Four of the five Southwest Division teams are in action tonight, including the Rockets, who have a key clash with the Blazers, the team sitting just one game behind them for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Rockets could be getting a boost from one of their lottery picks soon, as we examine along with other news from the Southwest:
WEDNESDAY, 8:07am: Chris Vernon adds yet another name to the list of possibilities for the Grizzlies, tweeting that the club is thinking about signing Josh Childress. Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal also adds (via Twitter) that the Grizzlies' interest in Vujacic is real, and that he'd be given a guarantee if it made financial sense to buy out his contract overseas.
9:39am: Vernon clarifies in a second tweet that there was a misunderstanding between him and his source, and that the Grizzlies are only considering West and Walker, rather than definitely intending to sign them.
9:11am: Because the Grizzlies had already been carrying the minimum 13 players on their roster, their three-for-one trade with the Cavaliers will leave them two players short of the minimum. To fill out the roster, Memphis is expected to sign Delonte West and Bill Walker, reports Chris Vernon of 92.9FM ESPN in Memphis (Twitter link).
According to Vernon, the Grizzlies will also sign Sasha Vujacic, though we heard back in August that Vujacic's contract in Turkey wouldn't let him return to the NBA this season, so it's unclear if that has changed. According to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (via Twitter) and Istanbul-based reporter Ismail Senol (via Twitter), Vujacic won't be leaving Turkey's Anadolu Efes. If they add West and Walker, the Grizzlies would have reached the 13-man minimum, so there'd be no need to immediately add a 14th player anyway.
West, 29, was in camp with the Mavericks this year on a guaranteed minimum-salary contract, but fell out of favor with the team and was released just before the regular season got underway. He had a productive year in Dallas in 2011/12 though, posting a career-high 15.3 PER in 44 games, including 33 starts. Walker, meanwhile, spent most of last season with the Knicks before being released just before the playoffs. The 25-year-old averaged 5.9 PPG in 32 contests for New York in '11/12.
Even if the Grizzlies sign a pair of players to rest-of-season deals, the team shouldn't have to worry about going back over the tax threshold. In each instance, Memphis would only be on the hook for a pro-rated portion of the minimum salary, an amount small enough that the Grizz would remain under the tax line.
Fresh off a solid Olympic performance in London, Australian forward Joe Ingles is drawing interest from several NBA teams, writes The Sydney Morning Herald's Adrian Warren. The 24-year-old forward will play out his upcoming season with Barcelona, but afterwards will likely make a leap to the NBA.
In a tweet, ESPN Radio's Darren Wolfson suggests one solid fit might be the Timberwolves. Minnesota's general manager, David Kahn, has reportedly spoken with Ingles' agent. The 6'8" Ingles showed a complete offensive repetoire in the Olympics, averaging 15 PPG, 5 RPG, and 4 APG throughout the tournament.