Posts Tagged ‘OJ Mayo’

The Non-Dwight Action Of The Night


HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Dwight Howard made the biggest splash of the day, night and probably the entire free agent summer of 2013 by choosing the Houston Rockets. And you are free to weigh in on his (in)decision and where it ranks in recent memory among summer spectacles.

But he wasn’t the only free agent to firm up his future Friday.

Plenty of his contemporaries were busy solidifying their respective futures with teams around the league. Keep in mind none of these deals become official until July 10, when the league’s moratorium on signing new contracts and finalizing proposed trades is lifted.

Some of the other notable activity from the first and likely wildest Friday night of free agency:

Two More Years For Dirk In Dallas?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Nothing makes the weekend more interesting than a surprise Twitter session from one of the NBA’s biggest stars.

Dallas Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki provided exactly that over the weekend, covering an array of topics that will no doubt have folks in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex talking this morning. He covered just about every base in his Twitter Q&A — from his favorite movie (“Braveheart”) and television show (“Eastbound and Down”), his preference for “red wine over beer” to his love of Mavericks’ blue and green to his hate for cockroaches.

What Nowitzki had to say about his basketball future, though, trumps everything else he shared. Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News provides the details:

The 34-year-old Mavericks forward responded to one question asking how many more years he wanted to play with: “2 for sure and then see how I feel.” Nowitzki has two years remaining on the four-year, $80 million deal he signed in 2010.

When asked why he doesn’t just jump to a “Super Team” and try to win a championship elsewhere, Nowitzki replied: “I bleed blue.”


Source: Heat, Clips, Grizz Pursuing Allen

HANG TIME CAPITAL BUREAU —The Boston Celtics’ hopes of keeping Ray Allen will have to wait a few days.

The 36-year-old free-agent guard will visit the Miami Heat on Thursday and the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, according to a source, and listen to their pitches.

Allen is also being pursued by the Memphis Grizzlies, who are seeking a replacement for free agent guard O.J. Mayo. The Grizzlies didn’t tender Mayo a qualifying offer last week, making him an unrestricted free agent. Memphis will offer Allen its $5 million exception.
Allen had conference calls on Monday with the Grizzlies, as well as the Heat, Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves, according to the source. But Allen is not currently scheduled to make visits to Memphis or Minnesota.

The Heat can only offer Allen their mini mid-level exception that starts at $3.09 million next season, the same exception Miami used last year to sign free-agent forward Shane Battier. The Clippers have their full mid-level available at $5 million. Boston has offered Allen a two-year deal for $12 million.

Miami will no doubt entice Allen with the opportunity to win another ring, as he did in 2008 with the Celtics and as the Heat did this past season. He would be a perfect fit for the Heat, given the team’s success at spacing the floor during the playoffs and The Finals with LeBron James drawing attention in the post. But Allen is still looking for a starting job; he was not happy when he lost his starting spot in Boston to Avery Bradley after suffering an ankle injury that required surgery, and it’s not clear if the Heat would be willing to alter its starting lineup for him. (more…)

Miami In The Plans For Ray Allen?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — LeBron James has abandoned the subtle approach in identifying the next veteran he’d love to see join the Miami Heat’s quest for a repeat championship next season.

With his son Bryce serving as the perfect accomplice, James took to Twitter during the Draft to court one-time rival Ray Allen, the soon-to-be free agent and former Celtics star:

While watching the Draft my son Bryce ask “Is Ray Allen gonna play for the Heat”. I said “I don’t know, I hope so”.

James probably won’t be the only superstar courting Allen this summer. Even with an injured ankle that cost Allen and the Celtics dearly in the playoffs, the future Hall of Famer will be a coveted prospect on the free agent market.

With the Celtics apparently searching for a younger replacement (O.J. Mayo?) at shooting guard, Allen should listen to the recruiting pitches of James and others (the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns, run by Allen’s former agent, Lon Babby, are also rumored to be among the teams preparing to court him). Allen’s emotional departure from the Celtics after their Game 7 loss to the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals was a fitting tribute from one of the classiest players the league has seen and probably had Celtics fans choked up a bit.


