San Antonio Spurs v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Four

Jerryd Bayless picks up player option to stay with Grizzlies


Jerryd Bayless was a capable back-up at the guard spot for a Grizzlies team that reached the Western Conference Finals last season.

He had a player option of $3.1 million to return next year, but it was widely believed that he would choose to pursue unrestricted free agency instead.

Bayless, however, has decided to come back to Memphis.

From Marc Stein of

I’m told Grizzlies G Jerryd Bayless, in mild surprise, has elected to invoke $3.1 million player option for next season to stay in Memphis

It’s possible that Bayless was pleased with the direction the team will take under new head coach Dave Joerger, which may open up additional opportunities for him to succeed.

But more likely is that after his agent did some research, the market may not have been all that demanding where Bayless was concerned, so it made more sense to play things out for one more season with a winning team in order to try to boost his value as a free agent for the following summer.

Bayless averaged 8.7 points and 3.3 assists in 22.1 minutes per game for the Grizzlies last season.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.