Grizzlies now face expectations, but they have an answer

8 Comments

Things are going to be different for the Memphis Grizzlies next season.

They are moving from the Tuesday night game where the season ticket holder can’t give away his seats to a game people want to see. Zach Randolph has become a name sports fans know for more than his past — not basketball, fans, they knew, but casual sports fans. People want to see that other Gasol.

Things will be different and Randolph told the Commercial Appeal the team gets that.

“There are expectations now,” Randolph said. “People are going to expect us to be better. People will look at us as one of the top teams.”

That also means other teams will not consider the game a night off, they will sneak up on nobody. Basically, they have to be better. How does that happen?

The Grizzlies have an answer.

“When Rudy Gay gets back we’ll be a better team,” Griz guard O.J. Mayo said. “It’ll definitely help us on the perimeter as far as scoring and I think we’ll be a better team.”

“Once we get Rudy back, we’ll be back to having a complete team,” Griz guard Mike Conley said. “And now we know what it’s like to be in this position. That combination will make us a lot better.”

Gay was a member of Team USA last summer in Turkey and is the best perimeter player the Grizzlies have by a long shot. Gay separated his shoulder back on Feb. 15 and has been out since. He tried to make a return for the playoffs but it has not healed enough.

But he will be ready to go whenever the post-lockout training camps open. And the Grizzlies instantly will be better.

Kyrie Irving: ‘I see you. I see everyone. More than just your physical presence, I see your energy. I feel it. I know it’

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kyrie Irving has done good lately.

Not just during Celtics games. He gave his jersey and shoes to military members in the crowd, and he recently shared a Thanksgiving dinner with Boston families.

Irving also addressed the event.

Irving, via Nicole Yang of Boston.com:

“I see you,” he said. “I see everyone. More than just your physical presence, I see your energy. I feel it. I know it.”

“I think that the most important thing that I strive to live by is extremely by truth and by consistently giving others the truth, without any judgement, without constraints, without anything extra except the understanding that I see you,” he said. “I have family members who come from knowing energy, and it was passed along to me.”

I can’t get enough of all this stuff.

Report: Derrick Rose away from Cavaliers, evaluating his future in basketball

Rob Carr/Getty Images
4 Comments

When Derrick Rose went AWOL from the Knicks last season for what he called a family issue, rumors swirled that he was contemplating retirement. Rose denied it, but those whispers are reemerging.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Rose has been out with what seemed like a relative minor, for him at least, ankle injury. The 29-year-old could stick in the league for a while thanks to his reputation and ability to attack the rim to create shots for himself. But the guard is a shell of peak form after years of more serious injuries. This isn’t the career anyone expected for him when he was named the youngest MVP ever in 2011.

Before the season, Rose was talking about getting a raise on his next contract. He seemed happy to join a contender and have LeBron James in his corner.

But something is amiss. Hopefully, Rose can find contentment – whether that’s continuing his NBA career or walking away.

Ryan McDonough: Suns want to sign two-way Mike James to standard contract

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
Leave a comment

Brandon Knight got hurt. Eric Bledsoe got traded.

The Suns made Mike James – a 27-year-old rookie on a two-way contract – their starting point guard.

Though he eventually ceded the role to Tyler Ulis, James – the only player on a two-way contract to start an NBA game – is still a rotation regular. He’s an aggressive defender and possesses plenty of offensive moves.

The problem: Unless demoted to Phoenix’s minor-league affiliate before then, he’ll max out the 45 allowable NBA days for a two-way player Dec. 6.

Suns general manager Ryan McDonough, via Scott Bordow of azcentral:

We’d still like to get him on the 15-man roster and we’re looking at different ways to do that.

The Suns can unilaterally convert James’ two-contract into a standard one-year minimum deal. Both sides could also negotiate a longer contract.

The bigger issue is clearing a roster spot.

Phoenix has the maximum 15 players with standard contracts with no obvious cuts. Derrick Jones Jr. doesn’t play much, but the 20-year-old’s athleticism creates intriguing upside. Second-rounder Davon Reed is hurt, though teams rarely cut bait so quickly.

So, a trade is possible. Greg Monroe never seemed long for Phoenix. Or anyone else could be moved.

If it comes to it, the Suns could send James to the minors to bide time. But they want to play competitive basketball, and he helps. So, expect something else to give within the next couple weeks.

Joel Embiid upgrades himself from 69% to 81%: ‘Shoutout to Jalen Rose’

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
3 Comments

A story in three parts:

1. After posting 46-15-7-7 in a win over the Lakers, frequently injured 76ers center Joe Embiid declared himself to be 69%:

2. ESPN analyst Jalen Rose called that joke “unprofessional:”

3. Embiid upgraded his status to 81% with a “shoutout to Jalen Rose:”

In case you didn’t get the joke.