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Memphis Grizzlies
Memphis Logo
Information
Conference Western Conference NBA Western
Division Southwest Division
Founded 1995
History Vancouver Grizzlies
1995–2001
Memphis Grizzlies
2001–present
Arena FedEx Forum
City Memphis, Tennessee
Team Colors Memphis Midnight Blue, Beale Street Blue, Steel Gray, Gold
                   
Media Fox Sports Tennessee
SportSouth
WRBO-FM
Owner(s) Memphis Basketball, LLC (Robert Pera, Chairman and Controlling Owner)
General Manager Zachary Kleiman
Head Coach Taylor Jenkins
Uniform Sponsor FedEx
Affiliate Memphis Hustle
Championships
NBA NBA Championship logo 0
Conference Conference Championship logo 0
Division 2 (2022, 2023)
Other
Retired numbers 2 (6, 50)
Official Website grizzlies.nba.com
Uniforms
GrizzliesAssociation GrizzliesIcon GrizzliesStatement
Home court
Memphis Grizzlies court logo

The Memphis Grizzlies are an American professional basketball team based in Memphis, Tennessee. The Grizzlies are a member of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Their head coach is Taylor Jenkins.

Along with the Toronto Raptors, the Grizzlies were established in 1995 as part of the NBA's expansion into Canada. The team originated that year in Vancouver, British Columbia as the Vancouver Grizzlies and relocated to Memphis in 2001. The team's majority owner is Robert Pera.

While two other teams (Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators) in the four major North American sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) play in Tennessee, the Grizzlies are the only team to currently play in Memphis.

Home arenas[]

Vancouver Grizzlies

Memphis Grizzlies

Franchise history[]

The Grizzlies began in 1995 as the Vancouver Grizzlies. They were one of two franchises that joined the NBA in the 1995-96 season alongside the Toronto Raptors as part of the NBA's expansion into Canada.

Vancouver Grizzlies (1995–2001)[]

1995–2001: Establishment and six seasons[]

1280px-Vancouver Grizzlies logo

Vancouver Grizzlies logo 1995–2001.

The only former professional basketball team to play in Canada was the Toronto Huskies, who played a single season in 1946–47 before folding. Attempts had been made by Nelson Skalbania, a local entrepreneur, to get an NBA franchise to Vancouver in the 1980s, but had failed. Arthur Griffiths, owner of the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League (NHL) through Northwest Sports Enterprises, announced in February 1993 that he hoped to bring an NBA franchise to Vancouver. Griffiths was developing a privately owned 20,000-seat arena for the Canucks in downtown Vancouver, which was scheduled for completion for the 1995–96 season. The Toronto Raptors were awarded an expansion franchise for that season on September 30, 1993. On February 14, 1994, the NBA's Expansion Committee gave a preliminary approval for Vancouver, with full approval being granted by the Board of Governors on April 27, 1994. Both franchises paid a fee of US$125 million, up from $32.5 million paid during the 1988–89 expansion. The Grizzlies became the NBA's 29th franchise.

One hindrance for the expansion was that the NBA wanted the Province of British Columbia to abolish wagering on Grizzlies games, specifically by removing the games from the Sports Actions betting. NBA betting accounted for CA$1.56 million in 1993, with the profits going to provincial health care. Similar demands were laid forward in Ontario. There was large public opposition against the league's demands. This issue was resolved on February 9, 1994, after the franchise company agreed to donate $500,000 per year to health care.

The company hired Stu Jackson as general manager on July 22, 1994, who was at the time head coach of the University of Wisconsin Badgers and, previously, head coach for the New York Knicks. Jackson started by hiring a scouting department headed by Larry Riley. Original proposals were for the team to be called the Vancouver Mounties, but objections from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police forced the team to find a new name, which was announced on August 11, named for the bear indigenous to British Columbia. The team colors were announced to be turquoise, bronze and red.

The Grizzlies were the first NBA team to have a website, which was created in 1995 by Bob Kerstein, Chief Information Officer of the Grizzlies at the time. Josh Davis was credited with designing the Vancouver Grizzlies logo in 1995.

