- Unheralded offseason addition Troy Daniels has given the Grizzlies little choice but to expand his role with the organization, writes Blake Meyer of FanSided’s Beale St. Blues. Through 31 games, Daniels has given Memphis 10.1 points in less than 20 minutes per game and, according to Kevin Pelton of ESPN, has had a dramatic impact on the team’s plus-minus.
When Mike Conley signed a five-year mega-deal with the Grizzlies last summer, making him the NBA’s highest-paid player, the deal was met with some backlash. However, as Conley tells ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, it wasn’t the first time that NBA fans and observers had questioned whether he was worth the investment — his initial four-year extension with Memphis received the same kind of scrutiny.
“The first go-round prepared me for the same type of situation, where I knew that it would take a lot of backlash and there would be a lot of people who don’t know who I am,” said the Grizzlies point guard. “Never heard of me or whatever. Now all of a sudden this guy is paid more than everybody else. So I just prepared myself and took it as a challenge, just took it as an opportunity, to use it and be the best player I can be. … It does take a special mentality to be able to understand and handle the moment, handle the situation. It could eat a lot of people up. I try to stay in the positive. In the now. I think of all the work that all the sacrifice that took me to the position to [have] this opportunity. That validates my contract for me.”
- There are a couple of health-related notes out of Memphis as well, as Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports (via Twitter) that there’s still no timetable for Brandan Wright‘s return. Rookie big man Deyonta Davis, on the other hand, has made an early recovery from a foot injury that sidelined him in December — he was active on Wednesday night and available to play for the Grizzlies, though he didn’t see any action.
Here are Thursday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:
- The Warriors have assigned rookie center Damian Jones to their D-League affiliate, according to a team-issued press release. The big man has made four starts with the Santa Cruz Warriors so far this season.
- The Rockets have recalled rookie big man Chinanu Onuaku from the D-League, the team announced today (via Twitter). The 2016 second-rounder, who has earned a spot in highlight packages with his underhanded free throws, has averaged a double-double (11.8 PPG, 10.5 RPG) in 19 games for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers this season.
- The Grizzlies have assigned Wade Baldwin and Troy Williams to the Iowa Energy, according to a press release issued by the team. The duo should get a chance to suit up for Memphis’ D-League affiliate tonight against the L.A. D-Fenders.
- Richaun Holmes, who is recovering from a concussion, has been recalled from the D-League by the Sixers, according to a team release. Holmes had 14 points and seven rebounds for the Delaware 87ers on Wednesday night, and was apparently deemed ready to return to the NBA.
- The Knicks recalled Maurice Ndour from the D-League after sending him down on Wednesday, the team announced (via Twitter). Ndour had a big game for Westchester last night, posting 26 points and nine rebounds.
- Rookie forward Georges Niang has been sent to the D-League, according to a press release issued by the Pacers. Although he has played sparingly for Indiana so far, Niang has spent most of the season with the NBA club — this is just his second NBADL assignment.
- The Pistons have recalled first-round rookie Henry Ellenson from the D-League, the team announced today in a press release. Ellenson recorded 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Grand Rapids Drive, Detroit’s D-League affiliate, in a Wednesday victory.
Here are Wednesday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:
- The Lakers have re-assigned rookie big man Ivica Zubac to the D-League (Twitter link). Zubac will be in uniform for the L.A. D-Fenders tomorrow night for the team’s game against Iowa.
- The Pistons officially announced in a press release this afternoon that they’ve sent Henry Ellenson to the Grand Rapids Drive. As Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets, fellow rookie Michael Gbinije likely would’ve joined him, but he’s battling a forearm injury.
- Forward Troy Williams has been recalled by the Grizzlies from his assignment with the Iowa Energy, per a team release. Williams averaged 24.3 PPG in three games during his D-League stint, including 32 in 28 minutes on December 27.
- Richaun Holmes, who has completed and passed all the elements of the NBA’s concussion protocol, has been assigned to the D-League by the Sixers, the team announced today in a press release. While some NBADL rehab assignments don’t include game action, the Sixers suggest that Holmes is expected to suit up tonight for the Delaware 87ers.
- A pair of Nuggets rookies, Malik Beasley and Juan Hernangomez, have been assigned to the D-League, according to a press release. Despite having a fairly young roster, Denver hasn’t used the D-League much this season, since the team doesn’t have its own affiliate. Beasley and Hernangomez will join the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s NBADL squad.
