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.
The Timberwolves have waived Josh Howard after an MRI revealed a torn ACL, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (Twitter link). CBS's Ken Berger also tweeted that Howard will need season-ending surgery. The 6'7 swingman, who had been signed last month, suffered his injury in a game against the Hornets just a few days ago. Since joining Minnesota, Howard had averaged 6.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and nearly 1 steal per game in 18.8 MPG, reaching double figure scoring in three out of 11 games.
After hearing the news of Howard's injury, head coach Rick Adelman told reporters that the team is now in need of a back up small forward who is capable of guarding wing players, but also mentioned that there haven't been any discussions regarding what management will do next. While Michael Redd may not be known for his defensive abilities, Zgoda suggests that the former Bucks and Suns player could be a possible consideration. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN added that whether or not it will be Redd, a new addition will be likely (all the Twitter links).
The Celtics recently snatched Leandro Barbosa off the free agent market, ensuring that perhaps the most prominent name among the remaining unsigned players has a job this season. However, there are still a number of players who not only are free agents, but haven't even participated in training camp with a team.
Along with the players who have yet to sign a contract this offseason, plenty of recent camp cuts have become unrestricted free agents again, further saturating the market. While many of the names on our list of free agents likely won't play for NBA teams this year, odds are that at least a couple will sign with contenders and potentially have an impact later in the season.
So today's poll question is this: Which of the remaining free agents do you expect will make the most significant impact this season? Make your pick below and feel free to explain your choice in the comments section.
It's Media Day for many NBA teams, which means we're in store for plenty of news and notes today, along with a handful of quotes from players in the "best shape of their lives." In the meantime, here are a few updates from some Western Conference clubs:
According to the team's official website, Lakers guard Steve Blake suffered a puncture wound after stepping on a spike strip in a parking lot. The statement says Blake will be restricted from team activities for at least three weeks. Despite not being one of the bigger names on Los Angeles' roster, Blake's role as the team's veteran backup point guard is quite important, especially considering incoming starter Steve Nash's inability to log major minutes.
Here are a few more Monday odds and ends from around the NBA:
A few Monday afternoon odds and ends from around the NBA:
The Wizards reportedly have interest in Martell Webster, as we heard earlier today, and they're also among a handful of teams in the mix for Michael Redd. Michael Lee of The Washington Post confirms the team's interest in those two and says the team is also considering Terrence Williams and Shawne Williams.
Lee reports the Wizards are watching a number of free agents as they consider whether to add a player to their roster, which stands at 13. They have about $3MM in cap room, but plan to sign someone for the minimum, Lee says. That would make it hard to corral Anthony Tolliver, another player on Washington's radar, since agent Larry Fox has said his client isn't “in the minimum game.”
Terrence Williams hasn't drawn much interest this summer, though a report early last month linked him to the Kings, Pistons and Suns. The Kings signed Williams, the 11th overall pick in the 2009 draft, this past season after he was waived by the Rockets. He put up solid numbers in 20.5 minutes per game for Sacramento, averaging 8.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 18 contests, but the team elected not to give him a qualifying offer before June 30th, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Shawne Williams opted in to the final year of his contract with the Blazers, worth $3.135MM, but became a free agent last month when the Blazers bought him out last month. Williams missed most of 2011/12 with a left foot injury, and was sent from the Nets to Portland in the Gerald Wallace deal at the trade deadline. He appeared in 25 games before the injury and shot poorly, with a percentage line of just .286/.241/.727 compared to the .426/.401/.837 he put up in 2010/11 with the Knicks.
After seeing his playing time and production decline significantly due to injuries during his previous three seasons, Michael Redd had a bit of a bounceback year in Phoenix in 2011/12, averaging 8.2 points in just 15.1 minutes per game. Those numbers should be enough to earn him another NBA contract, and according to Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio, there are a number of potential suitors in play. While Amico says the Cavs don't have interest, he lists the Nuggets, Wizards, Grizzlies, Bulls, and Thunder as possible fits (Sulia link).
I outlined yesterday why the Nuggets could use a shooter, and I could see the Wizards and Grizzlies wanting to add a little more size at the two. While we heard of the Bulls' interest earlier in the summer, I can't see them as a real possibility at this point, considering their cap situation -- they'd have to trade away a player before they'd even have room to sign Redd. As for the Thunder, they could add one more backcourt player to replace Derek Fisher, as Amico notes, adding that he wouldn't be surprised to see Fisher end up in San Antonio.
Redd is probably unlikely to land more than a minimum-salary deal this offseason, which may limit his earnings, but should open up plenty of options. While a number of teams no longer have cap space or mid-level exceptions available, clubs can use the minimum salary exception as many times as they like.
As we wait for basketball action to resume at the London Olympics, let's round up a few of Wednesday's stories out of the Pacific Division....