The big news today is that the Memphis Grizzlies have given Hawks' restricted free agent, Josh Smith, an offer sheet worth $58 million over 5 years. The Grizzlies are the only team left with cap space now that both Philly and the Clippers have used theirs up and are the only team who could have given him an offer other than the Hawks or a sign and trade scenario. The Hawks had 7 days to match the offer or let him go but it didn't take them long to announce that they would match the Grizzlies' offer and keep Smith on the Hawks. It makes you wonder if the Griz will go after any of the other big free agents who are left like Ben Gordon or Andre Iguodala with their unused cap space.
After sitting pretty much dormant for the first part of the offseason and prompting rumors that they were in cost cutting mode and not planning to sign any free agents, the Grizzlies have come to life. First they gave Josh Smith an unexpected $58 million offer and there is also word that they have identified Iranian center Hamed Ehadadi as a player they are interested in and they and hope to sign the 7-2, 23-year-old next week. He'll play for the Iran national team in the Olympics. He recently scored 19 points and pulled down 16 rebounds in summer league action at Utah. He also scored 20 points with nine rebounds against Argentina and 20 points, 20 rebounds and six blocks against Serbia in Olympic tune-ups. He looks like a nice pick up for the Grizzlies.
Philadelphia 76ers are already having some bad luck and the season hasn't even started. Their center Jason Smith tore the ACL in his left knee during an NBA-approved camp in Las Vegas. Smith, a second-year player out of Colorado State, averaged 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds as a rookie. He averaged 18.6 points and 8.0 rebounds in five games in the Las Vegas summer league. The Celtics have several players who can give Smith some support and advice. We still have visions of Tony Allen writhing on the floor in pain after tearing his ACL in the 2006-07 season. They also have Leon Powe and Bill Walker who have both experienced an ACL tear and come back from it.
Speaking of Walker, the Celtics still haven't signed either of their draft picks. We had news early of Walker watching the mini camp after his surgery. Global Celtic over on Celtics Green wrote to Marc Spears asking him if there was any news about Walker's rehab or signing the assistant coaches and he got this response from Marc:
Walker has been working out at the Celtics training facility. Celtics working on new contracts for assistants.
I know it's not much news, but it says a lot about Walker that he is still in Waltham and working out with the Celtics coaches even without a contract. I really like this kid's attitude and look forward to seeing him get a chance with the Celtics this season.
Happy 80th Birthday to Bob Cousy. NBA-TV will be celebrating his birthday all day with special programming featuring Cousy and the Celtics. I love the story about how Cousy came to be a Celtic. It was expected that Red would take Cousy in the draft, but he didn't want to be forced to take the "local yokel from Holy Cross" and instead took Chuck Share, a 6-foot-11 center from Bowling Green as Red always believed that as the center position goes, so goes the team. This could have been one of Red's few mistakes if it wasn't for a twist of fate that brought Cousy to the Celtics anyway. Cousy went to the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, which soon traded him to the Chicago Stags, but that franchise folded before the 1950-51 season started. The names of three Stags -- Cousy and two much sought-after players were tossed into a hat. Celtics owner, Walter Brown pulled Cousy's name and the rest is history. Share had a rather unremarkable career and Cousy became the heart and soul of a dynasty. Like I've always said, GM<'s have to be lucky along with being good.
Michael Finley still hasn't signed with a team. The Spurs are believed to have offered him a contract worth more than the veteran minimum of $1.3 million to keep him in San Antonio. Word is that the Mavs have also contacted him with an offer. The Spurs are also said to have offered the remainder of their MLE, roughly $2 million, to Hornets' free agent Jannero Pargo.
All the teams clearing cap space for the 2010 free agent market may be very surprised to have a lot of money and no one to spend it on. First, LeBron said he would seriously consider going to Russia for a $50 million contract. Then Kobe said that he would love to play in Italy for the same kind of deal. Now, Dwyane Wade reports that he would seriously consider an offer from Greece when his contract is up with the Heat. This is becoming a very disturbing trend. Ben Gordon on the other hand is still looking for a contract in the NBA and would prefer not to go to Eupope. The Bulls are offering Gordon a deal in the range of $59 million over six years and do not want to go any higher to avoid the luxury tax. If Gordon is looking for more, he will have to find a team willing to pay him more in a sign and trade or accept the Bulls $6.4 million qualifying offer and hope for more as an unrestricted free agent next season, assuming he plays well this season.
Chris Bosh may be a Raptor, but I love this kid. His has such a great sense of humor. First there was the video lobbying for All Star votes. Now he has one showing his training for the Olympic team and it is hilarious. Too funny!