The Grizzlies have 16 players with guaranteed salaries on standard contracts – one more than the regular-season limit – plus partially guaranteed Mario Chalmers, who excelled when healthy for Memphis.
It appears the Grizzlies will solve that dilemma with a couple awkward subtractions – Wade Baldwin and Rade Zagorac.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Baldwin was the No. 17 pick just last year, and it’s incredibly rare to give up such a high selection so soon. But Baldwin was dreadful on the court as a rookie, appearing wholly incapable of running an offense or playing off the ball. The guard (ideally a point, but maybe a combo out of necessity) has potential defensively, but he’s not close to ready on the other end. After major questions about his attitude coming out Vanderbilt, perhaps it’s not entirely surprising he got the quick hook.
Zagorac’s is even quicker. The No. 35 pick last year, he first signed this summer – to a deal with multiple guaranteed seasons, including slightly more than the minimum this year.
If Baldwin and Zagorac are less valuable to Memphis than other players, the Grizzlies are better off cutting bait now. It looks bad, but compounding mistakes is far worse than publicly admitting errors and moving on.
Speaking of, it looks like I was totally wrong on Baldwin, though perhaps a team with less of a roster crunch would take a flier on him.
Jahlil Okafor‘s father has not been shy about speaking out on his son’s behalf. NBA players are advocating for the 76ers to grant Okafor, who’s out of the rotation and on an expiring contract, his desired trade or buyout.
When both join forces…
Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry appear to really enjoy Chukwudi Okafor’s shirt. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily calling on Philadelphia to do anything. But they hadn’t to know how it’d be perceived.
It’s easy to predict free agents will avoid the 76ers as a result of the Okafor situation, but few anticipate getting stuck similarly. Players overwhelmingly value money, winning, role and location. If Golden State’s stars are applying any external pressure, it shouldn’t really move Philadelphia more than anything that has already been said and done.
Lonzo Ball draws outsized attention because his father, LaVar Ball, lures onlookers and because the rookie plays for the high-profile Los Angeles Lakers.
So, when Lonzo gets a triple-double – like his 11-points, 16-rebound, 11-assists game against the Nuggets yesterday – it draws scrutiny.
Mo Dakhil of The Jump Ball:
The NBA defines an assist as a “pass that directly leads to a basket. … An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”
I wouldn’t describe either of those passing as leading directly to a basket. Ball’s teammates each hold the ball for a moment after receiving the pass then take two dribbles against set defenses.
But assists are subjective, and the Lakers aren’t alone in offering a home-court scorekeeping advantage.
Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice
So, criticize/laugh at the Lakers. But your favorite team probably manipulates assists in its favor, too.
Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.
Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.
Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.
Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.
But at least the Lakers won.