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Report: Austin Rivers signing with Grizzlies

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The Wizards, Suns and Grizzlies are trapped in a transaction triangle.

After a three-way trade between the teams fell through due to Brooks confusion, Washington and Phoenix completed a simplified version of the deal. The Suns sent Trevor Ariza to the Wizards for Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers, whom Phoenix is waiving.

Rivers’ landing spot? Memphis of course.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Don’t expect Rivers to be a major difference maker in Memphis. He’s a solid defender who had been a decent 3-point shooter the last couple seasons but not at all so far this year. When not spotting up, he’s often overly ambitious – but occasionally impressive – as a driver.

Rivers will add depth at shooting guard, where the Grizzlies have Garrett Temple, Dillon Brooks, Wayne Selden, MarShon Brooks and Shelvin Mack.

Memphis must waive one player now. It could be MarShon Brooks. We know how the Grizzlies (and Suns) view him.

This signing leads to a conspiracy theory I don’t believe, but find interesting: The Grizzlies agreed to the trade with Dillon Brooks… learned the full parameters of the deal… realized they’d rather just sign Rivers outright than deal Dillon Brooks, Selden and a second-rounder for Kelly Oubre… claimed they meant MarShon Brooks all along… let the Wizards ship Rivers to the Suns, who’d waive him… signed Rivers.

When undermining the original three-team deal, the Grizzlies would have had to know Washington and Phoenix would complete their own trade with Rivers getting waived. Perhaps, Memphis surmised that while the teams negotiated, but the timing – and complexity – makes that unlikely. But still fun to consider.

Watch Devin Booker’s game-winner to give Suns 102-100 win against Grizzlies

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PHOENIX (AP) — Devin Booker‘s 17-foot jumper with 1.7 seconds left capped a fourth-quarter comeback by Phoenix, and the Suns snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 102-100 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night.

Booker, playing the entire fourth quarter with five fouls, scored 14 of his game-high 25 points in the final period as Phoenix rallied from 12 points down.

Trevor Ariza added 16 points and nine rebounds, and rookie Mikal Bridges scored nine of his 14 points in the fourth quarter.

Shelvin Mack‘s season-high 21 points led the Grizzlies, who got one more possession after Booker’s big bucket. But Mike Conley missed a long 3-pointer at the horn.

Dillon Brooks scored a season-high 17 points for Memphis, including eight in the fourth quarter.

The leading scorers for both teams were saddled with foul trouble. Conley picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter, and Booker was whistled for his fifth midway through the third quarter.

Isaiah Canaan hit a 3 that gave Phoenix a 61-56 lead in the third period, the Suns’ largest lead of the game.

The Grizzlies responded with an 18-2 run and took a 74-63 lead. The Suns went almost four minutes without a point in the quarter.

Phoenix cut the Grizzlies’ lead to 81-77 at the end of the third, thanks to Jamal Crawford‘s 33-foot heave that swished through the net.

MarShon Brooks followed his own missed free throw and gave the Grizzlies a 10-point lead, 47-37, with 4:15 left in the second quarter. The Grizzlies’ largest lead of the first half was 10 points.

Booker knocked down his first 3 after four misses with 46.5 seconds left in the second, and followed that with a lob to Deandre Ayton with 2.9 seconds. The Suns trailed 56-52 at the break.

 

Grizzlies sign Shelvin Mack as veteran backup point guard

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The Memphis Grizzlies are betting on a big season to come from Mike Conley at the point. Back from missing almost all of last season (primarily due to a sore Achilles), he will need to be both healthy and play at near an All-Star level for Memphis to reach its playoff goals.

Now the Grizzlies have added a little veteran depth behind him in Shelvin Mack, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Mack started slowly but found his role last season in Orlando and was for the Magic what he was for the Jazz and others before — a solid, role-playing backup point guard a coach can trust. He’s a good floor general, works hard on defense, is not a great shooter but hit a respectable 34.5 percent from three last season.

The Grizzlies have Andrew Harrison (on a non-guaranteed contract) and rookie Jevon Carter also at the point.

 

Zach LaVine with game-winning steal, dunk as Bulls beat Magic

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Late Raiders owner Al Davis used to say “speed kills.”

In the NBA, that translates more to athleticism — the elite athletes (by NBA standards) have a massive advantage.

Enter Zach LaVine.

In a tied game 101-101 with 15.2 seconds left in Chicago, Orlando was inbounding the ball and was expected to get the last shot. Jonathan Simmons tried to throw a bounce-pass to Shelvin Mack as he broke out toward midcourt — and LaVine picked his pocket, raced down the court and threw down the game-winning dunk.

Chicago is showing some potential for the future. There’s a long way to go, but there are some reasons for hope.

Spencer Dinwiddie, after facing threat of being forgotten by NBA, flourishing with Nets

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DETROIT – Spencer Dinwiddie looked like he might be finished in the NBA.

Major ACL injury at Colorado? He declared for the 2014 draft while still recovering.

Slipping to the second round? He drew confidence in being the Pistons’ first pick that year and the initial selection of the Stan Van Gundy era in Detroit.

Barely playing with the Pistons in two seasons? He engineered a trade to the Bulls, who needed a backup point guard and had roster room then played well for Chicago’s summer-league team.

But the Bulls traded for Michael Carter-Williams just before the season and waived Dinwiddie, who signed in the D-League. For the first time in years, the player who believed since he was 4 years old he’d make the NBA was neither in the league nor on track to reach it.

Then, the Nets called.

