Some of the best teams in he West would like to avoid the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoff because Memphis has one of the biggest, most dangerous front lines in basketball with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
Two guys who just happen to be free agents this summer (although Gasol is restricted, at least under the current system).
Now Randolph may be coming off the market — he and the Grizzlies are in “serious” talks about a four-year deal that would keep Randolph in Memphis, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Randolph’s agent, Raymond Brothers, and Griz general manager Chris Wallace confirmed that they have been involved in constructive talks after months of inactivity.
“I think they’re serious,” Brothers said of the Grizzlies’ intent to sign Randolph. “I’m optimistic we’ll get something done.”
Randolph is making a healthy $17.3 million this season in the last year of a six-year deal the Trail Blazers gave him.
Randolph is the Grizzlies leading scorer (20.1 points per game) and rebounder (12.6). He had said before he wanted Paul Gasol money — $65 million over three years — but the new report says that he has backed off that demand. The Grizzlies had been thinking more like $10 million a year, they likely are meeting somewhere in the middle.
Randolph should want to get something done under this collective bargaining agreement because, whatever the new CBA looks like, you can bet it will be more restrictive than this one.
If Randolph gets a big deal, it leaves a question as to whether the smaller-market Grizzlies will be able to keep Gasol as well. It is known that other teams, including the New York Knicks, are interested in him. However, that free agent game will be played out under the yet unknown rules of the new CBA, which makes the situation about as predictable as Charlie Sheen.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.
Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.
His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.
Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.
Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.
As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.
Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.
Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.
Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.
Maybe a little too pumped.
That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.
Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.
(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)
The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.
While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”
Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”
We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.
Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.