THURSDAY, 11:51am: Memphis has officially announced its waiver acquisition of Udrih.
WEDNESDAY, 4:13pm: The Grizzlies have claimed Beno Udrih off waivers, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Stein also notes that Metta World Peace has cleared waivers. Memphis absorbs Udrih’s minimum salary, and any giveback the point guard agreed to as part of a buyout agreement with the Knicks is now likely null and void. New York no longer owes Udrih any money, since Memphis has assumed his one-year contract.
World Peace is making slightly more than the minimum and has a player option for next season, so it was far less likely any team would put in a claim. World Peace is now a free agent, and his top choices are reportedly to sign with the Thunder, Spurs or Heat. It’s unclear if any of those teams has mutual interest. The Clippers are reportedly interested, though it appears their top priority is pursuing Danny Granger.
The Grizzlies add a cap hit of $884,293 to their books, likely pushing them over the luxury tax threshold. That wouldn’t have been the case if they had waited to sign Udrih as a free agent after he cleared waivers. The Nuggets and Wizards showed interest in trading for Udrih before the deadline, but we didn’t hear any reports about post-deadline interest in the 31-year-old point guard.
Memphis was willing to make a deadline trade that put the team slightly over the luxury tax, according to TNT’s David Aldridge, and that’s indeed what they appear to have done with their claim of Udrih. Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal believes the move signals a lack of confidence in rookie Nick Calathes to handle the backup point guard duties for the rest of the season (Twitter link).