Mario Chalmers

Greg Oden, Royce White, Others Selected In BIG3 Draft

The BIG3, Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league, completed its draft for the 2019 season on Wednesday night, and a number of noteworthy former NBA players were among the players selected.

Former NBA first overall pick Greg Oden wasn’t the first player picked in the BIG3 draft, but he did come off the board in the first round, going seventh overall to the Aliens, a team whose roster also includes Kendrick Perkins and Shannon Brown.

The No. 1 selection in the BIG3’s draft was former NBA first-rounder Royce White, whose NBA career was cut short after just three games due to battles with mental health and a fear of flying. White will join an Enemies squad led by captain Gilbert Arenas and co-captains Lamar Odom and Perry Jones III.

The following veterans who appeared in at least 100 games during their NBA careers were also selected in the 31-player draft on Wednesday:

  1. Larry Sanders (3 Headed Monsters)
  2. Josh Powell (Killer 3s)
  3. Shawne Williams (Bivouac)
  4. Jamario Moon (Ghost Ballers)
  5. Donte Greene (Killer 3s)
  6. Jason Richardson (Tri-State)
  7. Alan Anderson (Triplets)
  8. Sam Young (Trilogy)
  9. Brandon Rush (Aliens)
  10. Craig Smith (Enemies)
  11. Mario Chalmers (3 Headed Monsters)
  12. C.J. Watson (Killer 3s)
  13. Carlos Arroyo (Trilogy)
  14. Dion Glover (Bivouac)
  15. Bonzi Wells (Tri-State)

A full breakdown of the 2019 BIG3 draft results can be found right here, while the rosters for the 12 teams set to compete in the ’19 season are here.

Mario Chalmers, Josh Smith Sign To Play In BIG3

Former NBA players Mario Chalmers and Josh Smith have both signed on to play in Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball league this summer, according to a series of tweets from the league.

Chalmers, a two-time NBA champion with the Heat, currently plays with Virtus Bologna in Italy and is expected to join the BIG3 once his contract ends in June, as noted by Sportando. The BIG3 schedule is set to begin on June 22.

Chalmers played 66 games with the Grizzlies last season, starting in 10 contests and averaging 7.7 points, 3.7 assists and 21.5 minutes per contest. He played a key role on the Heat’s 2012 and 2013 championship teams, giving the team quality minutes as a starting point guard on both ends of the floor.

Smith, a versatile forward drafted 17th to Atlanta in 2004, holds 13 seasons of NBA experience with the Hawks, Pistons, Rockets, Clippers and Pelicans. He appeared in three games with New Orleans last season, getting waived two weeks after he was signed.

Longtime NBA veterans Joe Johnson and Al Jefferson also signed on to play in the BIG3 on Thursday, adding to a mix of talent that already includes Lamar Odom, Gilbert Arenas, Kendrick Perkins, and others.

The deadline for players to sign with the league is Tuesday, March 19. More player signing announcements are expected to be made in the coming weeks.

Mario Chalmers Will Play In Italy

Veteran guard Mario Chalmers will sign with Italian club Virtus Segafredo Bologna for the rest of the season, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Chalmers has already agreed to terms, Carchia adds, and the move will become official once he passes his physical.

The 32-year-old played 66 games for the Grizzlies last year after recovering from a torn Achilles that forced him to miss the 2016/17 season. Chalmers appeared in 646 total NBA games and is best known for his role on the Heat teams that went to four straight Finals when LeBron James was there.

Chalmers had been hoping to remain in the NBA this season and reportedly had interest from the Nets, Mavericks and Pelicans prior to training camp. He may be counting on a strong showing in Italy to boost his NBA chances.