- The Raptors have sent Bruno Caboclo and Fred VanVleet back to the D-League, the team announced today (via Twitter). The duo has bounced back and forth between the NBA and NBADL all season — it’s the 13th D-League assignment for Caboclo and the ninth for VanVleet.
- Maurice Ndour is headed to the D-League, having been assigned to Westchester today by the Knicks (Twitter link). New York’s D-League affiliate is in action tonight against Grand Rapids, and Ndour is expected to suit up for the game.
- The Suns have assigned rookie forward Derrick Jones to the D-League, the team announced today (Twitter link). It’s the fourth NBADL assignment of the season for Jones, who has averaged 14.0 PPG and 6.1 RPG in 14 games for Northern Arizona.
- Chandler Parsons, who signed a max contract with the Grizzlies over the summer, missed 25 games this season because of injuries and he’s shooting a career low 34.7% from the field in the 11 games he has been able to play. However, Parsons remains optimistic that he can turn the season around, as he tells Sam Amick of USA Today. “I’m obviously not hitting at a high rate, and I’ve been an efficient player my entire career,” Parsons said. “But it’s the law of averages, man. Let me keep playing. I ain’t gonna shoot this bad for the rest of the year.”
- JaMychal Green has played well for the Grizzlies this season, but Joe Mullinax of SB Nation wonders if Green should be part of the team’s long-term plans. Green will be a restricted free agent this offseason and Mullinax speculates that the power forward will command an annual salary of at least $10MM, a figure that could be too pricey for Memphis.
The Grizzlies need Marc Gasol‘s injured ankle to heal as quickly as possible, writes Sam Amick of USA Today. Gasol rolled his left ankle in Saturday’s game, providing a scare for the team’s top player this season. The 32-year-old center is averaging a career high in points and rebounds, while anchoring the NBA’s top defense. X-rays were negative and Gasol was listed as day-to-day with a sprained ankle, according to ESPN. “It hurts, but it’s not broken,” Gasol said. “It’s tender right now, so we will take it day-to-day, just like always.”
There’s more out of the Western Conference:
- The contracts for Grizzlies Vince Carter and JaMychal Green both became guaranteed today, tweets Bobby Marks of The Vertical. Carter will make $4,264,057 this season, while Green will collect $980,431. Both players will become free agents when the season ends.
- The Kings are planning to give more playing time to rookie guard Malachi Richardson, writes James Ham of CSNBayArea. Richardson has gotten into just five games with Sacramento, averaging 6.4 minutes. But he has played well in the D-League, with 21 points per night in 11 games, and coach Dave Joerger is ready to give him a chance at the NBA level. “I think that it’s time for Malachi to get into the rotation, especially with Rudy [Gay] out,” Joerger said. “That’s something that you’ll see, probably, going forward.”
- Agent Rich Kleiman will leave Roc Nation to become the manager and business partner for the Warriors‘ Kevin Durant, according to Mark J. Burns of SportTechie (Twitter links). The agency will continue to represent Durant.
Here are Wednesday’s D-League assignments and recalls from across the NBA:
- The Grizzlies have recalled Wade Baldwin from the Iowa Energy, according to the team’s website. The rookie has appeared in 20 games for the Memphis this season, and he’s seeing 14.5 minutes per contest.
- The Cavaliers have sent rookie point guard Kay Felder to the Canton Charge, according to a press release issued by the team. It’s the first D-League assignment of the season for Felder, who has appeared in 14 games for Cleveland.
- A day after being assigned to the D-League, rookie center Damian Jones was recalled by the Warriors, the team announced today in a press release. Jones contributed to Santa Cruz’ win on Tuesday night, chipping in eight points and four boards before fouling out.
- The Celtics have re-assigned Jordan Mickey to the NBADL, the team announced today (via Twitter). Mickey, who has played sparingly for Boston this season, has averaged 16.0 PPG and 12.0 RPG in his two contests with the Maine Red Claws.
- Ivica Zubac will suit up for the Los Angeles D-Fenders tonight, having been assigned to the Lakers‘ D-League affiliate today (Twitter link via Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News). The 2016 second-rounder has played well in eight D-League games this year, averaging 16.8 PPG and 9.5 RPG.
Serbian forward Rade Zagorac didn’t join the Grizzlies right away when the team used the 35th overall pick in the 2016 draft to select him. However, agent Misko Raznatovic believes it’s very likely that his client will head to Memphis in the summer of 2017 to join his NBA team. Raznatovic said as much during a conversation with Sasa Ozmo of SportKlub.rs (translation via Sportando).
