The Grizzlies‘ desire for a first-round pick and their insistence on not taking back unwanted salary were behind the failure to trade Tyreke Evans before the deadline, according to Chris Herrington of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Memphis is counting on using its $8.6MM mid-level exception to sign a free agent this summer and doesn’t want to get close to the luxury tax threshold. The team already has more than $101MM in committed salary for next season.
Herrington adds that GM Chris Wallace wanted a quality first-rounder in exchange for Evans, rather than multiple second-rounders, because the roster is already stuffed with young players. The Grizzlies were disappointed that the offers they got for Evans were no better than what they received for Courtney Lee two years ago.
Memphis won’t be able to offer Evans more than the MLE this offseason, but he may find that enticing as a way to build up Bird rights, which allow teams to exceed the cap to re-sign their own players. He doesn’t have them now because he joined the Grizzlies on a one-year contract, but he can get Early Bird rights if signs with Memphis for one more season or full Bird rights if he stays two more.
There’s more from the Southwest Division:
- The Mavericks see plenty of potential in Doug McDermott, who was acquired from the Knicks in a three-team trade Thursday, relays Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Coach Rick Carlisle wants to give McDermott more time at power forward, which was his position in college, rather than small forward, where he has mostly been used in the NBA. “I like what he was doing,” Carlisle said. “Offensively, he really is a guy you’ve got to pay attention to. Moves great off the ball. Really one of the quickest releases on his shot I’ve seen. There’s just a few guys who get rid of it that quick. I think he’s just a good mix with the guys that we have here.”
- Lakers forward Julius Randle impressed Dallas fans with 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in Saturday’s game, Townsend notes in the same story. Randle, a Dallas native, will be a restricted free agent this summer and is reportedly on the Mavericks‘ radar. “I don’t care where it is,” Randle said about playing well in Dallas. “I’m just going to try to bring it every night, just be as consistent as possible.”
- Carlisle is impressed with the collection of talent in Houston, where the Rockets are about to add Joe Johnson and Brandan Wright once they clear waivers, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “Two really potent signings this time of year,” Carlisle said. “Houston, they’re loading up. They’re right there. It’s an exciting time for them.