Just a couple weeks ago, Memphis traded the expiring contract of Donte Greene plus sent some cash to Boston for the rights to Fab Melo.
Friday they waived Melo, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Melo was owed $1.3 million this season fully guaranteed, part of his rookie contract. If no team picks ‘Melo up off waivers Memphis will have to eat that salary (and it still counts against their salary cap).
The fact that Memphis is willing to do that rather than let go of Josh Akognon or Willie Reed (guys without fully guaranteed contracts who make less money) speaks to what Memphis thought of Melo. There have been questions about his maturity and his desire to work at his game since he entered the league.
That said, ‘Melo is a 7’0” shot blocking big who could develop into a good NBA defender — last season he was named to the D-League All-Defensive First Team and D-League All-Rookie First Team — so a team may well claim him off waivers. If not, he will land a spot on a minimum contract.
Memphis didn’t really need Melo at center: They start Marc Gasol and now back him up with Kosta Koufos, plus Jon Leuer is the third center on the roster.
Play well in the Summer League and you get noticed, and that can get you a contract — maybe not a guaranteed NBA contract, you have to earn you way onto the roster, but you get a shot.
That’s what happened for Ian Clark and Josh Akognon Wednesday, both landed deals with NBA teams. Clark has signed with the Jazz, Akognon with Memphis.
Akognon was claimed off waivers, reports Marc Stein of ESPN. Dallas liked him (he was with the team for a brief stretch last season) but they needed to clear out cap space to sign Monta Ellis and had to cut a few non-guaranteed guys free to make it happen.
Akognon with the Grizzlies is interesting — they need outside shooting (they are chasing Mike Miller right now but made no other significant changes to the roster) and that’s what Akognon brings. The Cal State Fullerton star averaged 17.4 points a game from Summer League and shot 39.1 percent from three. He had some up and down games from deep (1-7 against the Warriors, 4-7 against the Clippers) but he turned a few heads.
Memphis has 13 guaranteed roster spots filled right now (and remember they are chasing Miller hard). We’ll see if there is room for him.
The Clark news comes via Jeff Zillgitt of the USA Today.
Clark averaged 12.3 points a game for Golden State during Summer League, capped off by a monster 33 points on 12-of-19 shooting night in the championship game vs. Phoenix.
While the Jazz are a young team not expected to be very good next season I’m not sure how many minutes there would really be in their backcourt for him right now. But they are bringing him to camp at least.