In a surprising transaction today, the Memphis Grizzlies signed JaKarr Sampson to a deal, Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace announced today. Terms of the deal were not disclosed at this point.
The Memphis Grizzlies have signed JaKarr Sampson and waived Kellen Dunham, the team announced.— Clevis Murray (@ClevisMurray) October 21, 2016
At one point, Sampson was considered a frontrunner for the 15th spot on the Denver Nuggets roster with Axel Toupane, but the team decided to go in a different direction, releasing Sampson, Toupane, and D.J. Kennedy on October 15th. Jarnell Stokes, Nate Wolters, and Robbie Hummel were the players on the floor during the preseason, and it was clear that Sampson wasn’t going to make the roster.
Sampson gets another chance on an NBA roster in Memphis, which is absolutely perfect. Sampson is a grinder, a physical player who makes his mark on the defensive end, doing the dirty work rebounding, and running on the fast break. He simply wears opposing players out while on the court.
What better place to go for Sampson than the team dubbed “The Grindhouse”? With Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Zach Randolph, and Marc Gasol already in place, Sampson will continue to learn from one of the most defensively physical teams in the NBA. He’s never been the most offensively minded player, but hey, neither have the Grizzlies as a team.
Sampson averages 5.2 points and 2.4 rebounds in 15.6 minutes per game over the course of his two year career. His role likely won’t increase in Memphis, but given the high potential for injury to some of the players at his position (Tony Allen, Chandler Parsons, Vince Carter), it’s quite possible that Sampson finds a niche on the Grizzlies. His 6’9 frame will certainly help.