Brandan Wright

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Will we see Derrick Rose in the NBA again?

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Corey Brewer was waived by the Lakers and teams lined up for his services, with Oklahoma City (and Brewer’s college coach Billy Donovan) at the front of the line. Joe Johnson had suitors the second he was waived and Houston grabbed him fast. Marco Belinelli and Ersan İlyasova get bought out and the Sixers are lined up to pay them. Philly had to waive Trevor Booker to sign İlyasova, but Indiana instantly grabbed him off the market. Brandan Wright instantly found a new home when he was bought out and waived.

Yet Derrick Rose sits without a contract.

The former MVP was hoping a playoff team, a contending team ideally, would snap him up and there would be a long-term marriage. So far, nothing. (He thought he had a marriage in Cleveland, but that didn’t work out.

Have we seen the last of Rose in the NBA?

The well-connected Ken Berger of Bleacher Report asked around the league about Rose’s prospects.

“The injuries and lack of enthusiasm to play hurts him,” a Western Conference executive told B/R…

To this point, Rose has received a couple of 10-day contract offers, but nothing more attractive or substantial, league sources told B/R. He’s looking for an opportunity that could be a longer-term fit—and one with a team that’s ready to win now, or soon, as opposed to rebuilding…

“When Derrick Rose is healthy,” a league source told B/R, “there are no problems.”

Ay, there’s the rub. Not only is Rose not the player he was before the ACL and other knee issues back starting in 2012 — and he has not added a lot of craft to his game to make up for the reduced athleticism — he has battled injuries every season since and missed time. This season it was his ankle. Plus the past two seasons he has taken time away from the team (a couple of months from the Cavaliers). It has front offices questioning his commitment to the game.

Look at it this way: his old coach Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota has not reached out with any formal communication. Oklahoma City lost a guard in Andre Roberson and waited on Booker rather than reaching out to Rose.

I don’t think a playoff team is reaching out to Rose for the rest of this season (barring one team having a rash of injuries).

This July (or maybe August, maybe September) Rose will take a minimum contract with a team for the coming season as a backup guard. Whether that contract is with a playoff-bound team, and whether it is fully guaranteed is up in the air. H0wever, some GM will talk themselves into the potential of Rose in kind of a sixth-man role — come in off the bench for 15-20 minutes a night and just get buckets in the pick-and-roll. That may not be where Rose sees himself, but it’s hard to envision a team offering much more than that at this point.

 

 

In surprise move, Grizzlies fire David Fizdale as head coach

Associated Press
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Memphis has lost eight games in a row, six of them without Mike Conley at point guard. There was plenty of consternation in Memphis after it lost to Brooklyn at home Sunday, in a game where Marc Gasol was benched for the fourth quarter — Gasol did not like that at all — and coach David Fizdale was clearly searching for any combination that worked.

Still, it was a surprise Monday when the Grizzlies fired Fizdale, as first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The benching of Gasol seems to have played a key role in the change.

Bickerstaff was 37-34 after taking over as the Houston coach during the 2015-16 season with the Rockets (taking over 11 games in). We’ll see if he keeps the job, but does anyone feel comfortable that current Grizzlies management will make the right decision moving forward?

Fizdale was 50-51 over two seasons in Memphis, but that belies a good coaching job where he had worked to get this team to pick up the tempo and play a more modern style. He got the Grizzlies to the postseason, where he famously had his “take that for data” rant.

The problem was, he was never given the roster to play a modern style, and the “grit ‘n grind” roster was old and not working well anymore. Then this season came the injuries — Conley is out, and then there is the injury to back up center Brandan Wright, forcing Marc Gasol had to play more minutes and take on much more of the offense. He struggled in that role, shooting 39.4 percent over this last 10 games. Add to that that Memphis is in the middle of its toughest stretch of the season and losses had to have been expected.

The problems in Memphis are not on Fizdale, but rather a team trying to hold on to a”grit ‘n grind” era rather than rebuild when it was time.

This was a thin roster that couldn’t afford injuries, yet it has had some key ones. This is a roster in need of shooting and more athletes, but strapped for money this summer they didn’t add them. The Grizzlies offense has struggled as a result and been bottom 10 all season — they get a lot of shots at the rim but only one NBA team takes a higher percentage of its shots from the midrange, and the Grizzlies still are not a good three-point shooting team (32.3 percent as a team, 29th in the league). Bottom line, they don’t have enough shooting. Or to put it another way, Fizdale doesn’t have the piece he needs.

Throw in the potential of an ownership change in Memphis (minority owners Steve Kaplan and Daniel Straus can buy out current owner Robert Pera) and this is a sticky situation.