To start playing, the team needed to have sold 12,500 season tickets with 50 percent payment prior to January 1, 1995. This was a number higher than that of the Canucks, and both Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves had seen problems reaching 10,000 during the 1989 expansion. On December 21, 1994, only about 10,000 tickets had been sold when Shoppers Drug Mart purchased the necessary 2,500 tickets to push the team over the limit, in a deal similar to what was necessary in Toronto. On March 7, 1995, the majority of the holding company was sold from Griffiths to Seattle-based John McCaw, Jr. Griffiths and McCaw, Jr. proceeded to create a parent company for the Canucks, Grizzlies and the General Motors Place, which at first was baptized Northwest Entertainment Group, but got renamed in August as Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment. Brian Winters was announced as head coach on June 19, 1995. Winters had spent the past nine seasons as an assistant under Lenny Wilkens with the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers. Prior to the draft, the team signed free agent Kevin Pritchard, the team's first player.

Five days later, the Grizzlies and Raptors attended the 1995 NBA Expansion Draft. Each of the 27 NBA teams could protect eight of their players, and the two expansion teams could select one unprotected player from each team. Vancouver won the coin flip, and opted for a better position in the upcoming draft, allowing the Raptors the first pick. Vancouver's first pick was Knicks' point guard Greg Anthony; other top players were guards Byron Scott and Gerald Wilkins, and swingman Blue Edwards. The team also selected forward Kenny Gattison, center Benoit Benjamin, forward Larry Stewart, Rodney Dent, Antonio Harvey, Reggie Slater, Trevor Ruffin, Derrick Phelps and Doug Edwards.

Both the Canadian teams were hampered by the NBA's decision to deny them one of the top five picks in the draft. The teams would not be allowed a top draft pick in the following three seasons, even if they should win the lottery. The teams were also hindered from using their full salary cap the first two seasons. In the first draft, the Grizzlies were sixth and selected center Bryant Reeves. Although a solid player, he failed both at carrying the team and, lacking creative style, did not help draw up attendance.

Every year, except the 1998–99 season, the Grizzlies played the Raptors in the pre-season Naismith Cup, held at a neutral venue in Canada. The Grizzlies' first official contest was against the Portland Trail Blazers; both the first game and the following game against the Minnesota Timberwolves were won. The team followed up by losing 19 straight games, and later set the NBA single-season record of 23 straight losses in February to April (a record since bested by the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers). The season ended with 15 wins and 67 losses—the .196 winning percentage being the lowest in the whole league. The team saw an average attendance of 17,183 spectators, 14th in the NBA.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim was selected third overall by the Grizzlies in the 1996 Draft. The Grizzlies also traded for Anthony Peeler and George Lynch from the Los Angeles Lakers on July 16, 1996. Abdur-Rahim made an immediate impact playing for the Grizzlies, becoming the team's leading scorer while setting a franchise record of 18.7 points per game (ppg). He finished third in balloting for the NBA Rookie of the Year and was picked for the NBA All-Rookie First Team. By the end of the 1996–97 season, Abdur-Rahim led the team in scoring on 33 occasions, rebounding on 23 occasions. Despite these acquisitions, Brian Winters was removed as head coach after 43 games of the 1996–97 season, and replaced for the remainder of the season by Stu Jackson. The Grizzlies went on to win only 14 games that season, again the worst in the whole league.

The 1997–98 season saw the hiring of Brian Hill as head coach. In the draft, Vancouver selected Antonio Daniels with the fourth pick. The team traded to get Otis Thorpe for the 2003 first-round draft pick and Sam Mack for Rodrick Rhodes. Both would play a single season for the Grizzlies. The team won 19 games, placing the sixth in the division, ahead of the Denver Nuggets, and 25th overall in the league.

Ahead of the 1998–99 Vancouver Grizzlies season, the Grizzlies signed free agent Cherokee Parks and traded Daniels for the Spurs' Felipe López and Carl Herrera. In the draft, the Grizzlies selected Mike Bibby with the second overall pick. During the 1998–99 season, Abdur-Rahim elevated his performance with 23.0 ppg, the highest season average of his career. Due to the 1998–99 NBA lockout, the season was reduced to only 50 games. As a result, the league's average attendance dropped that season. Vancouver actually registered a slight increase in attendance. This was despite the team finishing with 8 wins and 42 losses, yielding the all-time low winning percentage of .160.

