Update: Allen, who had a minor operation this offseason to repair cartilage in his left knee, is back on the court and expects to be available for Memphis’ season opener, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports.
One of the last NBA players to hit the free-agent market was also one of the first to fly off the shelves once the signing period officially began. As first reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.com, former Toronto Raptor Jerryd Bayless has agreed to terms with the Memphis Grizzlies, making for an immediate, cost-effective replacement for the outgoing O.J. Mayo.
The Grizz have done a fantastic job of complementing their core with affordable, productive role players over the last few seasons, and Bayless fits that mold perfectly. Last season’s numbers may not have been a completely fair representation of Bayless’ value, but he was noticeably more in control relative to seasons past, and that newfound discretion and balance rounded out his overall game nicely.
That apparently wasn’t enough to sell a free-agent suitor on a more sizeable deal, but Bayless’ arrangement with the Grizzlies is pretty terrific for all parties involved. Memphis gets its reserve scorer and ball-handler at a perfectly reasonable cost, and per Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, his deal will be for $3 million this season with a player option for the 2013-2014 season.
That may not be the long-term, guaranteed payday that any free agent would hope for, but it gets Bayless a decent salary in a prime role for a good team and the freedom to either hit the market again or regroup next time around. That’s a nice arrangement for a player like Bayless, who could very well be due for a climb or a trip back down to earth; if nothing else, he’s able to pull in two years of solid salary off the deal in place, yet he still has the free-agent mobility to grab a better deal next summer.
Bayless could actually pan out to be a more palatable contributor than Mayo in many ways, though Memphis undoubtedly suffers a bit of a defensive drop-off. Bayless works hard and tries to stay in front of his man, but his burst speed doesn’t perfectly translate to lateral movement, and his instincts aren’t totally in line with team-serving defensive strategy.
Mayo is a flawed player, but he was one of the Grizzlies’ better perimeter defenders and proved capable of spelling Tony Allen and Mike Conley of their difficult assignments for stretches. Expecting Bayless to take up that role would be expecting a fair bit too much, but he should be more than comfortable in his own as Memphis’ newly acquired source of instant offense.
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Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports via Twitter that the Grizzlies will not extend a qualifying offer to Mayo, making the fourth-year guard an unrestricted free agent.
Griz issue qualifying offers to Arthur, Speights, making them RFA. Won’t issue QO to Mayo or Hudson. CA story coming…
— Commercial Appeal (@CAGrizBlog) June 29, 2012
That also means Memphis won’t be able to match an offer for Mayo, whom they drafted with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2008 draft.
With Mayo likely on his way out of Memphis, here’s a look at the five best fits for the former USC Trojan.
They didn’t address that need during the draft, but you would have to think acquiring some scoring at the point position will be a main priority in the offseason.
Chicago will need to shed some salary first, but adding a competent shooting guard is a must.
The Nets could possibly lose both Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace and get nothing in return.
Starting over and adding younger talent then be the logical way to go for the Nets, and while he hasn’t been great so far in the NBA, Mayo is only 24 and has averaged 15.2 points per game in his career.
He’s someone the Nets could have their eye on, and the team have the money to spend as they have only $10.17 million on the books in guaranteed contracts right now for next season..
Speaking of money to spend, the Pacers have only $36 million on their books, and Mayo is a player that they’ve tried to acquire multiple times in the past.
Indiana could use some scoring punch off the bench, and Mayo is a guy that could provide that.
Minnesota would have to let Michael Beasley walk before they can address production at the guard position.
Minnesota needs shooting, and Mayo is a guy that has shot 43.3 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent from behind the arc.
The Celtics will have cap room and need to add some depth.
One of the problems in 2012 was the lack of depth, and eventually it caused their veterans to run out of steam.
There are worse options out there than Mayo, and for a team that wants to remain competitive in the Eastern Conference, adding some bench scoring is a must.
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The Golden State Warriors must use their four draft picks to land a missing link on draft day. Whether it come via trade or lottery selection, the Warriors have to find an elite small forward for next season.
The Warriros could do just that, according to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle.
The team is considering a number of options for its four draft picks, according to Warriors and league sources, including trading some or all of them for a current NBA starter such as Andre Iguodala, trading up in the draft to get a top-five prospect like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or even moving back in the draft to secure future assets.
Michael Kidd- Gilchrist is the best-case scenario. He, or Harrison Barnes, will require Golden State to move up from No. 7 into the top five.
Simmons speaks to that as well.
The Warriors ideally would like to deal the No. 7 pick, one of their selections in the 30s and Dorell Wright for an upgrade at small forward. Then, they could use the remaining pick (No. 30 or 35) on a big man, like St. Bonaventure’s Andrew Nicholson, and have the mid-level exception to offer an experienced free-agent point guard.
The Warriors are not far away from making noise in the Western Conference.
