Posted on: February 25, 2010 5:22 pm
The Grizzlies are sending No. 2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet to the D-League, a move that proves A) Memphis made a mistake in picking him that high; and B) The organization, to its credit, has the courage to admit that mistake.
That doesn't mean we write off Thabeet's career just because he's off to a slow start. But it was curious from the start why the Grizzlies, desperate for a spark in a struggling market, passed on hometown hero Tyreke Evans and selected Thabeet second overall in the 2009 draft. Memphis, instead, turned to Allen Iverson for that spark, and instead got a three-alarm fire that resulted in his quick dismissal from the team.
It was obvious that Thabeet, a 7-3 center from Tanzania, would be a project. But his difficult adjustment to the NBA game has redefined what a project is. In limited minutes, Thabeet has managed only two field goals in the month of February and only 15 in the calendar year -- a third of which came in the first game of 2010 on Jan. 2.
Thabeet becomes the highest draft pick ever assigned to the D-League. His assignment to the Dakota Wizards was reported first by the website RidiculousUpside.com.
Posted on: February 18, 2009 7:12 pm
Posted on: January 23, 2009 5:16 pm
Avery Johnson was approached by the Memphis Grizzlies about taking over as head coach after Marc Iavraoni was fired Thursday night. Johnson politely turned them down, and for good reason.
Well, several good reasons.
1) Memphis sucks and has no business having an NBA team.
2) He will have his pick of jobs after the season when all the teams that fired coaches and appointed interims decide whether to keep them or bring in someone else.
3) He likes his cushy job as a TV commentator and the time it affords him with his family. (Kind of makes you want to be a TV commentator, no?)
4) The Dallas Mavericks are still paying him, and will be for the rest of this season plus two more.
My favorite reason is No. 4. No need to go to Memphis and coach a bad basketball team when you can get paid by two major sports organizations (the Mavericks and ESPN) to do nothing.
Posted on: January 10, 2009 9:38 pm
The NBA Players Association won't file a grievance on Darius Miles' behalf now that the former No. 3 overall pick has received a 10-day contract from the Memphis Grizzlies despite threats of legal action from the Portland Trail Blazers.
"Our concern is that the players' marketplace is protected and that there’s no chilling of the marketplace and no collusion," Hal Biagas, deputy counsel for the players' association, told CBSSports.com Saturday night.
The union will continue monitoring the Miles situation and will take action if further investigation warrants it. One area that has yet to be fully explored is one that was raised by Miles' agent, Jeffrey Wechsler, earlier Saturday -- whether some teams backed away from offering Miles a contract due to Portland's threat of a lawsuit.
It would be a complicated case to prove, not to mention unseemly in how it would play out. If such a legal action were pursued, it would present the uncomfortable possibility of team executives testifying under oath as to whether they backed away from signing Miles after Blazers president Larry Miller emailed 29 teams Friday and threatened to sue any team that signed Miles simply to inflict harm on the Blazers. Other than Wechsler's assertion, there is no evidence at this point that other teams intended to sign Miles but backed away due to Portland's threat.
Miles, 27, retired in 2006 after failing to recover from microfracture surgery -- two years after signing a six-year, $48 million extension with the Blazers. If he plays two more games with any team, he would reach the 10-game threshold for canceling the salary-cap relief Portland was granted when he was deemed medically unable to play. It would result in $18 million returning to the Blazers' books, plus about $8 million in revenue sharing money from Portland that would be split among all teams under the tax threshold -- about $260,000 per team.
It would be exceedingly difficult to prove that collusion took place. Even if other teams were pursuing Miles, none would've been willing to give him more than the pro-rated veteran's minimum on a 10-day deal -- which is what he got from Memphis. Just as difficult to prove would be Memphis' motives in signing him. But if the Grizzlies were found to have signed him as a favor to any other team or teams that may be in competition with Portland for future free agents, that would be a matter that would attract intense scrutiny from league and union lawyers.