The Grizzlies again had second pick in the 1999 draft. Despite having an all-star caliber point guard in Mike Bibby, they selected Steve Francis. He had hoped to be selected first by the Chicago Bulls, and his managers had several times indicated that he was not interested in playing in Vancouver. He relented and briefly considered joining the Grizzlies, but after an incident at the airport, his manager Jeffrey Fried started trying to get him traded. In what became the biggest deal till then in NBA history, involving eleven players and three teams, Francis and Tony Massenburg were sent to the Houston Rockets, Michael Smith, Lee Mayberry, Rodrick Rhodes and Makhtar N'Diaye were sent to Orlando Magic, while the Grizzlies received forwards Othella Harrington and Antoine Carr, guards Michael Dickerson and Brent Price, first- and second-round draft picks and cash. Francis would go on to win the Rookie of the Year Award, and was harassed both verbally and physically by fans when he played in Vancouver.

The 1999–2000 season saw Lionel Hollins take over as coach after 22 games, after Hill had only four wins. The season ended with 22 wins and 60 losses, placing the Grizzlies last in the division. The season also saw a large drop in attendance, averaging 13,899, ranking the team 27th in the league. Hollins was relieved as head coach following the 1999–2000 season. He would later serve two additional stints as head coach of the Grizzlies following their move to Memphis, thus making him head coach of the team on three occasions.

For the 2000–01 season, the team's final season in Vancouver, Sidney Lowe was hired as head coach. Forward Stromile Swift was selected as the second-overall pick in the draft. Despite finishing with a franchise-best 23 wins and 59 losses, the team still finished last in the division. The team's final home game at GM Place was against the Houston Rockets on April 14, 2001. The team's final game as the Vancouver Grizzlies was a 95–81 win against the Golden State Warriors on April 18, 2001.

Relocation to Memphis[]

Financially, the lockout that occurred in 1998 was the turning point for the team. Attendance plummeted from a league average of 16,108 in the 1997–98 season to 13,899 in the 1999–2000 season, which was the third-lowest in the league. Orca Bay started losing money on operations, in part because of a weak Canadian dollar.

Griffiths sold Orca Bay to Seattle-based John McCaw, Jr. in 1995 and 1996. In September 1999, McCaw announced the sale of the Grizzlies, but not the arena or the Canucks, to NHL's St. Louis Blues owner Bill Laurie for US$200 million. He stated that he intended to move the Grizzlies to St. Louis, but the transaction was stopped by the NBA.

Instead, McCaw sold the team to Chicago-based Michael Heisley for US$160 million. At the time he stated that he intended to keep the team in Vancouver, but immediately started a process to find a suitable relocation city in the US. Cities considered for relocation of the team included Memphis, Nashville, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Tampa, Anaheim, San Diego, Buffalo and Louisville. Despite the need for the construction of a new venue to house the team on a permanent basis, Memphis was announced as the recipient city (pending league approval).

The Vancouver Grizzlies applied to the NBA to relocate to Memphis, Tennessee on March 26, 2001, which was granted on July 3, 2001, leaving the Toronto Raptors as the only Canadian basketball team in the NBA. The team relocated following the 2000–01 season and were renamed the Memphis Grizzlies. After moving to Memphis, the team explored the possibility of changing “Grizzlies” to another name that better reflected the Memphis area. However, the community strongly supported the existing name. This is, primarily, because of the city’s proud history with a previous team, also named Memphis Grizzlies. The original Memphis Grizzlies franchise played in the semi-professional World Football League from 1974 to 1975. Memphis became the easternmost city in the Western Conference. In their first three seasons in Memphis, the Grizzlies played their home games at the Pyramid Arena.

The city of Memphis was previously represented by the Memphis Sounds of the American Basketball Association (ABA) from 1970 to 1975.

Memphis Grizzlies (2001–present)[]

MemphisGrizzlieslogo01-04

Memphis Grizzlies logo 2001–2004. Much of the Vancouver logo is retained, with the only difference being the city wordmark changed to Memphis.

2001–2007: The Pau Gasol era[]

Pau Gasol Grizzlies

Pau Gasol was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the third overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft, but was immediately traded to the Grizzlies.