At first blush, this looks like a “we are not trading Gasol or anyone, we want to win” move, but we shall see. And we’ll see if Bickerstaff can turn the tide for a shorthanded team. He might for a few games, but like Fizdale he doesn’t have the players to do it for long.

Tony Bradley becoming North Carolina’s first one-and-done in nearly a decade

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North Carolina hasn’t had a one-and-done player in eight years.

Since Brandan Wright declared for the 2008 NBA draft after his freshman year, the Tar Heels have emphasized player development over multiple years. That practice has yielded two national titles, including this year’s, in that span.

It also limited freshman center Tony Bradley’s playing time this season, as he was stuck behind seniors Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks.

But Bradley shined enough in 15 minutes per game to follow Wright as one-and-done from Chapel Hill.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN:

Bradley is a borderline first-round pick, though this late decision when many expected him to return to school indicates he believes he’ll go in the first round. There’s certainly logic in turning pro before scouts pick apart his game over a larger sample.

Bradley is huge – 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan – but he’s not explosive. The hope is someone in the Rudy Gobert mold.

Whomever drafts Bradley will hope his elite offensive rebounding is a harbinger. But why is his defensive rebounding and rim protection so forgettable?

He moves and passes fairly well for his size, but considering he’s so big, those aren’t necessarily skills for him to hang his hat on. If a teammate sets him up, he uses his size to finish well at the rim.

Beyond his size and offensive rebounding, Bradley doesn’t set himself apart one way or the other. Whether that’s good or bad depends how deep in the draft it is.

Report: Kevin Garnett was almost traded to Warriors in 2008, not Celtics

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No big three era in Boston? No banners at The Garden since 1986?

According to former Warriors GM Chris Mullin, it almost worked out that way because he was on the cusp of a trade that would have brought Kevin Garnett to the “We Believe” Warriors until one of the worst owners in NBA history killed the deal.

Mullin spoke to Ric Bucher about it for a story on those Warriors for Bleacher Report.

“It was basically done,” Mullin says. “I was doing an extension with [agent] Andy Miller on Kevin Garnett’s deal. KG liked Baron enough, and we had talked enough. He said, ‘Yo, I’ll do it.'”

A 2007 draft-night three-team deal with the Timberwolves and Charlotte (then the Bobcats) would’ve sent Garnett to the Warriors, Richardson to the Bobcats and picks and talent to the Timberwolves. It fell apart, Mullin says, when then-Warriors owner Chris Cohan dragged his feet and ultimately said no….

“We were making moves to get KG, and then we traded J-Rich for Brandan Wright,” says Matt Barnes, one of the few players aware of Mullin’s plan at the time. “We won more games, but it just wasn’t the same anymore. It all shifted so quickly. The magic was gone.”

This can lead to a lot of fan fiction NBA, what might have been different. Could KG have motivated the mercurial Davis, who at his best was brilliant but was never motivated to bring it — or put in the work needed to bring it — nightly? Would it have mattered with the Kobe Bryant/Pau Gasol Lakers who both won the West (65 games) and the NBA title? What would Boston have done had KG not joined Paul Pierce and Ray Allen?

The one thing this should remind us? Cohan was the second worst owner of his era (Donald Sterling still takes that honor) and Warriors fans should appreciate what they have now because of the desert they went through to get there.

NBA: Grizzlies got away with two fouls in final minute of three-point win over Lakers

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The Grizzlies were down Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons, James Ennis, Zach Randolph, Brandan Wright and Vince Carter against the Lakers on Saturday.

But Memphis got a little outside help in its 103-100 win – from the late-game officiating.

The Grizzlies got away with two loose-ball fouls in the final minute, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.

(The report also notes a third incorrect call: Jordan Clarkson getting away with a travel with 1:33 left. But the Lakers didn’t score on that possession, anyway).

With 30.7 seconds left, Tony Allen got away with committing a loose-ball foul on Brandon Ingram:

Allen (MEM) clamps Ingram’s (LAL) arm and affects his ability to retrieve the rebound.

A correct call would’ve put Memphis into the penalty and sent Ingram – who has made 77% of his free throws – to the line for two attempts. Instead, though they got the ball after the rebound scrum, the Lakers came up empty on their possession.

Then, Marc Gasol also got away with committing a loose-ball foul on Luol Deng with 3.5 seconds left:

Gasol (MEM) dislodges Deng (LAL) affecting his ability to retrieve the rebound.

Again, a correct call would’ve given the Lakers two free throws. Deng is shooting 70% this season and 77% for his career from the line.

Instead, Gasol grabbed the game-clinching rebound.

The game obviously would have played out differently if these calls were made correctly. But, as it stands, the Lakers missed out on four free throws from solid shooters in the final minute of a three-point loss.