Marreese Speights set to re-sign with Grizzlies

Late Thursday night the Memphis Grizzlies and restricted free agent center Marreese Speights agreed in principle on a two-year deal that can be signed when NBA restrictions are lifted on July 11, according to multiple reports.

The two-year contract is said to be worth approximately $8 million with the second year of the deal being a player option that Speights can exercise following the upcoming season.

He began his career by spending three full seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers – the team that selected him with the 16th overall pick in the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft – but both sides were looking for a split following the 2010-11 season.

Coming off a serious MCL injury just one year earlier, Speights and then-new head coach Doug Collins clashed constantly two seasons ago as the player saw a career-low 11.5 minutes per contest on average and would often be a healthy scratch for games even after posting solid numbers just one night earlier.

“It was so inconsistent that I never knew how to prepare for the game because I never knew if I was going to get in or not,” he told OGGOA in May 2011. “It was hard for me to prepare myself…I might have a good game one game and then come back and play three minutes and then after that [I would not play] for three games and then come back and play 15 minutes. It was the whole year – inconsistent. I feel like if I can get in there, I’ll produce. That’s how I’ve been my whole career.”

Speights did exactly that last season after being traded by Philadelphia to Memphis as part of a three-way deal four games into the season. He started 54 of 60 games last year (he had only started four combined the three prior years), averaged 22.4 minutes per contest and notched a career-high 6.2 rebounds most of the time playing in place of injured C Zach Randolph.

Speights scored double-digit points 25 times in the regular season, posted a career-high 25 points in a career-high 49 minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers on March 13, and registered seven double-doubles including a career-best 18 boards on February 15.

He saw fewer minutes once Randolph returned but was still an effective player for the Grizzlies, which is why the team saw value in agreeing to re-sign him this season.

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