Posts tagged: Memphis Grizzlies
Signing Mike Conley to a five-year, $45 million contract extension is akin to spending $150 on a hot dog. Or $100 on a single gallon of gas. Or $1,000 on a new pair of Nike cross-trainers. Or $5,000 on an iPod. Or $300,000 on a used Toyota Corrola. Ahh, don’t stop me now! I’m just getting started!
It’s one of the most inconceivable contracts in professional sports history and the latest reason the owners should have severe difficulties getting the players’ union to agree to any salary cuts. Five years and $45 million to a mediocre (at best) point guard who has never had a single impressive NBA season? From a team that supposedly lost enough money last year to be considered for contraction? Call this the Michael Heisley Effect, or the Chris Wallace Effect, or just plain stupid… or simply thank your lucky stars that the men who run the Memphis Grizzlies don’t also run your favorite team.
That’s what I’m doing. I woke up to a tweet, “Mike Conley, $45 million” and — in the words of Jason Whitlock — I cackled, rolled a blunt and made a mental note to write Danny Ainge a thank-you letter. Conley signed for $45 million in an NBA economy that pays Rajon Rondo only $55 million. In other terms, for the amount of money the Griz will spend on Conley each of the next five years, Ainge signed Delonte West, Shaquille O’Neal, Nate Robinson and Marquis Daniels. Yeah, that’s right. All of them.
So here it is, my thank-you note.
Dear Danny Ainge,
Thank you for keeping the Celtics’ core together. I don’t know what the Celtics would have looked like if you’d traded Ray Allen last season, but I’m glad the Big Three stayed intact.
Thank you for trading Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes and a bunch of scrubs for Kevin Garnett. That trade won us a championship. I say “us” like I’m on the team, which of course I know I’m not, but I sure felt like I was while I watched the 38-point Game 6 smackdown. But the Celtics (I stopped myself from saying we) wouldn’t have won a championship without Ray Allen. So I thank you for that trade, too.
Thank you for replenishing the C’s bench this offseason. Even if it was with a bunch of loose cannons. With their age, the C’s needed some depth. Badly.
Thank you for keeping Doc Rivers around. Not this year, which I assume was his decision alone, but three years ago, when the Big Three first joined together. We fans didn’t know it back then (as we clamored for Doc’s firing), but he’s the perfect coach for this crew. At the time, Danny, I figure you were the only person who saw that.
Thank you for signing Scal. Okay, maybe the big redhead didn’t deserve $15 million (or anything close to it). But the Scal Era was enjoyable, no?
Thank you for swindling Rajon Rondo’s agent. (Who should absolutely be fired for Rondo’s current contract.) If Rondo had gone to the open market, he would have drawn a max contract. Instead, the Celtics kept him for a bi-annual exception more than Conley money. That was robbery, Danny. You should be in jail.
Thank you for drafting serviceable (at least) players in the second round. When one man finds Ryan Gomes, Glen Davis, Leon Powe, Bill Walker, Semih Erden and Gabe Pruitt, all in the second round, it can’t be called lucky. Okay, I kid about Pruitt. But all those other guys should have long, productive careers. And you found them, Danny.
Most importantly, thank you for taking over the GM position from Chris Wallace. Just think about it, Danny. If Wallace were still in Boston, none of this would have happened. Instead of building a title contender in Boston like you did, Danny, Wallace would have been busy offering puke-worthy, five year, $45 million contracts to mediocre players. Or trading for alcoholics with max contracts (I’m looking at you, Vin Baker).
So thank you, Danny Ainge. From the bottom of my heart. Celtics fans everywhere should thank you for their contender, maybe more so than they should thank anybody else.
Jay King and the Celtics Town community
The Morning Walkthrough is a set of links to Boston Celtics articles throughout the internet, designed to get your day started the right way.