Stephen Curry (health permitting) is a budding star at point guard, Klay Thompson proved himself to be a valuable sharpshooter after Monta Ellis was traded last season and Andrew Bogut (also health permitting) is an underrated presence in the middle. David Lee adds his two cents as well.
Now Golden State just has to find that attacker on the wing. They need a player to create mismatches and attack the rim. This will free up everyone else, and it could make the Warriors one of the NBA’s most exciting teams next season.
Let’s take a look at the Warriors’ options through trade, and who they could select if they stand pat at No. 7.
We already mentioned Iguodala, but the options do not stop there.
According to Simmons, the Warriors have expressed interest in Nicolas Batum, Luol Deng, Josh Smith, Rudy Gay and Danny Granger.
I can’t see Indiana moving Granger for a lottery selection, but the other players could certainly be available for the right price.
According to Mike McGraw of the Chicago Daily Herald (subscription required), luxury tax concerns could force the Bulls to part ways with Deng. Whether or not the Warriors want to pay his $28 million over the next two seasons is another issue.
But he is talented, and he would fill the Warriors’ most immediate need.
Whether these players are actually on the table or not, the Warriors must pursue them. Each player fills a definitive need.
In my opinion, Iguodala makes the most sense. He is an excellent veteran defender and the price matches up. Allowing “Iggy” to play a complementary role, rather than be a star, would help his production.
Golden State must keep every option on the table until David Stern calls their name on draft day.
What If They Stay Put?
I understand why the Warriors do not want to add four rookies to an already young team. That makes sense, and it isn’t the way to compete in the Western Conference.
But what if they held No. 7, drafted Terrence Jones and let the rest of their chips fall where they may. Other deals could be made later, but Jones could fill their need without having to give up anything.
The Warriors want an established player to pair with their inexperienced team, but Jones is extremely talented.
He can play both forward spots, rebounds well and has excellent range. His strength (6’9”, 245 pounds) and wingspan (7’2”) create problems for opponents, and he’s athletic to boot.
Jones’ attitude creates mixed opinions, but on paper he is an elite prospect. He has a unique skill set, and he could flourish in the NBA.
One last thing, and I know I’ve harped on Golden State’s needs on the wing.
But what if they sat at No. 7 and took Andre Drummond. He may not be there, but he would be another intriguing possibility.
They traded Ekpe Udoh to Milwaukee as part of the Ellis deal this season. Drummond would have time to sit and learn behind Lee and Bogut, but he would also provide insurance for the oft-injured Australian.
The bottom line is the Warriors have a multitude of options. If they make savvy choices on draft day, they will be in a very good position heading into next season.
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After blowing a 27-point lead at home to the Los Angeles Clippers in Sunday night’s stunning Game 1 loss, the Memphis Grizzlies had to face some restless natives. Point guard Mike Conley told the Memphis Commercial Appeal that he heard about the loss “everywhere … Restaurants, the gas station, the dry cleaner.” It must have been a tough few days; few things are worse than feeling like your support system’s lost faith in you.
The fans at the Grindhouse do have these Grizzlies’ backs, though, as we learned during Memphis’ series-leveling 105-98 win on Wednesday night. And sometimes, as center Marc Gasol learned after hitting the deck to save a loose ball on the sideline in the first quarter, they have a funny way of showing it.
Man, it must be great to have front-row seats. You’re such a part of the action that you can literally reach out and put two fingers in the center area of a player’s hindparts , and apparently suffer no repercussions for that behavior (because it isn’t a violation) if you really wanted to. And who wouldn’t want to? I can’t think of a single good reason that you wouldn’t want to place two fingers on the lower-middle region of the back of Marc Gasol’s shorts. What would be wrong, weird or uncomfortable about that, for either party? Nothing, that’s what.
After Arenas worked out with the Los Angeles Lakers and the team decided to pass on signing him, there were questions about how much he might have left in the tank despite making a “positive impression,” according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Two sources familiar with the workout said Arenas moved well and made a positive impression, but there was no sense of how quickly—if at all—the Lakers would pursue signing him to a free-agent contract.
Arenas has a bad rap among a great deal of fans for how the recent seasons of his career have gone.
After being traded to the Orlando Magic in 2011, Arenas struggled to adjust and turned in meager averages of 8.0 points and 3.2 assists on just 34.4 percent shooting.
Some simply wrote it off as Arenas being washed up, but that wasn’t the whole story.
After Orlando used its amnesty clause to rid the team of Arenas and his behemoth contract before this season began, the point guard went off the grid in order to get his health in order.
In fact, Arenas got that “Kobe treatment” on his knees, according to ex-teammate Nick Young (via Truth About It).
“Yea, he’s been working out. He said he got the—I don’t know if I’m supposed to say this—but he got that Kobe treatment on his knees.
