Memphis Grizzlies general manager Zach Kleiman was named NBA Executive of the Year this season, but the upcoming offseasonwill mark his toughest challenge since stepping into his role in 2019.

The Grizzlies face at least four key personnel decisions that will determine whether the core of a roster that won finished second in the regular season stays intact. Kleiman said owner Robert Pera will spend whatever is needed to retain the players the franchise wants.

“We’re not worried about small market notions or any of this or that,” Kleiman said. “We’re not going to have any issue whatsoever keeping together whoever we ultimately decide along the way as we continue to prioritize continuity.”

One decision is a no-brainer. Ja Morant assured he’ll sign his rookie max extension that’s worth at least $ 186 million over five years. If Morant makes his second All-NBA team next season, the contract becomes a supermax extension worth $ 223 million.

How much will it cost to keep Memphis Grizzlies' roster together?

But what can the Grizzlies offer Tyus Jones and Kyle Anderson, both unrestricted free agents? How much will Brandon Clarke’s rookie extension be worth, knowing that if Desmond Bane maintains his production next season, Bane could receive a max extension in 2023?

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Keith Smith, an NBA salary cap analyst for Spotrac, a website that details sports salary information, broke down the likely contracts costs for Jones, Anderson and Clarke in an interview with The Commercial Appeal.

PF Brandon Clarke

May 1, 2022;  Memphis, Tennessee, USA;  Memphis Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke (15) dunks the ball against the Golden State Warriors during game one of the second round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at FedExForum.  Mandatory Credit: Joe Rondone-USA TODAY Sports

SMITH: I think the challenge with Clarke is first answering this: Is he the guy whose jump shot regressed over Years 2 and 3 and kind of stagnated in the regular season? Or is the guy who was a big part of the team’s playoff success? If you think he’s the second, and you think the jumper might show the promise it showed in his rookie year, a 4-year, $ 48 million extension seems fair.

That’s roughly what Robert Williams IIIof the Celtics got, and they are similar-ish players. Williams has more upside because of his ability to be a premier backline defender, but Clarke could / should be a better offensive player. Plus, you have to be careful not to get too top-heavy roster-wise with a bunch of guys on max deals and everyone else on minimum deals or short-term deals via exceptions.

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PG Tyus Jones

SMITH: I think Jones is the best backup point guard in the game. If the Grizzlies wanted to do just a two-year deal, I assume two years, 20 million is the starting point. I wouldn’t be surprised if it climbed a little bit higher. I’d actually have no issue if Memphis wanted to invest something like four years, 40 million in Jones.

I think there is a chance that Ja Morant misses a chunk of time each season, given the way he plays and his slight build. I’d want to be covered if / when that happens, and no one provides better cover for that than Jones.

SF Kyle Anderson

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) guards Memphis Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson (1) as he shoots the ball during the first half of game four of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs Saturday, April 23, 2022, at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn.  The Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 119-118.

SMITH: Anderson seems like the guy the Grizzlies are most likely to lose. Maybe it’s not this summer, because the market is so tight and he’s clearly important to the team. Given the growth you hope to see from Clarke and (rookie) Ziaire Williams, I wouldn’t do more than a two-year deal with Anderson. If they can do something like two years, 20 million at the top end, that’s fine.

Even if they went a touch higher and did like two years, $ 24 million, but the second year was nonguaranteed or a team option, that would work. You just can’t lock in on a guy like Anderson, given the roster makeup as it is, the younger guys behind him and his age (28).

What it means

The Grizzlies have 12 players under contract next season. If Jones and Anderson leave, the team has just under $ 20 million in cap space this offseason, which makes them key players in free agency.

Based on Smith’s analysis, keeping Jones or Anderson still gives the Grizzlies 10 million in cap space. However, signing both removes that option and signals the team could explore potential trades or trusts this roster to repeat its success from this season.

If the Grizzlies keep Jones, Anderson and their two-first round picks, which would make a combined $ 4.8 million in 2022-23, they’ll be over the projected salary cap of $ 122 million. It allows them to have a $ 10.3 million midlevel exception and a $ 4.1 biannual exception to use on free agents, but with 16 players under contract, it’s unlikely that’ll be in play.

As for Clarke, he’s been a valuable sixth man, but is he worth $ 12 million a year? He’s arguably a top-10 player in his draft class and brings valuable energy around the rim. However, the Grizzlies could delay his extension and explore his trade value the same way they might with Dillon Brooks.

Continuity may be a priority for Kleiman and Pera, but it’s not cheap. It’s risky and their decisions on Jones and Anderson won’t just affect next season, but how the Grizzlies improve their fortunes over the next two to three years.

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You can reach Evan Barnes on Twitter (VanEvan_B) or by email at evan.barnes@commercialappeal.com

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