In the 2001 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks drafted Pau Gasol as the 3rd overall pick, who was traded to the Grizzlies. After the Grizzlies' first season in Memphis, Gasol won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. The Grizzlies also drafted Shane Battier, who quickly became an unofficial spokesman for the team and a fan favorite. However, despite the strong draft class, general manager Billy Knight was let go. After Billy Knight's departure and the 2001–02 season, the team hired former Los Angeles Laker and Hall of Famer Jerry West as general manager in 2002, who later received the 2003-04 NBA Executive of the Year Award. After West's arrival the team was changed a great deal from Knight's team, with the removal of Sidney Lowe as head coach after a dismal 0–8 start to the season and a great deal of player movement, with players such as Mike Miller and James Posey becoming vital to the team's success. During the 2002–03 NBA season season, Hubie Brown was hired to coach the Grizzlies. Brown won the NBA Coach of the Year Award during the next season when the Grizzlies made the NBA playoffs for the first time in team history in the spring of 2004 as the sixth seed in the Western Conference in a drastic change from being perennially one of the worst teams in the NBA.

Memphis Grizzlies logo from 2004-2018.

Memphis Grizzlies logo 2004–2018.

However, Hubie Brown stepped down as head coach during the 2004–05 NBA season season. At the time of his resignation, the Grizzlies had a losing record but West was able to hire TNT analyst and former coach Mike Fratello to replace Brown. The Grizzlies' record markedly improved and the team advanced to the postseason for the second consecutive season. However, upon reaching the playoffs, the Grizzlies were once again swept out in the first round, this time by the Phoenix Suns. After this season, which ended tumultuously with anger between Fratello and many of the players, namely Bonzi Wells and Jason Williams, the team had an active 2005 offseason in which they revamped the team and added veteran talent. While the Grizzlies lost Bonzi Wells, Jason Williams, Stromile Swift, and James Posey, they acquired Damon Stoudamire, Bobby Jackson, Hakim Warrick, and Eddie Jones. They made the playoffs for the third consecutive year as well.

With their record they owned the fifth playoff seed in the Western Conference and would have to face the Dallas Mavericks, who swept the Grizzlies in 4 games.

Following the 2006 NBA Draft, Jerry West traded Shane Battier to the Houston Rockets for their first round pick Rudy Gay of the University of Connecticut and Stromile Swift. Before the 2006–07 NBA season, the Grizzlies suffered a crippling blow when Pau Gasol broke his left foot while playing for the Spain national basketball team in the World Championships. The Grizzlies started the season 5–17 without Gasol, and then went 1–7 while he was limited to about 25 minutes per game.[1] At that point, Fratello was fired and replaced by Tony Barone, Sr. as interim coach. Barone was the team's player personnel director and had never coached an NBA game though he had coached at the collegiate level for both Creighton and Texas A&M University being named coach of the year in their conferences three times during his tenure.

2007–2010: Rebuilding[]

MemphisGrizzliesClawLogo

The Grizzlies' alternate "claw" logo.

[2] The Grizzlies finished the 2006–07 season with the league's worst 22–60 record, and Jerry West announced resignation from his position as the team's general manager shortly after end of the regular season. The team also hired highly touted Phoenix Suns assistant Marc Iavaroni to be the team's new head coach. Despite their last place finish, the Grizzlies, who held the best chance of landing the first pick in a draft, ended up with the fourth pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. With this pick, the Grizzlies selected Mike Conley, Jr., a guard from Ohio State.

On June 18, 2007, the Grizzlies named former Boston Celtics GM Chris Wallace as the team's General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations, replacing the retired West.[3] A few days later, the Grizzlies hired former Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic head coach Johnny Davis, longtime NBA assistant coach Gordon Chiesa, and the head coach of the 2007 NBA Development League champion Dakota Wizards, David Joerger, as the team's new assistant coaches. Gene Bartow, a Memphis basketball legend, was named the Grizzlies' President of Basketball Operations on August 16, 2007.[4]

On February 1, 2008, Gasol was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, rights to Marc Gasol (Pau's younger brother), and 2008 and 2010 first round draft picks.[5][6]

On January 22, 2009, head coach Marc Iavaroni was fired and replaced on an interim basis by assistant coach Johnny Davis. To replace Iavaroni, Lionel Hollins was named the Grizzlies' head coach on January 25, 2009.[7]

On June 25, 2009, with the 2nd Overall pick in the NBA Draft, Memphis selected Tanzanian Center Hasheem Thabeet from the University of Connecticut, then selected DeMarre Carroll from the University of Missouri with the 27th overall pick.