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “As for Shaq, he spent another day in the pool, keeping his wind up by swimming alongside Kendrick Perkins and strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo. That limitied the wear and tear on a knee bruised during a fourth-quarter collision with Amare Stoudemire Friday night. Shaq’s waiting for the soreness to subside before diving back into action. ‘It feels a little better,’ he said. ‘It’s a little sore to push off. Once it gets to the point where I can push off with little or no pain, then I’ll be ready. As you get older, it takes time for your body to replenish the chlorophyll. I heard that yesterday on the Planet Channel, so I just wanted to throw that out.’”
Dan Duggan, Boston Herald – “Three games into the new season, the Celts have started to fix their fatal flaw. With such an emphasis on rebounding, this may not come as a surprise, but the eye-opener is the help on the glass hasn’t come from the new big men. Jermaine O’Neal has been a nonfactor, and Erden hasn’t logged a minute. Shaquille O’Neal has been solid, but is averaging fewer rebounds than Kendrick Perkins did as the starting center last season. The difference for the Celtics has come primarily from three individuals, all of whom were a part of the team that finished 29th in the NBA in rebounding last season. Kevin Garnett is averaging 11.7 rebounds (7.3 last year), Paul Pierce is averaging 8.3 (4.4) and Rajon Rondo is averaging 6.3 (4.4). The Celts are averaging 44.7 rebounds, an improvement of 6.1 boards per game from last season. ‘A lot of the onus isn’t on me,’ Pierce said. ‘It has to come from everybody, not only the bigs. It has to come from Rondo. Rondo has set such a high standard for himself on the glass where he has to be a part of that, too.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “‘If we were a better rebounding team last year, we probably got two championships in the last three years instead of just one,’ Pierce said. ‘We have a lot of great players assembled here, but I know a lot of what we do starts with me.’ It certainly has played out that way, with the Celtics out-rebounding each of their first three opponents. ‘When we have a great rebounding night, you can almost guarantee that Paul Pierce had a great rebounding night,” Rivers said. “When Paul rebounds, it’s amazing how good our break becomes because now you have a guard who can bust out, dribble twice, throw it to your point guard. [Rajon] Rondo’s getting the ball at halfcourt, and now you have an unbelievable fast break in transition.’”
Paul Flannery, WEEI – “But, as Garnett often points out, numbers don’t tell you everything. It’s not just that he’s grabbing his share of boards, it’s how he’s getting them that truly stands out. ‘I’m encouraged by everybody rebounding, but Kevin is rebounding out in space now,’ Doc Rivers said after practice Monday. ‘Last year I thought he did a good job rebounding. But with the injury, if the ball was out in space he couldn’t go get it. I think what he’s doing now, he’s getting a lot of rebounds out of his space and he hasn’t done that since the first year he was here.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “‘Saldirgan, Semih.’ That’s the advice Shaquille O’Neal suggested he’s been imparting on Boston Celtics rookie center Semih Erden lately. No need to break out the Turkish version of your Rosetta Stone software: That means to be an aggressor, which is the one thing O’Neal thinks Boston’s fresh-faced import needs to be on the court. ‘He’s an excellent player, very skilled,’ O’Neal said. ‘Sometimes he’s too shy. I always have to tell him — in Turkish — to just be aggressive, to go out and play hard. He’s a great player, a great kid — one of the greatest players out of his country. I’m glad to get to know him and show him some things.’ … ‘He’s getting deeper in everything that we’ve done, but he doesn’t have any one thing down yet,’ Rivers said. ‘It’s going to take time. The problem is, we’re going to have to use him in that time that you’d like to have him get it down. Defensively, he’s OK at knowing our stuff. Offensively, he’s a great pick-and-roller, but he needs to learn how to finish better. He’s really struggling offensively at the basket. But he’ll get that.’ Don’t be deceived, however. Erden can finish around the rim. Just ask Shaq. ‘He gave me a move in the open scrimmage,’ Shaq said. ‘A real nice move — a pump-fake move. I jumped, left my feet, and he was already under the basket, throwing it down. That showed me he has potential to go at anybody, whenever he wants to.’ … ‘[Erden] plays against Shaq every day, so he has no choice but to get better,” Kevin Garnett said. “He’s very skillful; a very, very high IQ when it comes to basketball. He’s just learning our plays and our system. He plays really hard, and I love him here; he fits right in. ‘Even though he’s a foreigner, you can’t tell. The way he dances, the way he interacts, the way he presents himself — he fits right in.’”