Southeast Rumors: Waiters, Dedmon, Pope, Satoransky

Heat shooting guard Dion Waiters may not be ready for the beginning of the regular season, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Teammate Briante Weber told Jackson that Waiters, who underwent ankle surgery in January, has not participated in any contact work or pickup games with his teammates. With Dwyane Wade continuing to waffle on whether he’ll re-sign with the team, Miami could pursue other free agent options, Jackson adds, with Jamal Crawford, Mario Chalmers and Joe Johnson among a pool of potential targets.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon, who suffered an avulsion fracture in his left ankle last week, has shed his walking boot, according to a team press release. He will now participate in weight-bearing rehabilitation and then be re-evaluated in two weeks. Dedmon, who will make $7.2MM this season, will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
  • The Magic are close to hiring Bill Pope as their director of pro personnel, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Pope currently holds a similar position with the Kings.
  • Tomas Satoransky will enter camp as the Wizards’ backup point guard but there’s no guarantee he’ll remain in the rotation, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes in a player profile. Satoransky had trouble holding onto that spot last season and newcomer Austin Rivers and Troy Brown Jr. can play the point behind John Wall if needed. There’s also more depth at the wing, reducing the chances of Satoransky seeing action at those positions, Hughes adds.

Nets, Mavs, Pelicans Eyeing Mario Chalmers

The Nets, Mavericks, and Pelicans are among the teams that have shown some interest in unrestricted free agent point guard Mario Chalmers, a source tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link).

Chalmers, 32, suffered a torn Achilles in 2016 and sat out the entire 2016/17 season, but appeared in 66 games for the Grizzlies in 2017/18. His numbers (7.7 PPG, 3.0 APG) were modest and his shooting rates (.379 FG%, .277 3PT%) were well below his career averages, as he gradually made his way back to full speed. However, Spears says that Chalmers is “completely healthy” now.

Addressing his free agency a couple weeks ago, Chalmers said he believed it was “just a matter of time” until he secured an NBA contract. “They [NBA teams] are getting all the young guys, all the big free agents out of the way now,” Chalmers said at the time. “I’m just waiting my turn.”

While Chalmers’ assessment of the market may be accurate, 15-man roster spots around the NBA are drying up, so the veteran isn’t necessarily a lock to receive a guaranteed contract, even at the minimum. He has shown in the past that he’s willing to roll the dice on the right opportunity though — when Chalmers signed with Memphis last July, his contract only featured a partial guarantee of $25K. He earned his full guarantee by making the team’s regular season roster in October.

Southwest Notes: Capela, Rondo, Chalmers, Temple

Rockets CEO Tad Brown sounded an optimistic note regarding negotiations with restricted free agent Clint Capela, Marc Berman of KRIV tweets. While much of the talk surrounding the Rockets in recent days has been focused on the possibility of signing Carmelo Anthony, Capela is a more important piece. He’s the only player on our list of the top 10 free agents this summer who hasn’t signed a contract. Brown believes that will change quickly.

“We love Clint. Clint is a big part of our team…We are very hopeful we’re going to get something done very soon,” Brown told Berman. “I know (Rockets GM) Daryl (Morey) and (Clint’s) representatives are working on that every day.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Rajon Rondo‘s leadership will likely be missed more by the Pelicans than his on-court contributions, according to Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Advocate. The Pelicans believe they can replace Rondo, who signed with the Lakers, at the point with a combination of Elfrid Payton, Jrue Holiday, Ian Clark and Frank Jackson. But Rondo’s innate ability to understand nuances of the game and translate them to teammates, his professionalism in film study and his role in team bonding experiences will be hard to replace, Kushner adds.
  • Former Grizzlies guard Mario Chalmers is confident he’ll find an NBA job even though he remains unsigned, Gary Bedore of the Kansas City Star reports. Chalmers, 32, appeared in 66 games last season with Memphis, averaging 7.7 PPG and 3.0 APG in 21.5 MPG. “It’s just a matter of time,” he told Bedore. “They [NBA teams] are getting all the young guys, all the big free agents out of the way now. I’m just waiting my turn.”
  • Garrett Temple could step into a starting role with the Grizzlies, Peter Edmiston of the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. Temple, who was acquired in a trade with the Kings, can provide above-average defense at the shooting guard spot. Offensively, he will be a factor in catch-and-shoot situations, Edmiston notes. His unselfishness will also facilitate the offensive flow, Edmiston adds.
  • The Mavericks have hired former WNBA head coach Jenny Boucek as assistant to the basketball staff/special projects, Tim McMahon of ESPN tweets. She spent last season as a player development coach with the Kings.

