Mario Chalmers hinted at it on his Instagram account, and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN confirmed it minutes later. Mario Chalmers is back with the Memphis Grizzlies.
ummmmm, Chalmers back? Just on instagram... pic.twitter.com/41819T5QSV— Chris Vernon (@ChrisVernonShow) July 19, 2017
Free agent guard Mario Chalmers is finalizing a one-year, partially guaranteed deal with the Memphis Grizzlies, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 19, 2017
Chalmers last played in the NBA during the 2015-2016 NBA season, where he was traded from the Miami Heat to the Grizzlies. In 55 games for Memphis Chalmers shot 41.7% from the floor and 32.6% from three while posting a +5 net rating. Grizzlies fans came to love Chalmers for his flare for the dramatic, and the fact that Memphis has had issues with back-up point guard play in the past. Chalmers solved that issue...until he tore his Achilles Tendon, leading to the Grizzlies waiving him during their injury-riddled season from hell.
The Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace and his front office have made it clear that they are willing to take risks to try to build a roster around Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. Ben McLemore, Tyreke Evans, multiple 2nd round picks the past two seasons, and now the return of Chalmers, coming back to Memphis 16 months after his catastrophic injury, are mounting evidence of that. What Chalmers is able to do at this stage of his career is uncertain - the partial guarantee on the one-year deal is evidence of that. Memphis could still theoretically waive Mario before the season begins if he is unable to perform.
But Memphis is now at 18 players on the roster (assuming JaMychal Green returns and Tony Allen doesn’t). Only 15 allowed to be on the main squad for the whole season, plus two two-way contracts with the G-League’s Memphis Hustle, one of which has already been signed by Kobi Simmons. The Grizzlies roster cannot be finalized yet, and where Wallace makes moves bears watching. Bringing in Chalmers does not speak well to the amount of confidence that the front office has in Wade Baldwin IV, at least in the immediate future. And what does this mean for Ivan Rabb and Dillon Brooks? Surely it isn’t possible that two players that assets were given up for to acquire in the 2017 NBA Draft wouldn’t make the Grizzlies roster...right?
Just when you think you have some answers, the Grizzlies seem to change the questions.