“Yea, yea…you could say it’s the Kobe System, but he said it feels great, his knees feel great, and he’s been working out. When I seen him last time, he looked like he was in shape. He lost a lot of weight.”
After Arenas worked out for the Lakers, we didn’t hear much from him.
He did a lengthy interview with Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated (a must-read for any basketball fan) and opened up quite a bit about his recent struggles in the league and what was next for him, but we didn’t hear much about potential landing spots for the veteran point guard.
Following a workout for the Memphis Grizzlies, the team is expected to sign him to serve as a backup behind Mike Conley.
Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal has the latest on Arenas joining the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies, meanwhile, had already spent quality time with Arenas and now are on the verge of signing the 10-year veteran to a deal for the rest of this season, according to sources close to the process.
Arenas, 30, appeared slender and shot the ball well during the workout. Arenas only needed to pass a physical he was scheduled to take Monday afternoon and agree to a prorated veteran’s minimum contract requiring the Griz to pay about $300,000.
According to Tillery, Arenas declined to comment when a reporter approached him following the workout and simply said “hope to get to know you soon.”
This is a new Arenas. Everyone makes mistakes, nobody is infallible.
The Grizzlies hope that Arenas can provide an answer behind Conley, as the play from both Jeremy Pargo and Josh Selby has been inconsistent from the bench, and Arenas arrives with zero expectations in an ideal market.
The media spotlight won’t be intense, nobody is expecting him to play a major role and Arenas seems genuinely excited about the chance to return to the league.
He’s not coming in to do things his way, nor is he going to come in and be disruptive.
The Grizzlies are giving him the second chance that he’s longed for, and he understands that there may not be another opportunity for him if this one goes south.
Memphis wasn’t afraid to send Allen Iverson packing when the experiment to bring him did not work out, and they’ll have the same philosophy with Arenas.
Arenas won’t disrupt the chemistry of this hard-nosed Grizzlies team because he won’t have the opportunity to do so.
It’s a situation that could work out well for both parties, but Arenas has to buy in 110 percent.
Judging by his offseason quotes and desire to return to basketball, it sounds like there is a good chance of that happening.
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After watching free agent guard Gilbert Arenas work out Monday morning, Memphis Grizzlies officials are preparing to sign Arenas to a contract for the rest of this season, the Memphis Commercial-Appeal reported. If Arenas passes his physical as expected, the Grizzlies will pay…
Unfortunately for the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player, his latest visit to Memphis was somewhat reminiscent of that of his rookie season, given that he was hampered by an injury.
Labeled a game-time decision against the Memphis Grizzlies, Rose, according to Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, elected to sit out the game, although a large contingent of fans amongst the announced sell-out crowd—many of whom embraced Rose when he helped propel the Memphis Tigers to the 2008 NCAA title game—purchased tickets to witness the 23-year-old Rose in action for the first time since he surpassed Wes Unseld in becoming the youngest player ever to win the league’s most prestigious individual award.
As he slowly got dressed, Rose reached in his locker for his walking boot designed for his turf toe injury that sidelined him four games. He then sat down, strapped it around his ailing left foot he believes he initially injured in the Bulls’ 2010 playoffs series against Cleveland, then, before taking questions, looked up at the assembled media and said, “It seems like I never get a chance to play (in Memphis).”
Suddenly, one reporter jokingly asked Rose, “Considering it seems you never play when you come to Memphis, is it safe to say you are scared of (Grizzlies point guard) Mike Conley?”
The always soft-spoken Rose quickly replied, “I’m not scared of any point guard in the league.”
And rightfully so. It seems all Rose, a two-time All-Star, has done since he entered the league was demonstrate he’s as good as advertised following his one-and-done year at Memphis. Selected as the No. 1 overall pick by the Bulls four years ago, Rose followed up an extraordinary Rookie of the Year season by turning in arguably the best season by an NBA point guard since Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns won back-to-back MVP awards in 2005 and 2006.
Though his field-goal percentage dipped slightly last year, Rose enjoyed increases in virtually every statistical category, most notably points (25 per game), minutes played (37 per game), three-point field-goal percentage (from .267 to .332), rebounds (4.1), assists (7.7) and steals (1.5). His career-best 42-point outbursts in wins against San Antonio and Indiana, by and large, prompted media pundits to debate whether he was a lock for MVP.
“Great, great, great,” said Rose when asked to sum up his third season. “That year was totally different than the rest because I was relaxed more. Plus, we were comfortable as a team, and it showed on the court.”
Luckily for the Bulls, much of the hoopla surrounding Rose’s banner year wasn’t a distraction, considering they finished one game ahead of the Spurs for the NBA’s best regular season record (62-20) and secured the top seed in the playoffs before losing in five games to the Miami Heat in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals series.
Still, Rose contends winning MVP without an NBA championship essentially overshadowed some of the excitement in being dubbed the league’s most celebrated player.
