on the court even when Morant was out with an injury during the 2021-22 NBA season and a big reason for that was the dependable play of the former Duke Blue Devils point guard.

Jones averaged 8.7 points on 45.1 percent shooting from the field and also shot a remarkable 39 percent from behind the arc last season. While many would see him as a liability on the defensive end of the floor because of his size, Jones actually had the best defensive rating (105.5) among Grizzlies players who are a regular part of the rotation. But it’s his ability to knock down perimeter shots and intelligent playmaking that elevates the play of those around him on the floor that make Jones such an asset for the Grizzlies.

At only 26 years old, Jones, who’s about to hit the free-agent market this offseason, offers flexibility in the Grizzlies’ cap room because they own his bird rights. Jones signed a 3-year deal with Memphis in 2019 that was worth $26.4 million. Knowing the kind of value Jones can bring to the table, the Grizzlies can’t just let Jones walk away from the team without careful deliberation.

1. Bobby Portis

While it appears that the Milwaukee Bucks are still the favored landing spot for Portis, who is yet to decide on his player option for the 2022-23 NBA season according to Marc Stein, the Grizzlies could (and should) make a run for him.

Milwaukee’s Bobby Portis can become a free agent this offseason if he bypasses a $4.6 million player option for 2022-23, but there is already tangible resignation from some interested teams that they won’t have any shot at luring Portis away from the Bucks. The expectation already in circulation is that Portis will re-sign with Milwaukee on a multi-year deal even if he does opt for free agency.

Portis can fit right in with the Grizzlies, who can use Portis’ cheap player option amount as leverage; they can offer him more while also guaranteeing him to play for a legitimate NBA title contender.  In the 2021-22 NBA season, Portis averaged career-highs of 14.6 points and 9.1 rebounds. He also shot nearly 40 percent from deep. His size, nose for the ball in rebounding situations on both ends of the court, and floor-stretching capability are skills that should give the Grizzlies a big shot in the arm.

A Grizzlies frontcourt that already has the likes of Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke, and Steven Adams can still pack some more muscle, and Portis can provide more than just that. Getting Portis could also make Adams a dispensable asset to create a bigger cap room for the Grizzlies.  Adams still has two years remaining on his current deal that has a guaranteed amount of $35 million. If Memphis could flip Adams to somewhere else, that would open up more flexibility for the Grizzlies on the negotiation table to sign someone like Portis.