“It is almost certain that Rade Zagorac will sign with the Grizzlies next year,” Raznatovic said. “In the NBA it is called [a] ‘verbal commitment’ – unlike in Europe, where verbal agreements don’t mean much, in the USA they stick to what was agreed in regard to plan of development of a certain player. That is the main reason why Zagorac stayed in Mega, so that he could go to the NBA next season.”
Zagorac, whose rights were acquired by the Grizzlies in a draft-night trade that also sent No. 31 pick Deyonta Davis to Memphis, has been the leading scorer for KK Mega Leks in Serbia this season. In 14 ABA League games, he has averaged 15.4 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 2.8 APG.
Shortly after he was selected by the Grizzlies this summer, Zagorac told Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal that he felt like the “best solution” for his development was to play one more season in Europe before heading to the NBA in 2017, so he and his agent have been eyeing that possibility for some time. If Memphis does add Zagorac next year, the team will have to use cap room or an exception to sign him, since he’s not subject to the rookie scale.
Here are Monday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA, with the latest moves added to the top of the list throughout the day:
- The Clippers have assigned rookie center Diamond Stone to the Salt Lake City Stars, according to the team’s website. He previously played four games with Santa Cruz, as the Clippers don’t have a direct affiliate in the D-League. The 40th pick in this year’s draft, Stone has appeared in four games for L.A.
- The Kings have recalled Skal Labissiere and Georgios Papagiannis from Reno, tweets James Ham of CSNBayArea. Labissiere was activated for tonight’s game, but Papagiannis was not.
- The Grizzlies have assigned Troy Williams to Iowa Energy, the team announced on its website. Up to this point, the undrafted rookie has played 24 games for Memphis and started 13 of them.
- The Nets sent Chris McCullough back to their D-League affiliate today, the team announced in a press release. McCullough, who is playing in the Long Island Nets’ afternoon game, could be recalled prior to tonight’s contest between Charlotte and Brooklyn, which would allow him to suit up for both Nets teams today.
Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. has a bone bruise in his left knee and will be out indefinitely, the team announced on its website. He suffered the injury Tuesday in Charlotte. Nance had an MRI today to confirm the injury, but further results were limited because of swelling. He will be re-evaluated Sunday, and the Lakers plan to issue an update on availability after that examination. Nance has played in 28 of the team’s 31 games this season, all off the bench.
There’s more injury news from around the NBA:
- Dirk Nowitzki won’t play tonight, but the Mavericks hope to have him back soon, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Nowitzki is almost fully recovered from a strained right Achilles and could play Friday against the Clippers or Monday against the Pelicans. “I’ll probably get a good workout tonight and see how it responds,” Nowitzki said. “I’ll probably get my first practice [Thursday] and see how it feels, basically go from day to day. It’s been encouraging. It hasn’t gotten worse from some of the stuff we’ve been doing. Hopefully, I’ll be out there soon.”
- Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons is active for tonight’s game with the Pistons, tweets Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Parsons, who was still recovering from offseason surgery on his right knee when the season started, has appeared in just six games. He suffered a bone bruise on his left knee shortly after returning.
- Thunder guard Victor Oladipo says his injured right wrist is improving, but he will sit out his fifth straight game tonight, writes Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. Despite his optimism, coach Billy Donovan said there has been “no change at all in terms of what he can and can’t do” since suffering the injury in a December 11th game. “He is getting better,” Donovan said. “I don’t want to come across like he’s not. There is improvement there, but it’s not at a point where he can do enough in terms of catching, passing, shooting, playing right now.”
- Back tightness forced Hawks center Dwight Howard to sit out tonight for the second straight game, according to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s a lot better than it was a couple days ago,” Howard said. “It continues to get better.” Howard, who signed a three-year, $70.5MM deal with the Hawks in July, has had back issues before. In 2014/15, back and knee problems limited him to 41 games with the Rockets.
- The Jazz expect to have point guard George Hill back in the lineup soon, although it may not happen until next week, report Aaron Falk and Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. Hill went through an intense workout Tuesday as he tries to overcome a sprained toe that has sidelined him for nearly a month.
- Wizards center Ian Mahinmi had platelet-rich plasma treatments on both knees this morning, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Knee problems have limited him to just one game after signing a four-year, $64MM contract this summer.