On September 9, 2009, the Grizzlies Signed free agent Allen Iverson to a single year, $3.5 million deal. Iverson had been the subject of some controversy due to the nature of his previous season with the Detroit Pistons, though he stated that he was excited about helping the team, and believed "God chose Memphis as the place that I will continue my career." However, he only played in three games (none of them in Memphis) before leaving for "personal problems." He was then waived by the Grizzlies.[8]

Following Iverson's departure, the Grizzlies gradually improved. With new acquisition Zach Randolph playing at an all-star level, Marc Gasol's improvement and a commitment to defense, the Grizzlies were in playoff contention for much of the season, before finishing 10th in the West with a 40-42 record.

While in the playoff hunt in February 2011, the Grizzlies traded center Hasheem Thabeet, forward DeMarre Carroll, and a protected future first-round pick to the Houston Rockets for forward Shane Battier and guard Ishmael Smith. The Grizz also signed former Memphis Tigers standout Rodney Carney to a 10-day contract.

2010–2019: The "Grit and Grind" era[]

2010–2017: Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph era[]
GritandGrindGrizzlies

The 2010s era of the Grizzlies was known as "Grit and Grind", in reference to their style of basketball: disruptive defense through high pressure on the ball and their inside-out offense. This iteration of the team was led by players such as Tony Allen, Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, and Mike Conley Jr.

Going into the 2010–11 season, the Grizzlies celebrated the tenth year of basketball in Memphis. The season started with tremendous enthusiasm by the fan base in the Memphis area. Although the Grizzlies and their fans were celebrating the tenth season, the Grizzlies were also cheering for the eighth spot in the Western Conference Playoffs.

The team became known locally and nationally for its "Grit and Grind"-style of basketball which means disruptive defense through high pressure on the ball (they were the team with the most steals per game in 2010–11) and their inside-out offense (they were the highest scoring team in the paint also).

The Grizzlies then finally clinched their first playoff appearance in 5 years with a 101–96 home victory over the Sacramento Kings on April 8, 2011.[9] The Grizzlies achieved several firsts in franchise history during the 2011 NBA Playoffs. Entering the playoffs as an eighth seed, the team won their first playoff game in franchise history on April 17, 2011 with a 101–98 victory on the road against the top seeded San Antonio Spurs. Memphis then won their first home playoff game when they beat the Spurs 91–88 on April 23, 2011. Finally, on April 29, the team won their first playoff series when they beat the Spurs in game 6, 99–91 to win the series 4–2. This was only the fourth time in NBA history that an 8 seed defeated a 1 seed, and only the second time in a best-of-seven series (the first two were in a best-of-five series).[22] The Grizzlies' historic season came to an end after the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated them in game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Shane Battier, and Hamed Haddadi became free agents after the 2010-2011 season.

The team re-signed Marc Gasol, and Hamed Haddadi after the 2010–11 season.

The Grizzlies found their way back into the post-season for the second time in six years in the 2011–12 season after a 103–91 home victory over the New Orleans Hornets on April 18, 2012. They finished the 2011–12 season with a 41–25 record, fourth in the Western Conference. However, they were eliminated in the first round by the Los Angeles Clippers in seven games.

During the 2012 off-season, the Grizzlies drafted Tony Wroten with the 25th overall pick. Their biggest signing in effort to improve their bench was bringing in Jerryd Bayless. They also acquired Wayne Ellington from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Dante Cunningham.

On June 11, 2012, Michael Heisley reportedly had an agreement in principle to sell the Memphis Grizzlies to communications technology magnate Robert J. Pera, who at 34 had a spot on Forbes' 2012 list of the 10 youngest billionaires in the world. The purchase price was in the $350 million range. On August 23, 2012, Pera reached an agreement with a group of local partners including J.R. "Pitt" Hyde, Staley Cates, Ed Dobbs, Duncan Williams and Billy Orgel. On October 25, 2012, Robert Pera was officially approved as the owner of the Memphis Grizzlies. On November 4, 2012, Pera named Jason Levien the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of the Memphis Grizzlies. On December 13, 2012, ESPN announced that John Hollinger was hired by the Grizzlies as their new vice president of basketball operations.

