On Wednesday, the first major trade of the season was consummated as the Grizzlies shipped Rudy Gay and Hamed Haddadi to the Raptors for Jose Calderon to Ed Davis, then sent Calderon to the Pistons for Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye. Here are the latest updates on the involved teams in light of the blockbuster deal:
The Grizzlies kept their core intact, but gave up some depth, when they sent Marreese Speights and Wayne Ellington to Cleveland earlier this week to sneak under the luxury-tax line. That lack of depth didn't hurt the team on Wednesday, in a 106-93 win over the Lakers. The new-look Grizzlies will face their second test tonight at home against the Nets, in what figures to be one of the best games on the evening's schedule. Here are the latest updates out of Memphis:
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 Thunder, Lakers, Spurs, and Celtics are considered the most dangerous threats to the Heat this season, but ESPN.com's Tom Haberstroh thinks he's put together the team most capable of knocking off the defending champs. In an Insider-only piece, Haberstroh puts together a squad of "Heat Beaters" that adheres to the NBA's salary cap rules by surrounding a pair of superstars (Chris Paul and Dwight Howard) with a number of players on rookie-scale deals, including Serge Ibaka, Taj Gibson, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard.
Here are a few other Thursday links from around the league:
The NBA escape clause in Sasha Vujacic's contract overseas has expired, meaning the former Lakers and Nets guard won't be coming back to the NBA this season, reports Rigas Dardalis of Eurohoops.net (hat tip to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). The deal with Anadolu Efes of Turkey allowed Vujacic to explore NBA opportunities until July 31st.
This spring, the 28-year-old Vujacic expressed interest in a return to the NBA after having spent 2011/12 overseas, but found no takers. He'll have at least one familiar face around this season in Turkey, since he'll again be teaming with Jordan Farmar. The pair were also teammates in New Jersey and L.A.
Vujacic averaged career highs of 9.8 points, 2.0 assists and 24.6 minutes per game in 2010/11, his last NBA season.
After playing in the NBA for the previous seven seasons, Sasha Vujacic signed a deal with Turkish team Anadolu Efes Istanbul during the NBA lockout. Although his contract keeps him overseas for this season, Vujacic intends to return to the NBA next year, he tells Kosarka.si (Slovenian link, via Sportando).
According to Sportando's translation of Vujacic's comments, the longtime Laker said, "I am happy and satisfied with my experience in Turkey, but my wish is to go back to the NBA next season."
Vujacic, 28, has played in 476 NBA games for the Lakers and Nets, averaging 5.6 points in 15.9 minutes per game over the course of his career. The former first-round pick will be an unrestricted free agent for NBA teams when his contract in Turkey expires.