Rich Levin, CSNNE – “Shaquille O’Neal missed his second straight practice on Monday afternoon, opting instead to work on his stamina and rehab his injured knee in Health Point’s swimming pool. ‘I swam, worked out,’ O’Neal said. ‘[The knee] feels better. It’s still a little sore. When it gets to the point when I can push off, I’ll be ready.’ The big man says he still plans to travel with the Celtics to Detroit for Tuesday night’s game with the Pistons, but his coach insists that it’s very likely that O’Neal will miss his first game on the young season. ‘I doubt if he plays tomorrow,’ Doc Rivers said. ‘But, we’ll see.’”
Matt Moore, CBS Sports – “In the long history of terrible moves by the Memphis Grizzlies, mark my words, this one will reign supreme. Worse than drafting Hasheem Thabeet. Worse than trading Pau Gasol for Marc Gasol, Kwame Brown, and cash. Worse than signing Rudy Gay to an $80 million extension. This, this right here, is not just the worst move in the history of the Grizzlies, but it is the shining golden cap on the mountain of terrible moves made by NBA owners over the past 2 years. It is this, exact move, that nullifies any argument the owners can possibly make that they spend their money responsibly inside the current CBA. It is this contract that overshadows Joe Johnson’s contract, Amir Johnson’s contract, Darko Milicic’s contract as the single worst contract handed out in 2010. ESPN’s Chris Broussard and the Memphis Commercial-Appeal reports that the Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to a 5-year, $40-million-plus extension for Mike Conley. There is really nothing more to say. But here’s something anyway.”
Got a tip? An article you think should be included? Send an email to email@example.com or hit me up on Twitter @CelticsTown.
Ah, Tony Allen. The turnover-prone, three-point shooter-fouling, heart attack-inducing guard left Boston, but he hasn’t stopped making me cringe. (Tulsa World)
Post-switch, Allen said he felt “overshadowed” by Boston’s Big Three.
“I was definitely overshadowed,” he repeated before Memphis’ preseason game Tuesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the BOK Center. “Anybody would have been overshadowed considering those Hall of Fame prolific-type scorers that they had.”
Overshadowed? Maybe, but I think Kendrick Perkins gave Slam Magazine a better description in September:
“And to say you got overlooked a little bit—I ain’t trying to go against TA—but without them, people probably wouldn’t even know your name.”
Zing. Allen’s new head coach, Lionel Hollins, actually said Allen should have stayed in Boston. When a player’s own head coach says he should have signed elsewhere, it’s a pretty good sign that player made a big mistake.
Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins, and you’ve got to respect his frankness, said, “I don’t think it’s smart” when asked about Allen changing teams in hopes of securing an expanded role.
“What would you rather do? Win and play 15 minutes a game? Or you may not win as much and play 15 minutes a game,” Hollins said.
“My thing is I would rather play on a winning team and have a chance to win championships – and get a playoff share too.”
You hated being overshadowed by Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, right Tony? Well, it’s really gonna suck being overshadowed by Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo and Xavier Henry on your way to winning 40 games. At least you’ll have a longer summer vacation, though!
By “I think we’ll have a lot more steals,” I think Rudy Gay meant, “I’m 100% positive we’ll foul a lot more three-point shooters.”
(h/t Red’s Army)
After exercising surprising frugality while trying to sign draft pick Xavier Henry, the Memphis Grizzlies have been fielding trade offers for the 12th pick in this year’s draft. Do the Celtics have enough assets to get in on the bidding? (Memphis Commercial Appeal)
The Grizzlies have fielded several trade offers from teams looking to acquire the rights to unsigned rookie Xavier Henry — interest mostly derived from a contract stalemate between the team and the NBA’s 12th overall draft pick.
