JaMychal Green

Grizzlies, in need of third center, sign Michael Holyfield

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Grizzlies, despite their reputation as large and interior-oriented, had fewer centers last season than most teams.

Starter Marc Gasol is back. Brandan Wright is now the backup, replacing Kosta Koufos, who signed with the Kings.

But Memphis didn’t really have a third center. Jon Leuer, a slim power forward, nominally filled the role, and the Grizzlies traded him to the Suns.

Have they found a true third center?

Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders:

If the Grizzlies keep Holyfield into the regular season, that one-year minimum contract will essentially become a standard contract.

Can he stick?

Memphis has 14 players with guaranteed contracts plus JaMychal Green ($150,000 guaranteed). Green’s guarantee gives him a leg up.

So does his ability. Holyfield faces a steep increase in competition from the Southland Conference. His size advantage is much less pronounced in the NBA, and he has yet to show the skills necessary to handle it.

But Memphis could use a third center for insurance. Gasol is on the wrong side of 30. Wright, though healthy last season, played just 58, 64, 49, 37, 39 and 38 games in his other six NBA seasons. Zach Randolph could handle the position if pressed, but that’s not ideal.

It makes sense for the Grizzlies to waive Holyfield and assign his D-League rights to their affiliate, the Iowa Energy. It also makes sense for Memphis to find a third center, someone better than Holyfield. Until the latter happens, I wouldn’t consider the former a total lock.

John Wall felt disrespected by Grizzlies resting starters

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Facing the Wizards on national television last night, the Grizzlies rested Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen and didn’t play Mike Conley due to an injury he played through the day before.

The result? A 108-87 Washington victory.

John Wall was pleased with the win, but not exactly how it came.

Wall, via J Michael of CSN Washington:

“That’s how I see it,” said John Wall when asked if he felt Memphis disrespected them by trotting out a starting lineup of Beno Udrih, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green, JaMychal Green and Kosta Koufos. “They sit them, I don’t really know the reason why. We’re a team that’s on the rise and teams respect us now and then they don’t respect us. We just wanted to come out and play basketball the right way and get the win no matter what.”

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It’s interesting Wall finds Memphis’ strategy so reprehensible. That’s probably indicative of the Wizards’ old-school ways. At least it’s also a sign Wall continues to buy into Randy Wittman’s approach.

The Grizzlies probably cared very little about their opponent when determining whether or not to rest their key players. More importantly, they were on the second leg of a back-to-back and playing their seventh game in 10 days.

If anything, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Grizzlies – deep in a discussion they wouldn’t make public – rested their players in part because the Wizards are so good. If you’re going to throw away a game, it makes some sense to do it against a team you’re less likely to beat anyway.

Aron Baynes re-signs with Spurs for one year

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When Eric Bledsoe re-signed with the Suns, Aron Baynes became the last free agent with an outstanding qualifying offer.

The Spurs waited as Baynes explored overseas options. They considered signing Gustavo Ayon as a replacement. They discussed a sign-and-trade.

And finally, they got a deal done.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Shams Charania of RealGM:

Baynes gives the Spurs 14 of 15 players back from last year’s championship team, the only difference being rookie Kyle Anderson replacing Damion James, who signed with the Wizards.

In addition to those 15 players with guaranteed contracts, San Antonio also has JaMychal Green ($60,000 guaranteed), Bryce Cotton ($50,000 guaranteed) and Josh Davis ($20,000 guaranteed).

At one point, I thought there was a chance the Spurs would waive Baynes if he accepted the qualifying offer in order to keep one of those three. But considering they offered him more than his qualifying offer ($1,115,243), there are strong indications they want to keep him.

The Spurs even exceeded the max they could pay Baynes through early bird rights ($1,380,526), meaning they dipped into the mid-level or bi-annual exception. The bi-annual exception is worth $2,077,000, so – if Stein is rounding – it’s possible Baynes took that. However, that would prevent San Antonio from using it next summer. Considering they probably have no use for the mid-level exception at this point, the Spurs probably paid Baynes through that.

Report: Spurs open to signing-and-trading Aron Baynes

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Eric Bledsoe draws most of the attention for remaining on the market as a restricted free agent.

But Spurs center Aron Baynes is the other free agent with a qualifying offer on the table.

Any time by Oct. 1, Baynes can sign a guaranteed one-year, $1,115,243 contract with San Antonio. Until then, he’s looking for a bigger deal overseas, but that NBA offer is in his back pocket.

The Spurs are exploring their options, too.

I’d hope so.

The Spurs already have 17 players, so if Baynes accepts the qualifying offer, they’ll be in an even tighter squeeze to reach the regular-season roster limit of 15. Sure, waiving JaMychal Green, Bryce Cotton and Josh Davis – each of whom has a small guarantee – wouldn’t drastically harm the Spurs. But I’d guess San Antonio wants more roster flexibility than that entering training camp.

I also figure the Spurs aren’t just exploring sign-and-trades. If they can find Baynes a job overseas, they’d have the option of submitting a qualifying offer next offseason to keep him a restricted free agent. Maybe then, their roster will be more conducive to adding Baynes.

That seems more feasible than finding Baynes an NBA landing spot now. I doubt he agrees to a sign-and-trade unless he makes as much as the qualifying offer would pay, and few – if any – NBA teams are likely to desire him that much.

But, hey, Baynes just had a nice World Cup for Australia, and that earned Joe Ingles a contract of his liking. Maybe it will work for both.