Southeast Notes: Chalmers, Magic, Foster, Hawks

Free agents and former Heat teammates Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers have been working out together in Miami, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel reports. They were Miami’s starting backcourt during its championship runs in 2012 and 2013. Wade finished last season with the Heat, while Chalmers played for the Grizzlies. They have been working out at DBC Fitness, a Miami gym run by David Alexander, one of LeBron James trainers, Winderman notes.

In other news around the Southeast Division:

  • New Magic coach Steve Clifford is bringing in two of his former Hornets assistants in Pat Delany and Steve Hetzel, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Both worked under Clifford the past four seasons. New Knicks coach David Fizdale was interested in bringing on Delany to his staff, Stein adds.
  • Greg Foster will join the staff of new Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce, Marc Spears of ESPN tweets. Foster had been an assistant with the Bucks since 2014.
  • Georgia forward Yante Maten is among the draft prospects the Hawks will work out on Tuesday, according to a team release. Elijah Stewart (USC), Isaiah Wilkins (Virginia), Melvin Frazier (Tulane), Elijah Brown (Oregon) and Trevon Bluiett (Xavier) are also scheduled to visit.

Grizzlies Notes: Evans, Chalmers, Bickerstaff

Throughout the entire second-half of the 2017/18 NBA season (i.e. after the trade deadline), the Grizzlies have maintained that they plan to re-sign guard Tyreke Evans to a new deal this summer, most likely with an offer for the non-taxpayer mid-level exception worth an estimated $8.6MM for the 2018/19 season.

This is because the Grizzlies only possess Non-Bird Rights on Evans, meaning the most they could pay him next season without the MLE or cap room is $3.948MM, 120% more than the $3.29MM he made this season.

And while the optimism in Memphis has not yet publicly waned, Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com writes that general manager Chris Wallace didn’t sound as convincing after the season that a successful pitch would be made to Evans in free agency as he did when he said the same thing after Evans was retained at the trade deadline.

As Wallace points out, Evans is unfortunately probably just as likely to sign a deal similar to Lou Williams – which would fit under the MLE – as he is to signing a one-year, high-paying contract, a la Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, for a team looking to clear cap space for the summer of 2019.

There’s more out of Memphis:

  • In another article for Grizzlies.com, Wallace focuses on veteran Mario Chalmers‘ pending free agency, writing that the soon to be 32-year-old point guard is likely only to return to the Grizzlies, if at all, as an end-of-free-agency option, likely on another minimum-salary contract.
  • New head coach J.B. Bickerstaff has not yet made any decisions on who he plans to hire onto his coaching staff, tweets Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. Bickerstaff was just yesterday officially named head coach.
  • In a full article for The Commercial Appeal, Tillery reports that franchise cornerstone Marc Gasol is pleased with the hiring of Bickerstaff. “J.B. deserves a real shot at this without any restrictions,” Gasol said. “He has earned it… He’s always so positive. He always helps me understand, ‘Do your job. Control what you can control and the rest will take care of itself.’ Our communication has been really good. We’re both going in the same direction. And that’s important.” Both Gasol and Mike Conley were known supporters of Bickerstaff, so Gasol’s contentment should come as no surprise.

Rockets Notes: Trade Market, CP3, Rotation

Although the Rockets had a big win over the Warriors on Saturday night, one January victory is a far cry from beating Golden State in a seven-game series in May. In order to give his team the best possible chance to knock off the defending champions, GM Daryl Morey figures to explore the trade market leading up to the deadline, so ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) surveyed some of Houston’s potential options.

As Marks details, James Harden, Chris Paul, Eric Gordon, and Clint Capela are considered part of the Rockets’ core and won’t go anywhere at the deadline. Several other veterans, including Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker, and Luc Mbah a Moute, are important pieces in the rotation and are also unlikely to be moved. Ryan Anderson‘s contract makes him a potential trade chip, but that’s more likely to happen in 2018/19 than in the next two weeks, in Marks’ view.

That leaves the Rockets, who have already traded their 2018 first-round pick, with few trade assets of note, as Marks acknowledges. The former Nets front office executive points to Mario Chalmers and Arron Afflalo as the sort of smaller-scale trade (or buyout) targets the Rockets could look into in the coming weeks.

