The 1996–97 NBA season was the Grizzlies' second season in the National Basketball Association. Coming off of an NBA worst record of 15–67 in their first season, the Grizzlies acquired Anthony Peeler and George Lynch from the Los Angeles Lakers, and signed free agent Lee Mayberry during the offseason. However, they continued to struggle in their second season losing their first seven games as head coach Brian Winters was fired after an 8–35 start, and was replaced with General Manager Stu Jackson. The Grizzlies then suffered a 15-game losing streak between February and March, finishing last place in the Midwest Division with a league worst record of 14–68, their worst record in franchise history. Top draft pick Shareef Abdur-Rahim led the Grizzlies with 18.7 points per game and made the All-Rookie First Team. Second-year star Bryant Reeves showed improvement averaging 16.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Following the season, Greg Anthony signed as a free agent with the Seattle SuperSonics, and Jackson was fired as coach.
The Grizzlies would open the season with a seven-game losing streak before earning their first win, as they defeated the Phoenix Suns 92–89 in their eighth game. Wins would be few and far between for Vancouver, as they finished the season with a 14–68 record, which was one game worse than their expansion season. The Grizzlies also once again finished in last place in the league.
The Grizzlies swept a season series for the first time in team history, as they won both of their games against the Boston Celtics. The win against the Celtics was also the only time the Grizzlies won consecutive games during the season, as they defeated the San Antonio Spurs the previous game.
Vancouver scored a season high 121 points in their final game of the season, as they defeated the Phoenix Suns 121–107.
Vancouver would make a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers, as the Grizzlies would acquire Anthony Peeler and George Lynch along with the Lakers second round draft choices in 1997 and 1998 for Vancouver's second round draft choices in 1997 and 1998. Peeler would start 57 games for the Grizzlies in the 1996–97 season and finish third in team scoring averaging 14.5 points per game.