The Memphis Grizzlies have made their second move of the free agency period Friday night, signing restricted free-agent small forward Kyle Anderson to a four-year, $37.2 million offer sheet.
The 24-year-old Anderson, has started almost 40% of the games he has played in since joining the league in 2014 out of UCLA. This included 90% of the games he appeared in last year for a team that has constantly been at the top of the NBA and with one of the most well-respected coaches in the NBA in Gregg Popovich.
While Anderson does not score a lot (4.9 PPG), according to Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey, nobody in NBA history matches his combination of AST%, REB%, STL%, and BLK%. His defensive rating ranked third in the NBA last year and has one of the largest wingspans in the NBA for somebody under 6’9″ at 7’3″. This could help bring back the “Grit and Grind” back to Memphis and would dramatically help new head coach J.B. Bickerstaff on the defensive end.
The Spurs have 48 hours to match the Grizzlies off of close to $37.2 million. The deadline will be close to 7pm (Eastern) Sunday night for Spurs’ general manger R.C. Buford.
Buford will be faced with a difficult decision as the state of the San Antonio Spurs, which NBA fans have become accustomed to throughout Gregg Poppovich’s tenure, is coming to a close. This includes the ongoing saga between Kawhi Leonard and the organization and his most probable departure from the organization, the lack of resigning Tony Parker (who signed with the Hornets), and Manu Ginobili’s uncertainty of his future. Anderson would defiantly have a more advanced role for the Spurs if they were to match. It’ll be difficult for Poppovich to have almost no returning players to play alongside the plethora of new faces that the Spurs are to get in return for Leonard whenever the trade is made. However, $37.2 million might be too much for the Spurs to match, who are currently at $4.06 million under the salary cap, according to Spotrac. Adding another $9.3 million a year might be too much for the Spurs to match. The Grizzlies used their entire non-taxpayer mid-level exception on Anderson if he is to sign.
Anderson would be playing alongside a healthy Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Chandler Parsons if the Spurs are not to match. Add him to 4th pick Jaren Jackson, Jr., up-and-coming Dillon Brooks and JaMychal Green, as well as other free agent signing Omri Casspi, the Grizzlies could restart their runs into the Western Conference Playoffs, which saw their 7 year streak fade away after and injury riddled season, ugly previous season.