Southwest Notes: Grizzlies, Rockets, Baynes

The absence of Nick Calathes for the first 13 games because of his suspension will leave the Grizzlies thin at the point, and there’s a decent chance it’ll have an effect on how many players the team carries out of camp, coach Dave Joerger admits. Joerger shared his thoughts in a subscription-only Q&A with Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal.

“We might need an insurance policy,” Joerger said. “But you’ve got some guys that come in and one area affects the other because we have 14 spots [filled]. We can only keep one. If one guy wows you in an area, then you’re dealing with risk/reward. You might be kind of naked with two point guards. Can Courtney [Lee] swing over there? I don’t know. Being at the [luxury] tax and having 14 roster spots, it’ll be interesting.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest Division:

  • The Rockets granted Akil Mitchell a partial guarantee worth $150K on his deal, which runs two seasons at the minimum salary, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports. The guarantee, fairly sizable for a player of his caliber, might be an enticement for Mitchell to end up playing for the team’s D-League affiliate, Pincus speculates.
  • John Holland has a $20K partial guarantee on his minimum-salary contract with the Spurs, which runs for two seasons, Pincus reports (Twitter link).
  • In the same tweet, Pincus confirms his earlier report that the Spurs used part of their $5.035MM mid-level exception rather than Early Bird rights to sign Aron Baynes. That’s even though he’ll make precisely $2.077MM, the amount of the biannual exception, on his one-year deal. It’s curious, since using Early Bird rights would have allowed the Spurs to preserve their mid-level, and thus greater flexibility for signing free agent target Ray Allen or someone else, so perhaps there are more details at play that have yet to be reported.
  • Mavs owner Mark Cuban believes his team has been the beneficiary of the unwillingness of other NBA clubs to show patience with young talent that’s yet to blossom, as he told reporters, including Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. “I think one of the things we’ve been really good at is finding what I call fallen angels, guys who other teams had a lot of aspirations for but for whatever reason couldn’t fit,” Cuban said. “Al [Al-Farouq Aminu] was the first call I made when free agency hit. These are guys that I think, even though they don’t have big names and not everybody knows who they are, are going to have big impacts, and I think that’s one way you get younger.”

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