Antoine Walker’s NBA comeback via the D-League — at least that’s the plan, anyway — has become a reality as he has cleared the league’s background check.
That means he will go on waivers and be picked up by the 0-4 Idaho Stampede in the next 72 hours, as reported by Scott Schroeder at FanHouse. We told you a few days ago this was happening, but now his contract with the league is official.
Tuesday, Walker and his shimmy will come to Idaho.
Because when you think of Idaho you think of potatoes, blue turf and Antoine Walker.
Walker has game, or at least had it — he is a three time All Star who averaged 17.5 points a game for his career. He even has a ring from the 2006 Miami Heat (don’t ask Mark Cuban about that). But he is now 34 and has been out of the league for three years. Last season he couldn’t even stick in the Puerto Rican league.
But reports now are that he has been working out hard — including with MJ’s guy Tim Grover in Chicago — and is in pretty good shape. Whether he has any game left remains to be seen.
Why the comeback? You can believe the “love of the game” spin that certainly will come, but we think financial issues are the more likely motivation. (The max D-League contract is for $25,000, but it is less the money than a stepping stone to the NBA and real money.)
That said, it still will be fun to have Walker’s shimmy back on the court. Even in Idaho.
Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.
That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.
Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.
Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.
The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.
Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.
Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:
I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.
Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.
But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.
Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction
On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.
The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.
Now, we know when.
The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11
After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.
DeMarcus Cousins grew up in Alabama, played collegiately at Kentucky and now plays in New Orleans.
So, yeah, the Pelicans star has an opinion on Confederate statues.
Cousins, via TMZ:
“Take all them motherf*ckers down,” Cousins said … “Take ’em all down.”
These statues glorify people because they fought a war against the United States in the name of preserving the racist institution of slavery.
Not whom I want to honor, either.