Tyson Chandler no fan of the NBA’s age limit

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Tyson Chandler jumped straight from high school to the NBA, the No. 2 overall pick in 2001. He and Eddy Curry were going to be the future of the Knicks. I don’t need to remind you how that went.

Chandler is why the owners like the age limit — he has developed into a very good NBA player, but it took time for him to get there. He had to mature, his game had to mature. NBA owners and management would love that development to happen on somebody else’s dime. Some guys never mature — see Curry — and the owners would love to have a better chance to figure that out.

Chandler, in a fascinating and wide-ranging interview at TrueHoop, says that the problem is teams see the talents but often struggle to see the person.

A lot of the young stars that have carried the torch for our league have come out of high school. Whether it’s Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, you can go on and on.

I definitely think that whole talk about high school players not being responsible is untrue. You can have guys play four years of college and not make it in this league. You can have guys go four years in college and do something crazy. We see that every day.

I think it’s more the person, the character of the person, than it is the age. It’s in human nature, to hopefully get older, and get wiser through experience. But not everybody does that. I think it’s up to the person that’s investing their time and their money in the product, and in this case the product is basketball players and young men. I think it’s up to them, the decision to decide if they want to invest their money and time in a particular young man with a particular character. You take millions of dollars to scout and make these decisions. Let them earn their check.

I agree — predicting how an 18-year-old will mature is risky, but you can get a sense of work ethic, passion, drive of the person. Kobe had it, KG had it, Kwame Brown didn’t. And you should be able to see that. Don’t tell the 18-year-old who is ready he has to do something else for a couple years because you don’t make good decisions.

That said, I think it’s more likely the age limit goes up, not down, with the new labor agreement.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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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.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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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.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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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.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

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.