On January 23, 2013, the Grizzlies acquired Jon Leuer from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby, and a future first-round pick. On January 30, 2013, the Grizzlies traded Rudy Gay and Hamed Haddadi to the Toronto Raptors in a three team deal also involving the Detroit Pistons. The Grizzlies acquired Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye from the Pistons and Ed Davis and a future second-round pick from the Raptors.

At the end of the season, Memphis finished with their best franchise record of 56–26, second in the division and as the fifth seed in the playoffs. Also, Marc Gasol was NBA Defensive Player of the Year. In the opening round, Memphis defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in six games after trailing in the series 0–2. This avenged their defeat from the previous year at the hands of the Clippers. Memphis then went on to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history when they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 4–1 in their semi-finals series. This was a rematch of their meeting in the 2011 NBA Playoffs, which the Thunder won in seven games. However, the Grizzlies' season ended in the conference finals as they were swept by the eventual conference champions, San Antonio Spurs, in yet another rematch/reversal from the 2011 NBA Playoffs.

The Grizzlies struggled to begin the 2013–14 season, starting out at 14–18 with Marc Gasol out, and entered the All-Star break with a win-loss record of 29–23. They went 21–9 after, finishing in third place in the Southwest division and in seventh place in the Western Conference with a win-loss record of 50–32, including a 14-game winning streak at FedExForum. They faced the Oklahoma City Thunder in the playoffs and had a record four straight overtimes from games 2–5, going 3–1 in the overtimes. The Grizzlies fell 4–3, despite an effort by Gasol in game 7 without Randolph after he was suspended for punching Thunder center Steven Adams in game 6.

On October 29, 2014, the Grizzlies defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 105–101 for the franchise's first victory in a season opener since 2000, the year before the team moved to Memphis.

In the 2014–15 season, the Grizzlies made the NBA playoffs as the fifth seed in the Western Conference. In the first round, the Grizzlies defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in five games. Games 4 and 5 were played without Mike Conley, who in Game 3 suffered multiple facial fractures in a collision with Blazers guard C. J. McCollum. In the second round, they found themselves facing off against the top seeded Golden State Warriors and MVP Stephen Curry. The Warriors took Game 1, and Conley returned in Game 2 to lead the Grizzlies to a 108–95 victory. Memphis took a 2–1 series lead before Golden State ultimately dispatched the Grizzlies in six games.

On April 1, 2016, the Grizzlies signed their 28th player for the season, an NBA record. On July 6, 2017, the team's management announced that Randolph's number 50 jersey would be retired in the future after he became a free agent, and eventually signed with the Sacramento Kings.

2017–2019: Decline[]

With the departures of Randolph and Allen, the 2017–18 Grizzlies missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2009–10 season, and tied their longest losing streak in franchise history near the end of the season with 19 straight losses from January 31 to March 17, 2018, while suffering from their worst loss in franchise history during the regular season on March 22, losing to the Charlotte Hornets 140–79, all with their point guard Mike Conley Jr. playing in all but 12 games due to being injured. The Grizzlies tried to be competitive again with Conley and others back in the beginning of the 2018–19 season, but were on the outside looking in as the trade deadline approached and they were standing at the 14th seed with a 22–33 record by February 5. The Grizzlies decided to move on from their two franchise players and the last remnants of the "Grit and Grind" era with Marc Gasol getting traded to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Jonas Valančiūnas, Delon Wright, C. J. Miles, and a 2024 second-round draft pick. After the season, on July 6, Mike Conley was traded to the Utah Jazz in exchange for Grayson Allen, Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder and the 23rd pick of the 2019 NBA draft.

2019–present: The Ja Morant era[]

Ja Morant

Ja Morant was selected by the Grizzlies with the second pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

After the end of the 2018–19 season, controlling owner Robert Pera announced a restructuring of the Grizzlies' basketball operations department: "In order to put our team on the path to sustainable success, it was necessary to change our approach to basketball operations". J. B. Bickerstaff was relieved from his duties as head coach and general manager Chris Wallace was reallocated to a role exclusively in player scouting. Jason Wexler was announced as Team President and Zachary Kleiman was promoted to general manager, as the Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations.

On June 12, 2019, the Grizzlies announced Taylor Jenkins as the team's new head coach.