But Griz owner Michael Heisley insisted Wednesday that the team is only interested in signing Henry to a deal that will have him play in FedExForum this season.
“I’m not looking to trade him just to trade him,” Heisley said. “I’m not angry with him. I expect him to play. He’s going to have an opportunity to play a lot, and we need him. So my reaction to this is I’m expecting we’ll get something done and he’ll play for us this season.”
Call me crazy, but it makes a whole lot of sense for the Grizzlies to trade Henry away. First of all, he probably hates the organization already for low-balling him like an em-eff-er. Second of all, the Grizzlies already have O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay, Tony Allen and Sam Young, who played pretty well last season. They’re pretty stacked at the wing position.
If they do trade him, could the Celtics possibly have enough to trade for him? Because Henry would be just about perfect. I know he’s only a rookie, but he’s got the size and strength to deal with bigger small forwards and on top of that he can shoot the hell out of the ball. He doesn’t scream “SUPERSTAR,” but he’s got “solid role player” written all over him.
Sadly, I just don’t think a package of Semih Erden and a couple picks is enough to get it done, not unless the Celtics are willing to pony up two first rounders as part of that package. Then the Grizzlies MIGHT bite. I don’t know about you, but I’m down for that. Unfortunately, I don’t even know if that trade actually works. ESPN’s damn trade machine has picked a bad time to falter on my computer, but I’m still pretty sure the trade is legal.
What do you Townies think?
Scenario 1: You come off the bench behind two certain Hall of Famers. You have the opportunity to win a championship. You play with the players you have come to love as brothers. You relish in the love of a fanbase that has finally embraced you. You play 20 minutes a game as a defensive stopper and transition finisher.
Scenario 2: You come off the bench behind two guys who have never made an All-Star team. You definitely don’t have an opportunity to win a championship. You play with a bunch of guys you barely know. You have to fight for the love of a new fanbase. You play an undefined amount of minutes in an undefined role.
If it was you choosing between those two options, what would you have picked? Call me crazy, but I’m guessing scenario 1.
Tony Allen thought differently. He went for door number two. He was tired of being overshadowed by stars. (ESPN)
“Ultimately, it was the way [the Grizzlies] embraced me, the way they reached out to me and let it all out,” said Allen. “They let me know I was needed. In Boston, I was kind of overshadowed by those guys — Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Here’s a ball club that’s on the rise and a lot of guys can make names for themselves. It’s a coming out party for a lot of guys on this team.”
“I don’t mind embracing the [defensive] role, but there is more to my game; let’s not get that twisted,” said Allen. “Whatever I can do to win ballgames — if that’s just passing out Gatorades or flashing towels or giving somebody a high-five, I’m willing to do that.”
Yeah, TA, you were overshadowed by Pierce and the better Allen. They’re great players. And now you’ll be overshadowed by O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay — two decent ones — while you fight to make the playoffs, knowing that even if you do miraculously make it to the postseason you’ll be ousted in the first round. Do you realize how dumb your decision was, Tony? Not yet, I’m sure. But at some point it’s going to come back and slap you straight across the face. You’ll be wearing your warmup suit, watching Mayo and Gay get blown out by a true contender in front of a half-full FedEx Center, and you’ll finally realize it: That situation you had in Boston wasn’t so bad after all.
And yes, Tony, we know you can do more than embrace a defensive role. You also pile up turnovers like a madman and shoot one of the brokest jump shots in the history of the universe.
Damn it, Tony. I had learned to love you, my man. I had even learned to almost trust you on the court. And I still wish you well in Memphis. I just think you done fucked up. There’s very little in the world that compares to the bond formed by loving your teammates and succeeding with them. Why you would flush that down the toilet for a similar role in Memphis, I may never understand.