They weren’t offering much – $100,000 guaranteed in exchange for Dinwiddie signing a three-year minimum contract in December 2016. If he lasted a month, the rest of his salary that season ($726,672) would become guaranteed. But the remaining two seasons would remain up to Brooklyn. If Dinwiddie flopped, he’d get waived with a small payout. If he exceeded expectations, he’d be stuck on a cheap contract for years.

“A lot of people don’t make it out of the D-League,” Dinwiddie said. “Or, if I don’t sign it, then what if nobody picks me up? Am I still down there? Am I overseas right now?

“It’s very easy to be forgotten about in this league. There’s a lot of good players all over the world that, whatever reason, didn’t hit off right off the bat, and their careers paid the price for it.

“I was told that there was no other opportunity. There was no other option. So, obviously I wanted to be in the NBA. So, I signed.”

Much to Brooklyn’s benefit. And maybe Dinwiddie’s.

Dinwiddie played relatively well in a narrow role last season, doing enough to show he belonged in the NBA. This year, he’s making his case as an NBA starter.

After injuries to Jeremy Lin and D'Angelo Russell, Dinwiddie became the Nets’ starting point guard. Tasked with greater responsibility, Dinwiddie is playing his best basketball. He averages 13.4 points and 6.4 assists per game, but those marks don’t quite show how he has steadied an erratic team.

Dinwiddie ranks No. 18 overall in real plus-minus – behind only potential All-Stars, Robert Covington, and Tyus Jones and ahead of Karl-Anthony Towns, Kevin Durant, Kemba Walker, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, Andre Drummond, Paul George and Kristaps Porzingis. That isn’t to say Dinwiddie is as good as those stars. But that his production holds its own in such elite company is also revelatory.

Especially considering Dinwiddie’s contract.

He ranks third in real plus-minus among players on minimum salaries, behind only Nikola Jokic and Tyus Jones:

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This makes Dinwiddie an intriguing trade candidate in advance of next month’s deadline.

How helpful would it be to have a credible starting-caliber point guard making just the minimum this year and next? That’d free so much money – below the salary cap and/or luxury-tax line – to spend on other positions.

The Nets aren’t positioned to take advantage. They’re still below the cap and, still recovering from years of lost draft picks, not ready to build a competitive roster. They also might want to tank next season, as they’ll finally keep their own first-rounder in 2019. Plus, Russell is acclimating back into the rotation, and Lin should return next season.

If Dinwiddie no longer fits in Brooklyn, in a sudden reversal, numerous teams should covet him. He’s not sweating whether he gets moved, but whatever happens, it won’t change how he views the Nets.

“I’m forever indebted to Brooklyn for giving me this opportunity,” Dinwiddie said.

Of course, the Nets could keep him. They’re trying to build a culture, and continuity matters for that. They’d also be positioned to extend his contract next December, two years from when he initially signed (as would a team that trades for him).

Dinwiddie’s max extension would follow the same format as Josh Richardson‘s with the Heat and Norman Powell‘s with the Raptors – which were each worth $42 million over four years – though a rising salary cap will lift Dinwiddie’s max slightly. Perhaps, Dinwiddie could get more in unrestricted free agency in 2019. But for someone set to earn around the minimum his first four seasons, an extension would provide nice security.

Dinwiddie isn’t holding his breath for a payday in December, though.

“You know how long a year is?” Dinwiddie said. “A year in the NBA is an eternity. Anything can happen.”

Just look at Dinwiddie’s last year.

“When we first got him, he was really not a confident player,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “Very timid to make plays.”

Now, he’s hitting gamewinners, including one at Detroit on Sunday:

Did that one mean more to him?

“I’ve kind of tip-toed around it. Let’s just be real here,” Dinwiddie said. “I start my career off here. For lack of a better word, I was essentially cut. So how would y’all feel?”

This wasn’t the caretaking point guard the Pistons and Bulls gave up on. Dinwiddie was holding court in the visiting locker room, assured he belonged.

The 6-foot-6 point guard plays with an even keel, steadily using his size advantage offensively and defensively. He’s not flashy, and this doesn’t appear fluky. A sudden jump in 3-point shooting is the easiest way a prolonged hot stretch can be mistaken for a meaningful breakthrough, but Dinwiddie is shooting just 34% from beyond the arc – below his mark last year (38%) and below league average. A high 3-point attempt rate makes his outside shooting helpful, and that’s something he can more easily control than whether the ball goes in.

A more aggressive shot hunter, Dinwiddie can develop as a passer next. Among 284 players who qualify for the assist-per-game lead, Dinwiddie ranks third in assist-to-turnover ratio, behind only Tomas Satoransky and Shelvin Mack. The leaderboard, with assists and turnovers per game noted:

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While that’s helpful in some ways, especially on the young and up-tempo Nets, Dinwiddie doesn’t often enough create quality looks through his passing. He takes what the defense gives him and nothing more.

“He’s not a high-risk guy,” Atkinson said. “It’s just not his personality.”

It’s the same mindset that contributed to Dinwiddie accepting Brooklyn’s team-friendly offer last season.

The Nets couldn’t be happier with the results. Dinwiddie is aware he lost a potential opportunity to prove himself then hit free agency sooner, but he chalks up any thoughts of regret to looking through the lens of 20-20 hindsight.

And no matter what happens through the rest of his minimum contract, he’ll always have Sunday, when he got revenge against the Pistons.

“No hard feelings,” Dinwiddie said before breaking into a slight grin, “especially after a win.”