The Memphis Grizzlies signed forward JaKarr Sampson and released guard Kellen Dunham on Friday afternoon. The move now brings the Memphis roster to 20 players with their season opener coming on Wednesday night at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Sampson started 40 NBA games last season between his time with the Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets, averaging 5.1 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. He first broke into the league with the 76ers after going un-drafted in the 2014 NBA Draft and starring for Philadelphia’s Summer League team.
For his first three years of high school, Sampson attended St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High School in Akron, made famous of alumni, LeBron James. In 2013, Sampson was named the Big East’s Rookie of the Year as a member of the St. John’s Red Storm. Following his sophomore season, he declared for the NBA Draft.
Just a day after signing with the Grizzlies, Kellen Dunham was let go. He played for Memphis’ Summer League team, but averaged just 2.0 points and 1.0 rebounds per game. Coming off an honorable mention All-Big East season, the high-volume scoring guard from Butler who was once a First Team All-Big East selection looked to be the next Butler Bulldog to make the jump to the NBA, but now finds himself a free agent once again.
In head coach David Fizdale’s first season at the helm, Memphis has a deep roster that still needs trimming. What may play into Sampson’s favor is that starting small forward Chandler Parsons is still on the mend from knee surgery, which means Troy Williams and Vince Carter are the current likely favorites to see minutes at the small forward position.