“Yeah, it did,” Rose said. “Whenever you win the MVP, you want to win the championship and we didn’t. So in a way, there is a sense of disappointment.”
Whether the Bulls can build on last year’s success in a season that has been reduced by 16 games is anybody’s guess. Of course, much of that depends largely on how Rose recovers from a foot injury he admittedly regrets having played through a couple games in recent weeks.
“He’s day to day,” Thibodeau said of Rose. “We’ll keep monitoring the situation. He just said it was sore. It’s a pain tolerance thing, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Fortunately for Rose and Co., the season is still young, meaning Thibodeau is allowing him the necessary time to recoup. However, whenever he is gets back to full strength, several of his teammates agree that the Bulls’ chances of reaching the NBA Finals will be as good as other elite Eastern Conference teams.
In other words, as Rose goes, so does the Bulls.
“He’s somebody comes ready to play hard, take over a game and will do anything to win,” Bulls forward Joakim Noah said of Rose. “He’s not just the most talented guy on the floor, but his mental approach to the game makes him a leader. I mean, he’s the MVP of the NBA, so obviously, he’s a lot different.”
Among the key factors, Noah said, that separates Rose—who was projected as the top overall pick the moment he announced he would forego his final three seasons at Memphis—from other players who entered the NBA with him in 2008 is that he handled the maturation process with ease.
“He’s like a little brother,” Noah, now in his fifth NBA season, said of Rose. “I’ve seen him grow from a shy kid to the leader of this team. He’s a hard worker, and he’s someone who doesn’t get distracted being from Chicago, playing in front of his hometown fans and winning the MVP.”
While Rose’s memorable third year wasn’t culminated with a championship, as consolation, he received a personal visit from former Bulls great and Hall of Famer Michael Jordan. Jordan, a five-time MVP winner who guided the Bulls to six world titles, was highly complementary of the Chicago native and former Simeon Career Academy star.
“He came to the locker room and gave me a handshake and said, ‘Good job,’” Rose said of Jordan, the only other Bulls player to hoist the MVP trophy.
The only question now, of course, is whether Rose, who recently signed a five-year, $94.8 million extension, can follow Jordan’s path by adding championship rings to his stellar resume.
“The season is long, and we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Rose said as he grabbed his backpack and limped out of the dressing room.
Fortunately for the Bulls, who—like last year—appear solid at a number of key positions to a manufacture another deep postseason run, capturing a ring certainly is a possibility in large part because Rose has shown time and again he isn’t afraid of any point guard in the league.
He got the MVP trophy to prove it.
This story also is featured in the February issue of Memphis Sport Magazine. Sportswriter Andre Johnson, who also freelances for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, can be reached at 901-690-6587 or by email at: email@example.com.
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It’s hard to recall a time when O.J. Mayo wasn’t on the trading block. He’s certainly been a permanent fixture on the block over the last year or so, and there has been no shortage of rumors about where the Memphis Grizzlies might trade him.
We still have a few months to go until the March 15th trade deadline, so these rumors will probably keep coming.
But that doesn’t mean the Grizzlies will trade Mayo. In all honesty, they shouldn’t.
Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal doesn’t think they will, writing “it’s clear to me now that the Griz aren’t the least bit motivated to trade Mayo. I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t finish the season in Memphis.”
Tillery points out that the Grizzlies have a lot of incentives to keep Mayo. Thanks in large part to the fact he’s knocking down threes at a career-best 48.9-percent rate, Mayo has become a dangerous sixth man. He’s doing everything the Grizzlies need him to do coming off the bench, and they are that much more dangerous because of him.
As it is, the Grizzlies are off to a hot 10-6 start and are currently riding a seven-game winning streak. They made waves by beating the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs last season, and they’ll be looking to make an even deeper run through the Western Conference playoffs this season.
They know they can win with Mayo. They don’t know if they can win without him.
Yes, the Grizzlies do have Mayo’s future to consider. This is his fourth year in the league, meaning the Grizzlies will have to either sign him to an extension or deal with him as a restricted free agent this offseason.
But Tillery points out that Mayo’s qualifying offer won’t be a crippling figure. In fact, it’s likely to be less than what he’s making this season ($5.6 million).
In a nutshell, Mayo is useful, the team is winning and he’s not going to be much of a headache after the season is over.
So why on earth would the Grizzlies trade him?
There are no good answers to that question. The Grizzlies could undoubtedly get something pretty good in return for Mayo if they were to trade him, but they would run the risk of screwing up the chemistry they have with him on the team.
And don’t underestimate what bad chemistry can do to a basketball team. Just look at what happened to the Boston Celtics last season after they traded Kendrick Perkins.
The age-old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” definitely applies here.
As long as this Grizzlies team remains intact, it should be feared. On a good night, they can hang with anybody in the Western Conference.
If that’s the case in the playoffs, look out.
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