With the second pick in the 2019 NBA draft, the Grizzlies selected Ja Morant. Additionally, they received Brandon Clarke after he was selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the 21st pick, and then immediately traded to the Grizzlies for the 23rd pick (via the Utah Jazz) and the Grizzlies' 2024 second-round pick.

Morant would go on to be named Rookie of the Year in 2020.

Following the suspension of the 2019–20 NBA season, the Grizzlies were one of the 22 teams invited to the NBA Bubble to participate in the final eight games of the regular season. They finished in ninth place in the Western Conference and had a chance to make it to the 2020 NBA playoffs, needing to win two games against the Portland Trail Blazers to advance. In the first and only play-in game of the playoffs, the Trail Blazers defeated the Grizzlies 126–122.

In the 2020–21 season, the Grizzlies finished the regular season with a 38–34 record. The Grizzlies were part of the Play-in tournament, where they defeated the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors to secure the No. 8 seed of the Western Conference. In the playoffs, the Grizzlies lost to the top-seeded Utah Jazz in five games in the first round.

The Grizzlies saw greater success in the following 2021–22 NBA season. On December 2, 2021, the Grizzlies defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 152–79, setting a new record for largest margin of victory in NBA history at 73 points. The previous record was 68 points, when the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Miami Heat 148–80 on December 17, 1991. Team star Ja Morant became the first player in Grizzlies history to be named a starter for the All-Star Game when his selection for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game was announced on January 27, 2022. By the All-Star break, the Grizzlies had recorded a record of 41–19, good for 3rd place in the West.

On March 30, 2022, the Grizzlies clinched their first division title in franchise history and the Western Conference's second seed, their highest ever seeding placement, when they defeated the San Antonio Spurs 112–111 on the road to claim their 54th win of the season, ensuring that they would finish with the best record in the Southwest Division, en route to winning their first division title in franchise history. The Grizzlies finished the regular season with a record of 56–26, good enough for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, their highest placement in franchise history.

In the playoffs, the Grizzlies defeated the 7th seeded Minnesota Timberwolves in six games in the first round, winning their first playoff series since 2015. They advanced to the semifinals, where they faced off against the 3rd-seeded Golden State Warriors. The two teams previously met in the semifinals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs, with the Warriors winning in six games en route to winning their first NBA championship in 40 years. Just like in their previous playoff meeting, the Grizzlies would go on to lose to the eventual NBA champion Warriors in six games.

In the 2022–23 NBA season, the Grizzlies qualified for the playoff for the third consecutive season and won the Southwest division title for the second consecutive season. The Grizzlies finished the season with a 51–31 record, clinching the second seed in the Western Conference. In the playoffs however, the Grizzlies were upset by the seventh-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the first round.

Season-by-season records[]

Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, % = Percentage

Season W L % Playoffs Results
Vancouver Grizzlies
1995-96 15 67 .183
1996-97 14 68 .171
1997-98 19 63 .232
1998-99 8 42 .160
1999-00 22 60 .268
2000-01 23 59 .280
Memphis Grizzlies
2001-02 23 59 .280
2002-03 28 54 .341
2003-04 50 32 .610 Lost First Round San Antonio 4, Memphis 0
2004-05 45 37 .549 Lost First Round Phoenix 4, Memphis 0
2005-06 49 33 .598 Lost First Round Dallas 4, Memphis 0
2006-07 22 60 .268
2007-08 22 60 .268
2008-09 24 58 .293
2009-10 40 42 .488
2010-11 46 36 .561 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Memphis 4, San Antonio 2
Oklahoma City 4, Memphis 3
2011-12 41 25 .621 Lost First Round LA Clippers 4, Memphis 2
2012-13 56 26 .683 Won First Round
Won Conference Semifinals
Lost Conference Finals
Memphis 4, LA Clippers 2
Memphis 4, Oklahoma City 1
San Antonio 4, Memphis 0
2013-14 50 32 .610 Lost First Round Oklahoma City 4, Memphis 3
2014-15 55 27 .671 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Memphis 4, Portland 1
Golden State 4, Memphis 2
2015-16 42 40 .512 Lost First Round San Antonio 4, Memphis 0
2016-17 43 39 .524 Lost First Round San Antonio 4, Memphis 2
2017-18 22 60 .268
2018-19 33 49 .402
2019-20 34 39 .485 Lost Play-in game for No. 8 seed Portland 126, Memphis 122
2020-21 38 34 .528 Won Play-in game to advance to No. 8 seed game
Won Play-in game for No. 8 seed
Lost First Round
Memphis 100, San Antonio 96
Memphis 117, Golden State 112 (OT)
Utah 4, Memphis 1
2021-22 56 26 .683 Won First Round
Lost Conference Semifinals
Memphis 4, Minnesota 2
Golden State 4, Memphis 2
2022-23 51 31 .622 Lost First Round LA Lakers 4, Memphis 2
2023-24 27 55 .329
Totals 792 1128 .413
Playoffs 29 46 .386 0 Championships

