Barring a delayed announcement, the NBA trade deadline (2 p.m. Central Time) has passed without the Grizzlies making a move.
Not a real surprise and, for the record, just fine with point guard Mike Conley.
“It’s on everybody’s mind,” he said before Thursday’s practice and about two hours ahead of the deadline. “It’s a tough time of year. Some guys are really worried and some guys are not. When it’s over, it’s over. We feel like we’ve got everything we need here.”
Conley recalled the time, several years ago, he was told he probably would be traded and didn’t play in that night’s game.
“That one worked out for us,” he said of one of the best trades the team never made.
Trade rumors are just that — rumors. One well-circulated rumor has guard Tony Allen and small forward Tayshaun Prince going to Minnesota for forward Chase Budinger and guard J.J. Barea.
Is the rumor true? Will anything happen before the NBA trade deadline of 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20?
Odds are against any rumored trade coming true, but you never say never. Allen hopes to play Friday night here vs. the Los Angeles Clippers. He has been out more than a month with a sprained wrist.
But he made clear before practice Wednesday, a little more than 24 hours before the trade deadline, he hopes to remain in Memphis.
“I’ve got three years left on my deal,” Allen said. “It ain’t a bad thing to be wanted, you know? If anything changed, I understand it. It’s a business. There’s nothing special about me.
“I love being here,” Allen said. “It’s where my heart is at, it’s where I made a name for myself. I wouldn’t imagine being at no other arena getting ready for a game.”
Allen said no one in the organization has said anything to him about a possible trade.
“I just look at it as rumors,” said Allen, alias The Grindfather. “But if that is the case, I wish I was told. I’m 10 years in. Hopefully, I get that much respect. But like I said, they all rumors.”
Memphis Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said before Saturday night’s game at FedExForum against the Milwaukee Bucks that point guard Mike Conley has a grade two right ankle sprain and will miss at least one week.
“We’ll evaluate at that point,” Joerger said.
Conley injured the ankle in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s win at Minnesota. He is leading the team in points (18.0) and assists (6.3).
The Grizzlies (25-20) have seven games before the All-Star break, including the Saturday, Feb. 1 game vs. Milwaukee.
Joerger said rookie Nick Calathes would start in Conley’s place. Calathes, who played four years in Europe, has had a rough transition to the NBA and is averaging 3.0 points and 2.2 assists. He has been a 50 percent free-throw shooter (18-for-36). And he has struggled to get the team into half-court sets.
Joerger went away from Calathes after Conley’s injury and played shooting guard Courtney Lee at the point, but also used Mike Miller and Tayshaun Prince to get the ball up the court and the Grizzlies into their offense.
“He’s a guy that’s played a lot of big games overseas,” Joerger said of Calathes. “He’s got the support of everybody in this locker room. We are going to go with him.”
Memphis fans love to hate LA Clippers point guard Chris Paul. Well, CP3, here’s a chance to earn some love (OK, like) and respect in the Bluff City by doing the right thing.
Coaches chose Paul to be a reserve on the Western Conference All-Star team. Normally, no issue with this. He is, though I hate to say it, probably the best in the game. But he has been out with a separated shoulder for weeks and his return is pegged for around the All-Star break. Clippers coach Doc Rivers has said he has no problem if Paul’s first game back is the All-Star Game.
Well, I do have a problem with that. And I’m guessing some of Paul’s teammates might, too.
Conley is having a career year — 18.2 points, 6.3 assists — and has carried the Grizzlies for much of the season. “Carried,” by the way, was exactly the word Zach Randolph used. The Spurs’ Tony Parker and Portland’s Damian Lillard also made the team as reserves. Parker is an easy choice. I’d take Conley over Lillard,but it’s close and the Blazers have a better record.
So, CP3, the ball is in your court. Decide not to play, then put a call into new NBA commissioner (as of Saturday, Feb. 1) Adam Silver, who will select the replacements for injured players. Tell Silver you’ve been competing against Conley for years and he is deserving of your spot.
It’s the right play.
The Grizzlies had defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 90-87 at FedExForum on the night of All-Star center Marc Gasol’s return.
Now the media, tape recorders and cameras in tow, were crowded in front of Gasol’s locker. His next-door neighbor in the locker room, Zach Randolph, loved it.
“Big Fella’s back!” Randolph said.
After missing 23 games with a left MCL sprain – the Grizzlies went 10-13 – Gasol returned to the court wearing a big knee brace, a larger smile, and with the same focus on winning as always.
Forget about the 12 points and four rebounds in 24 minutes, though he had a four-point run in the third quarter that gave the Grizzlies (18-19) a lead they would never lose, and focus instead on the charge he took late in the fourth quarter from scoring machine Kevin Durant (37 points).
“In the first half we got out of the way of four or five opportunities to take charges, and I was not real happy about that,” Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said. “That was a big play for Marc. We were begging for guys to step in and take one.”
Point guard Mike Conley said they were all “surprised” when they found out Gasol was in the starting lineup Tuesday night. After all, a couple of weeks ago Gasol wasn’t even running and he practiced with contact for the first time on Monday.
Gasol’s explanation for the fast recovery?
“The barbecue sauce,” he said.