Here’s more out of Houston:

  • In an in-depth Paul feature on SI.com, Lee Jenkins writes that Harden’s free agent pursuit of Paul last year began before the offseason started. According to Jenkins, Harden asked CP3 about his free agency plans during the 81st game of the regular season, when the Rockets faced the Clippers.
  • Within the same piece, Jenkins suggests that Paul insists he has no plans to become a coach once his playing career is over. While the cerebral point guard, who already serves as a sort of on-court coach, is viewed as a good fit for that sort of role, he’s not interested in the travel that comes along with it, says Jenkins.
  • With Harden, Paul, and the rest of the key Rockets players healthy – and Ariza and Gerald Green back from their two-game suspensions – Mike D’Antoni has more options at his disposal than he has all season. As Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle details, D’Antoni views that as a “good problem” and may extend his rotation beyond his usual eight or nine players for the next little while.

2018 Free Agent Stock Watch: Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies are in an interesting place as a franchise and how they fare over the course of the next few seasons will have an impact on the team’s lasting legacy.

With $160MM tied up in franchise cornerstones Marc Gasol (32 years old) and Mike Conley (30), the good-but-not-exactly-great club has little choice but to keep retooling its rotation with low-cost players capable of possibly contributing to a second-tier Western Conference squad. More importantly, the Grizzlies have to be ready to promptly move on if those experiments don’t pan out.

Memphis isn’t expected to have any cap space next season, so any progress or roster development will have to come from within. Here’s a look at the team’s players who will hit free agency this summer and which way their value is trending.

Mario Chalmers verticalMario Chalmers, PG, 32 (Up) – Signed to 1-year, $2.1MM deal in 2017
The Grizz brought Chalmers back on board after waiving him in the spring of 2016. After spending last season out of the NBA altogether recovering from an Achilles injury, the former Heat punching bag has stepped into a role as a backup point guard and spot starter. Chalmers lacks the ceiling of a younger prospect and doesn’t contribute consistently enough to qualify as a reliable go-to bench option, so don’t expect any teams to offer big money. Still, that doesn’t mean he’s not capable of landing slightly more than the veteran’s-minimum contract he signed for last summer. If he stays healthy, Chalmers could find other suitors around the league. But with little reliable point guard depth under contract, the Grizzlies may be among those most eager to sign him.

James Ennis, SF, 28 (Down) – Signed to 2-year, $5.9MM deal in 2016
Memphis isn’t afraid to give Ennis a sizable workload, as evidenced by the 23.5 minutes per game he saw last year (which has risen to 26.5 so far in 2017/18), but the small forward isn’t particularly effective with that time on the court. With so many other swingmen on the roster, three of whom were signed just last summer, it doesn’t make much sense for the Grizzlies to commit long-term to the gritty veteran.

Tyreke Evans, SG/SF, 28 (Up) – Signed to 1-year, $3.3MM deal in 2017
The Grizzlies got one of the biggest bargains of the summer when they signed Evans with their bi-annual exception. The biggest issue with Evans, however, is health — he played just 65 games over the course of the previous two seasons. That said, Evans has shown no signs of lingering ailments so far this season and has averaged a head-turning 17.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game in just 28.2 minutes per contest. If Evans keeps up his trademark versatile play for a full season, he’ll yield plenty more on the open market than what Memphis will be able to cover with his Non-Bird rights.

Brandan Wright, PF/C, 30 (Down) – Signed to 3-year, $17.2MM deal in 2015
Having played in just 40 games over the course of the past two seasons – and having been traded twice mid-season the year before that – it’s hard to know what to expect out of Wright. While the big man was once a surprisingly productive reserve, he suddenly qualifies as a 30-year-old journeyman who has made six forgettable stops over the course of 10 NBA seasons. Wright has done an admirable job trying to fill holes in Memphis’ depleted 2017/18 rotation, averaging 13.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per 36 minutes, but given his spotty track record, don’t expect him to net more than the veteran’s minimum next summer.

Player ages as of July 1, 2018. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.