Veteran free agent Toney Douglas, initially identified as one of a handful of available point guards being considered by the Grizzlies, has emerged as the frontrunner to be signed by the team, according to Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com (via Twitter). Memphis could add Douglas to its roster in the coming days if the team gets approval for a hardship exception in the coming days, says Wallace.
Grizzlies starting point guard Mike Conley is expected to miss at least six weeks with a back injury, leaving rookies Andrew Harrison and Wade Baldwin to man the point in Memphis. Harrison has held his own as Conley’s backup this year, but the Grizzlies have been much less effective without Conley on the floor, and appear to be interested in adding a veteran to complement their young duo.
Norris Cole, who started his career with the Heat when Memphis head coach David Fizdale was an assistant in Miami, was the first point guard mentioned as a potential candidate to join the Grizzlies, and became available this week when he was released by his team in China. It now appears that the Grizz are leaning toward Douglas instead of Cole, though nothing has been finalized yet.
Douglas, 30, was a teammate of Cole’s on the Pelicans last season, averaging 8.7 PPG and 2.6 APG for New Orleans, while shooting a career-best 39.9% on three-pointers. The former first-round pick was with the Cavaliers in camp this season, but was waived by the team during the preseason roster cutdown.
Although the Grizzlies currently have a full 15-man roster, they’ll soon be eligible to ask the NBA to grant them a hardship exception. This rule allows teams to apply for an extra roster spot when at least four injured players have missed three or more consecutive games, and will continue to miss time. Chandler Parsons, James Ennis, and Brandan Wright meet that criteria already, with Conley – and possibly Vince Carter – set to join them after Saturday’s game.