Grizzlies Big Men Ground And Pound Their Way To Game 6 … And Game 7?

HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS — We won’t bother asking what took the Hang Time Grizzlies so long to figure this out. All that matters now is that we’ve all see it in action and have seen the results.

When the Grizzlies ground and pound, playing through All-Star big men Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, they look like a completely different team against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Sure, they still have to deal with a Game 6 in Los Angeles and that pesky win-or-go-home scenario all teams face when they trail 3-2 in a best-of-7 series. But they reached Game 6 by leaning on Gasol and Randolph, listening to the children (or at least Randolph’s daughter) to stave off elimination in Game 5 last night.

If they want to see a Game 7 back on their home floor, they must continue to do more of the same. Because as good as Rudy Gay, Mike Conley and the rest of the Grizzlies’ perimeter operators have been all season, you win games in the paint in the playoffs. Trying to beat the Clippers that way is what led to the 3-1 deficit — well, that and Chris Paul and Blake Griffin outplaying them during critical stretches in the first four games.

But with injury concerns for the Clippers’ two best players, Paul has a hip flexor and Griffin a knee strain, the Grizzlies have a chance to refocus their attention inside and attack where the Clippers are most vulnerable. (Paul has already said he’ll be ready to go for Friday night, while Griffin’s status will be determined after he is examined again today.) The Clippers’ big men (Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Kenyon Martin and Reggie Evans) cannot match the Grizzlies’ bigs if that’s where the battle line for Game 6 is drawn.


Hang Time Grizzlies On The Edge

HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS — The uneasy feelings started around here in Game 1, when the Hang Time Grizzlies squandered that 24-point fourth-quarter lead and allowed the Los Angeles Clippers to snatch a tone-setting victory away from the home team.

Everything that’s happened since, even the one win our Grizzlies managed in this series, didn’t produce the sort of cosmic confidence expected or even seen during last season’s magical playoff run that included an upset win over the top-seeded Spurs in the first round. The same finishing kick that paved the way for that run a year ago has evaporated.

The Grizzlies have been brutal in the fourth quarters of three of the four games played in this series against the Clippers and should not be surprised to find themselves on the ugly end of a 3-1 ledger that sets up Wednesday night’s Grind-Or-Go-Fishing Game 5 in Memphis.

“It’s a shoulda, woulda, coulda deal when you look at the film,” Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley said before Monday night’s overtime loss in Game 4. “Sometimes you just don’t know how we lost. We’ve got to find a way to correct our mistakes because we’re right there. We can still win this series.”

Forget the film young fella.

We’ll just give you the raw numbers. The aggregate score so far in this series is Grizzlies 289, Clippers 284. But the fourth-quarter scoring, on the other hand, is Clippers 87, Grizzlies 58.

The glaring defense down the stretch of these games has been Chris Paul. The Clippers have the player who rises to the occasion repeatedly at winning time while the Grizzlies can’t seem to get themselves together at crunch time.


Mayo, Grizzlies Get Back On Their Grind


What we saw from the Memphis Grizzlies in their Game 2 win over the Los Angeles Clippers is the Grind House style their fans have become accustomed to and playoff fans everywhere demand from the grimiest team in the league.

They pushed the Clippers around again last night, but they didn’t let up this time (making sure they did not repeat their sins from Sunday night’s epic Game 1 failure) and evened their series at 1-1.

A little inspiration always helps. And Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins provided exactly that before the game. More from Ronald Tillery of the Comercial Appeal:

With their leader wearing the championship ring he won as a member of the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers, the Grizzlies delivered an inspired performance — this time, over four quarters — and left with a 105-98 Game 2 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday night in FedExForum.

Hollins said he simply found the ring after misplacing it and wore the piece of jewelry with no intent to send a message. But players noticed.

“He did it (won a title) in his second year,” Griz guard O.J. Mayo said. “Why can’t we?”

Either way, Memphis evened its Western Conference first-round playoff matchup at 1-1. The best-of-seven series resumes Saturday for Game 3 in the Staples Center.

