It’s not tanking for a playoff seed, it’s resting.
That’s the official line from Memphis coach Lionel Hollins on why he sat Zach Randolph Tuesday night (and Tony Allen). And he will do so again Wednesday night, Hollins told the Commercial Appeal.
“Tony’s hurt,” Hollins said. “I didn’t want to play Zach these last two games because I want to get him some rest and get him healthy. He banged his elbow the other night. Tony’s knee swelled up. He would have played if I would have let him but I don’t know how effective he would have been.”
This will mean more Darrell Arthur, which is not a bad thing (he’s no Randolph but he’s played well this season). Arthur only played 15 minutes Tuesday night in Portland due to foul trouble. There is speculation in the Memphis media that Marc Gasol and other Grizzlies could sit as well Wednesday night.
The likely result of that is Memphis will lose to the Clippers Wednesday night, which will lock them in at the eight seed and mean they face San Antonio in the first round. (A Memphis win and a New Orleans loss would have Memphis the seven seed, meaning likely the Lakers.)
Which clearly is the goal, to target facing the Spurs and not the Lakers. It just seems an odd strategy — San Antonio does not have the Lakers size along the front line, but their level of execution is not something Memphis will be able to match. But the Grizzlies have picked their poison.
James Harden had a historic season in Houston.
Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.
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.