Players[]

Current Roster[]

Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY-MM-DD) From
F 7 Aldama, Santi Injured 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 2001-01-10 Loyola (MD)
G 22 Bane, Desmond Injured 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1998-06-25 TCU
F 15 Clarke, Brandon Injured 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1996-09-19 Gonzaga
G 4 Goodwin, Jordan (TW) 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1998-10-23 St. Louis
F 45 Jackson, GG 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 2004-12-17 South Carolina
F/C 13 Jackson, Jaren, Jr. Injured 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 242 lb (110 kg) 1999-09-15 Michigan State
C 55 Jemison, Trey III (TW) 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 260 lb (118 kg) 1999-11-28 UAB
G 10 Kennard, Luke Injured 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 206 lb (93 kg) 1996-06-24 Duke
G/F 46 Konchar, John Injured 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1996-03-22 Purdue Fort Wayne
F 3 LaRavia, Jake 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 235 lb (107 kg) 2001-11-03 Wake Forest
G 12 Morant, Ja Injured 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 174 lb (79 kg) 1999-08-10 Murray State
G 1 Pippen, Scotty Jr. (TW) 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 2000-11-10 Vanderbilt
G 23 Rose, Derrick Injured 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1988-10-04 Memphis
G 36 Smart, Marcus Injured 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1994-03-06 Oklahoma State
F/C 24 Stevens, Lamar 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1997-07-09 Penn State
F 18 Watanabe, Yuta 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1994-10-13 George Washington
F 5 Williams, Vince Jr. 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 2000-08-30 VCU
F 8 Williams, Ziaire 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 2001-09-12 Stanford
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • (GL) On assignment to G League affiliate
  • (TW) Two-way affiliate player
  • Injured Injured

Roster
Last transaction: April 19, 2024


Retired numbers[]

Memphis Grizzlies retired numbers
No. Player Position Tenure
6 Bill Russell N/A Retired across NBA on August 11, 2022
50 Zach Randolph PF 2009–2017
MIC Don Poier Broadcaster 1995–2005

The Grizzlies originally planned to retire Tony Allen's no. 9 jersey on January 28, 2022. However, in November 2021, the ceremony was postponed at the request of Allen.

After trading Marc Gasol to the Toronto Raptors during the 2018–19 season's trade deadline, the team announced that Gasol's no. 33 would be retired. After trading Mike Conley Jr. to the Utah Jazz during the 2019 offseason, the team announced they would retire Conley Jr.'s no. 11.

Franchise and NBA records[]

Career statistical leaders[]

Per game statistical leaders[]

Individual awards[]

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NBA Rookie of the Year

NBA Coach of the Year

NBA Executive of the Year

NBA Sixth Man of the Year

  • Mike Miller–2006

NBA Sportsmanship Award

NBA Teammate of the Year

NBA All-Stars

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Television and radio[]

The Grizzles appear on television on the cable channel SportSouth, owned and operated by Fox Sports Net as a sister station to Fox Sports Tennessee. The TV crew is Pete Pranica on commentary, Brevin Knight or Sean Tuohy on color analysis, and Rob Fischer on sideline reporting.

On radio, the Grizzlies are heard on WRBO 103.5 FM. The radio crew is Eric Hasseltine on commentary, and Hank McDowell and Elliot Perry on analysis.

Staff[]

Head coaches[]

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General managers[]

  • Stu Jackson – 1994–2000
  • Billy Knight – 2000–2002
  • Dick Versace – 2002–2005
  • Jerry West – 2005–2007
  • Chris Wallace – 2007–2019
  • Jason Wexler – 2019–present

References[]

External links[]

NEW

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Commissioners
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