“We had great focus from start to finish,” Griz guard Tony Allen said. “They (the Clippers) came in here and took care of business. We just need to have that same mentality on the road.”

After blowing a 27-point lead in Game 1, the Griz knew they couldn’t afford to go down 0-2 with at least two road games in front of them. Instead of tightening up in the fourth quarter like they did Sunday, the Griz were the aggressors.

They dove on the court, increased defensive pressure on Clippers point man Chris Paul and made clutch baskets.

No one made more of those clutch baskets than Mayo, whose work off the bench last night showcased all of things Mayo is capable of as one of the true sixth-man game-changers in these playoffs (along with James Harden, Louis Williams and Jason Terry).


Grizzlies Randolph Out Up To 8 Weeks


HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph could miss the next eight weeks of the season with a slightly torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee, according to The Commercial Appeal.

The report confirms fears that the injury Randolph suffered Sunday in Chicago, when teammate O.J. Mayo inadvertently fell into his leg in a loss to the Bulls, was more serious than initially expected:

The injury will not require surgery and doctors will re-evaluate Randolph in two weeks.

Randolph was believed to only have a bruised MCL. He did not travel with the team for its road game tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He remained in Memphis and is wearing a knee brace.

… Last season, Randolph missed four games after suffering a deep tailbone bruise in the season-opener.

This is obviously a huge blow to a Grizzlies team built around the frontcourt tandem of Randolph and center Marc Gasol, the catalysts for the Grizzlies surprise run to the Western Conference semifinals last season.

The Grizzlies are already working on a contingency plan for the meantime, having agreed in principle to the terms of a three-team deal with the Hornets and 76ers that will bring 76ers center Marreese Speights to the Grizzlies, per Marc Stein of  The deal, on course to be completed later Wednesday according to Stein, would also send Grizzlies swingman Xavier Henry to the Hornets and two second-round picks to Philadelphia.

You Wish Your Owner Talked Like This

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Our years of devotion to the (Hang Time) Memphis Grizzlies paid off handsomely last season in a magical run to the Western Conference semifinals.

While most of the so-called punditry were busy making fun of that unwavering allegiance to a team that had never won a playoff game, let alone a series before last spring,  we were hard at work trying to convince anyone willing to see what we saw.

Now that the Grizzlies have taken a bite out of the league, their owner (the real one, Michael Heisley, we just serve as his proxy here at the hideout on a daily basis) is setting his aim a little higher than just making noise in the playoffs.

Heisley didn’t hide his goals in an interview with Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal, stating that he fully expects the Grizzlies to contend for championships in the immediate future with the one of the best young rosters in the league. You wish your owner talked like this:

Q. You recently said for the first time publicly that you’re committed to winning a championship. How close are you to winning an NBA title?

A. The players are going to determine how close we are. I can honestly tell you that I think we have a real chance over the next two or three years to win the NBA championship if we get some breaks and a couple of our players develop into their potential. We’ve got a few years where Zach (Randolph) will be playing at a high level. Rudy (Gay) is young and just beginning to come into his own. (Mike) Conley is young. We’ve got a team that’s young and they like each other. The chemistry in the locker room is good. I’m not sure what is going to happen, but I feel like we have a good, deep team. It isn’t like we have five players and then we drop off a cliff. I’m not telling you we’ll win a championship but I’m saying I won’t be surprised if we make a big run for it. That’s honest. I haven’t gone around saying that my whole career in Memphis. I feel like we have something special.

You have to remember, when the Grizzlies knocked off the San Antonio Spurs and then took the Oklahoma City Thunder to the limit in a thrilling series, they did so without Gay in uniform. Randolph, Marc Gasol, Conley and Tony Allen led the charge then, with plenty of help from a solid supporting cast that included inspired effort from O.J. Mayo.

If Lionel Hollins can harness what this team did in the playoffs and unleash it during this abbreviated season, there could be more postseason fury in store for teams facing these Grizzlies.

And while the championship talk from Heisley is probably a little early, we admire his unbridled ambition. Not every owner is willing to speak so clearly about such things.