Watson signed an offer sheet with the Grizzlies on July 19, leaving the Seattle SuperSonics 15 days from the date received to match the terms. The Sonics chose not to match the offer.
Terms of Watson's deal were not disclosed, but he reportedly signed a three-year deal worth $4 million.
"I am excited about the opportunity to play for the Grizzlies for several reasons," Watson said. "I grew up in Kansas City, which is close to Memphis, and I consider it a privilege to have
a chance to play for West."
The 6-1 point guard from UCLA averaged 3.6 points and 2.0 assists in 15.1 minutes per game, exclusively as a rookie reserve, in his one NBA season with Seattle. He ranked fourth in the NBA in steal per turnover ratio (1.18), and scored a
season-high 14 points in a Dec. 11, 2001 game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
"We feel that Earl is a tough, hard-nosed player who is dedicated to becoming an impact player in this league," West said. "He had an impressive college career at UCLA and a good rookie season in Seattle, and he will add quality depth to our point guard position."
Watson started in 129 games at UCLA, breaking the school record for career starts (127) previously held by Don MacLean (1989-92). As a senior, he was named all Pac-10 and ranked
second on the team in scoring (14.7 per game) and first in assists (5.2) and steals (1.9).