Something else to consider: The union's loyalty in the Miles case isn't necessarily obvious to pinpoint. While the players' association's job is to protect Miles, a person with knowledge of the situation pointed out that the union would prefer that the Blazers kept their cap space. That money would in turn increase the competition for a player or players also represented by the NBPA in the future.
Either way, it's safe to conclude that this story isn't over yet.
Posted on: January 10, 2009 10:19 am
Edited on: January 10, 2009 10:28 pm
Darius Miles is back with Memphis. The Grizzlies better be ready to lawyer up.
Amid swirling controversy and threats of a lawsuit from the Portland Trail Blazers, Miles signed a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies Saturday, less than a week after being waived. Miles played two games for Memphis but was released so his contract wouldn't be guaranteed for the rest of the season. He cleared waivers Friday, the same day a flurry of memos and threats flew around the NBA.
"Our focus is on Darius' career," Miles' agent, Jeffrey Wechsler said Saturday. "He doesn't want to hurt Portland." Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace announced the signing in a news release that praised Miles for his first stint with Memphis but made no mention of the Portland controversy.
"Darius did everything asked of him in his initial stint with the Grizzlies and was well received by his teammates,” Wallace said. “In the last Minnesota game (Jan. 6), his length, experience, rebounding, shot blocking and defense on one of the elite post scorers in the league, Al Jefferson, were all impressive. Our young team is short on frontcourt players and can use a veteran with his attributes."
If Miles plays two more games, he will satisfy the criteria to cancel the cap relief Portland received when he retired due do a medical condition. Miles signed a six-year, $48 million extension with the Blazers in 2004, but never recovered from microfracture surgery in 2006. In 2008, Portland's petition to have the injury declared career-ending was approved, but the requirement was that Miles remained retired. Clearly, he is not. He played six preseason games for the Celtics before logging two for Memphis.
Before Miles cleared waivers, Blazers president Larry Miller sent an email to the 29 other teams warning them that they would face litigation if they signed Miles specifically to hurt them. If Miles passes the 10-game threshold, the $18 million remaining on his contract goes back on Portland's books -- half this season and half next season. That would not only remove the Blazers from free-agent contention in perhaps the two biggest free-agent summers in NBA history, but it would also cost Portland about $8 million in luxury tax.
In return, the league office issued a memo to all league executives Friday reinforcing that they are welcome to sign Miles and that any uniform contract with the former No. 3 overall pick would be honored and approved by the NBA. NBA Players Association executive director Billy Hunter said he was "appalled" and that he would challenge any legal action taken by the Blazers.
UPDATE: But the players' association won't file a grievance at this time in support of Miles, Hal Biagas, the union's deputy counsel, told CBSSports.com Saturday night. There's no evidence at this point that collusion occured, other than assertions by Wechsler that certain teams may have backed away from offering Miles a contract in the wake of Portland's threat. The players' association is looking into Wechsler's assertions, but the fact that Miles received a fair-market deal -- the prorated veteran's minimum on a 10-day contract -- leaves little to fuel a legal case.“Our concern is that the players' marketplace is protected and that there’s no chilling of the marketplace and no collusion," said Biagas, who indicated that the union will continue to investigate and monitor the matter.
Miles winding up back in Memphis is curious and may satisfy the Blazers' definition of malicious, if they choose to pursue their case legally. A person familiar with the Grizzlies' front-office dealings said Miles is not a long-term solution and is viewed as a long-shot to stick around for any significant length of time.
Wechsler disagrees, saying Memphis gave Miles a chance in his first stint and has no ulterior motives in bringing Miles back. Wechsler should know; as Miles' agent, it was his job to make sure he didn't get his client in a situation where a team was using him simply to hurt Portland. "He just wants to play, and Darius can play," Wechsler said. "He's long, he can defend, and he's jumping and dunking off either leg."
Wechsler was conferring with players' association attorneys Saturday, but wouldn't rule out pursuing legal action outside the scope of the collective bargaining agreement if the Blazers' actions were found to have eliminated teams from the bidding for his client.
