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Report: Mario Chalmers close to return to basketball

Is Memphis a possible destination?

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies have two inexperienced point guards backing up Mike Conley in Andrew Harrison and Wade Baldwin. Their bench is a little bit thin, inexperienced, and overly dependent on Vince Carter. As the Grizzlies get off to a slow start, if only there was a player available that could solve this problem- that knows the city, knows the team, and has shown the ability to produce in the past for Memphis...

Enter, perhaps, a familiar face: Mario Chalmers.

Chalmers told the Associated Press that he is going to be cleared for “full basketball activity” as soon as this week, and he believes he could be back on the court after Thanksgiving.

From the Chalmers interview, which you can read in full here-

"Right now, I can pretty much do everything," Chalmers said. "I've been on the court the last two, three months just working on getting back. I'm back to sprinting, running and jumping."

As Grizzlies fans remember well, the last time Chalmers was running and jumping and sprinting was in Memphis, having a tremendous season early for the Grizzlies and giving Grizzlies fans hope that he could somehow fill some of the void left by Marc Gasol and Mike Conley having injury issues. Then, he ruptured his Achilles Tendon and Memphis had to waive him in March just to have a roster spot on their way to playing a historic 28 players while still making the postseason.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Memphis Grizzlies
Rio could only look on post-injury after being waived by Memphis for a roster spot.
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Chalmers would be extremely helpful to the Grizzlies, perhaps even a starter on the wing, but is a return that likely? The Grizzlies would have to somehow part with another guaranteed contract to sign Chalmers, likely by either waiving a player (like the young Harrison, who while struggling a good bit so far this season clearly Head Coach David Fizdale sees value in) or in a 2-for-1 trade with someone with an open roster spot. Not many teams have those at this stage in the season.

Plus, Chalmers, who knows he is playing for his next contract and is not going to see much money in 2016-2017, is looking to play for a title contender. Memphis has not looked like a contender as the season has begun, and signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers and old friend LeBron James, for example, would maybe make more sense for Chalmers.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

But Rio has been in Memphis a few times during his recovery, and his role in Memphis would be guaranteed, with plenty of opportunities for minutes to show how well his recovery has (or hasn’t) gone on his way to his next contract, whether it would be with the Grizzlies or not. Chalmers also has a great relationship with Fizdale from back in their Miami days- surely that could play a part in Chalmers’ decision.

Could the Grizzlies signature pre-trade deadline move that they seem to make every season now involve the return of the formerly hated Kansas Jayhawk to Memphis? Only time will tell. Whether Chalmers comes back to the Bluff City or not, the news that he is close to a return at all after such a devastating injury just eight months later is great to hear.

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