Tuesday night, O.J. Mayo is back.
The man has served his debt to the NBA, a 10 game suspension for testing positive for banned substance dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is over. He says he got it in his system by drinking an energy drink he bought at a convenience store. You can chose to believe that or not. Doesn’t really matter.
The big thing is — the Memphis Grizzlies have done just fine without Mayo, having gone 8-2 without him. Zach Randolph was putting up 20 and 14, Rudy Gay and Mike Conley both played well also. More importantly, in Mayo’s absence the Memphis bench developed improved and changed — now Mayo has to blend in with that, coach Lionel Hollins told the Commercial Appeal.
“The team is not static. It’s fluid. It’s changing constantly,” Hollins said. “He’ll be trying to find out where the team is and trying to catch up to that rhythm. It’s going to be difficult. The team has moved in a positive direction…”
The bench also developed a different identity in Mayo’s absence. The reserves have gone from deferring to Mayo for scoring to following veteran guard Tony Allen’s lead with gritty, defensive-minded play. The Grizzlies have also enjoyed more ball movement and an effective zone defense from their second unit.
Mayo’s name will continue to come up on the trade block for the next 10 days as well, so soon he may have to adjust to something else entirely. But for now, the new reality in Memphis is Mayo’s first test.
TORONTO (AP) — With rumors swirling about the Knicks chasing Raptors president Masai Ujiri, the Raptors have promoted Bobby Webster to general manager.
Webster, 32 years old assistant the youngest GM in the NBA, replaces Jeff Weltman, who left Toronto in May to become president of the Orlando Magic.
A former staffer at the NBA league office in New York, Webster joined the Raptors in 2013 and was named assistant GM in 2016.
He’ll help decide what to offer All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry, who opted out of the final year of his contract last month after Cleveland swept Toronto in the second round of the playoffs.
Forwards Serge Ibaka, P.J. Tucker and Patrick Patterson are all unrestricted free agents.
Also Wednesday, Toronto promoted Dan Tolzman to assistant general manager.
The Raptors have posted consecutive 50-win seasons and made four straight playoff appearances.
NEW YORK (AP) — Former NBA point guard Jason Williams will miss six to eight months after suffering a knee injury in the opening game of the Big3.
Corey Maggette, also injured in the opening week of Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league of former NBA players, had surgery for a leg injury. There is no timetable for his return.
The injuries were announced Wednesday during a conference call with Cube and Big3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz, who also detailed a couple rules changes starting with this weekend’s game in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Games will be played to 50 points, instead of 60, with halftime coming when the first team reaches 25 points. Cube said that would help the four games per day move more quickly.
Phil Jackson’s exit is already opening doors for the Knicks.
No position differs more in the triangle from modern spread NBA offenses than point guard. But without Jackson demanding his point guard fit such a narrow profile, New York can pursue greater talents – like Jeff Teague.
Ian Begley of ESPN:
With Phil Jackson out and the triangle de-emphasized, the Knicks, under general manager Steve Mills, have interest in free agent point guard Jeff Teague, league sources told ESPN. League sources say the interest in Teague is mutual.
The Knicks aren’t as desperate at point guard after drafting Frank Ntilikina, but Ntilikina probably isn’t ready to run an offense full-time yet. Teague could be a stopgap – which might be necessary considering New York can’t easily pivot into rebuilding with Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee locked up.
Teague’s future with the Pacers appears uncertain with Paul George on the trade block. A key part of Larry Bird’s retooling last summer, Teague and Indiana might be headed in different directions now.
The Knicks make as much sense as anywhere for Teague – now that Jackson is gone.
The Rockets and Clippers both turned aggressive with today’s Chris Paul trade.
Houston is making a bold attempt to overtake the Warriors (a plan that could include other big moves). The Clippers are launching into rebuilding.
Kurt Helin breaks down what it means for both teams.