When the NFL lockout was going on, various players started organizing practices for teammates to keep them in rhythm with one another. You haven’t heard anything like that on the NBA level because 1. it’s still the offseason for most guys and 2. NBA players aren’t as tight-knit, traditionally, as NFL players. But apparently Memphis is the exception. SLAM online talked with Tony Allen, and Allen hinted that the Grizzlies might get some work in together in the next few weeks. Most surprising was who Allen said was orchestrating it.
SLAM: Are you planning on working out with any of the Grizzlies over the summer?
TA: It’s cool you asked that because Zach just texted me and said he was trying to round the guys up and get them into one city for a good week-and-a-half or something. So I’m waiting on a call. I’m pretty sure in the next week or so we’ll try to get together as a team to find out if we’re going over the water or we’re staying here.
via SLAM ONLINE | » Q+A: Tony Allen.
That last part is equally interesting, unintentionally. This isn’t what Allen meant, but what if the Grizzlies went overseas as a unit? There’s nothing preventing the entire team from playing somewhere. It’s a weird idea that hasn’t been mentioned before. Meanwhile, the fact that it’s Randolph leading the charge speaks to how much things have changed in Memphis. Randolph has been mentioned as a player who could pack on the pounds during a lockout and instead he’s organizing a workout for his teammates. It’s just a week and a half, and in all honesty, it’s so far away from the start of the season, there’s not much impact that can be had right now.
But it’s still another sign of the leadership role Randolph has taken on at this stage in his career, and how close the Grizzlies still are as a team.
The Chicago Bulls are one of the teams getting a D-League affiliate franchise this season. The Windy City Bulls will play in the suburb of Hoffman Estates, and now they have a head coach: North Carolina State assistant Bobby Lutz.
Via Upside & Motor‘s Chris Reichert:
Lutz was previously linked to the Bulls’ D-League job in July but there was confusion as to whether he would actually get the job. Now, it appears he has. And he has familiarity with the coaching staff, having served as an assistant coach at Iowa State under Fred Hoiberg in 2010-11, prior to going to NC State.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.