"We are going to vigorously defend Darius' rights and pursue all avenues to preserve Darius' ability to earn a living," Wechsler said. "If we have to bring in outside counsel, we're in the process of evaluating all of that."
Posted on: January 7, 2009 12:58 pm
The Memphis Grizzlies' decision to waive Darius Miles after he'd played only two games comes as quite a relief to the Portland Trail Blazers. Had Miles lasted long enough with the Grizzlies to appear in 10 games, the $18 million remaining on his contract would've returned to the Blazers' cap. Now, unless Miles can persuade another team to take a chance on him, Blazers G.M. Kevin Pritchard should have some cap flexibility in the next two summers.
Now isn't exactly the time for Miles to catch on with another club. Teams are in the process of cutting players with non-guaranteed contracts because those deals become guaranteed if they aren't released in time to clear waivers by Saturday. Go ahead, Blazers fans. You can exhale.
Posted on: December 24, 2008 1:05 pm
Edited on: December 25, 2008 12:22 pm
The Houston Rockets announced Wednesday they've dealt the injured former superstar to Memphis along with a 2009 second-round pick and cash. The Rockets get a conditional 2011 second-round pick.
The second-round pick going to Memphis was originally acquired from the Grizzlies in a 2008 draft night deal. Francis has not played for the Rockets this season after having surgery on a torn quadriceps tendon back in February. You may recall how Francis balked at playing for the Vancouver Grizzlies after he was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in 1999. His rights were traded to Houston in a three-team, 11-player deal.
More later as details become available.
UPDATED: Francis is in the final year of a two-year deal that pays him $2.6 million this season. That money would come off Memphis' books in July. For Francis, he gets a chance to get some minutes, test his knee, and decide if he can continue his career. For the Grizzlies, the deal was mostly about reaquiring their 2009 second-round pick, which went to Houston as part of separate deals in which Houston got Donte Green and Joey Dorsey.
UPDATED Dec. 25, 12:23 p.m.: The cash involved in the deal is a nice holiday gift for Memphis. Houston pays Francis' contract plus a little more, a person familiar with the deal said. The maximum cash allowed to change hands in a trade is $3 million, so it sounds like Memphis got a little less than that.
Posted on: December 17, 2008 11:57 am
* Finally, the Rockets showed how dangerous they can be if everyone is healthy. Yao was unstoppable, Tracy McGrady had his fourth career triple-double, and Ron Artest played a crucial role coming off the bench in a 108-96 victory over Denver.
* Those who took issue with my accolades for Derrick Rose will delight in the fact that D.J. Augustin (29 points, 7 assists) outdueled the Bulls' No. 1 pick (7 points, 6 assists) in the Charlotte Bobcats' 110-101 overtime victory over the Bulls.
* I was standing outside the visiting locker room in Philadelphia last Wednesday night when the 76ers' medical staff, led by team doctor Jack McPhilemy, ventured inside to examine Zydrunas Ilgauskas' foot and X-rays thereof. Little did I know how stunned the doctors were when they viewed the X-rays. Bob Finnan of the News-Herald explains. (Link courtesy of TrueHoop.)
* Interesting decision for the Warriors when Monta Ellis comes off the suspended list Friday. Who gets waived or traded to clear a roster spot? Even though Ellis won't be ready to play until sometime in '09, Golden State needs to make room on the roster. Matt Steinmetz makes a solid case that the decision will provide insight into how much GM Chris Mullin's power has diminished. Mullin is believed to want Marcus Williams to stay, but coach -- and perhaps soon-to-be-GM Don Nelson -- wants to keep Rob Kurz. If Kurz stays and Williams goes, you'll have your answer.
Tags: Charlotte Bobcats, Chauncey Billups, Chicago Bulls, Chris Mullin, Chris Paul, Cleveland Cavaliers, D.J. Augustin, Dallas Mavericks, Derrick Rose, Don Nelson, Donnie Walsh, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Mark Cuban, Memphis Grizzlies, Mike D'Antoni, Monta Ellis, New Orleans Hornets, Ron Artest, Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming, Zydrunas Ilgauskas