– Mamadou N’Diaye Mamadou N’Diaye missed last season with a serious knee injury. This year, he started the season by going for a tryout in Lebanon with Al-Riyadi Beirut, but failed the physical as his knee had not yet recovered. Then in February, the comeback began when Mamadou signed with Maccabi Haifa in Israel. In 72 minutes of six games, he has totalled 23 points, 20 rebounds and 4 blocks. – Boniface N’Dong Former Clipper big man N’Dong is with Barcelona. Splitting time at the centre position with Fran Vazquez, N’Dong is averaging 6.3 points and 3.5 rebounds in 15 minutes per game in the ACB, alongside 8.9 points and 3.9 rebounds in 16.1 minutes per game in the EuroLeague. You may never have heard of Boniface N’Dong, and the fact that he spent a whole season on an NBA roster as recently as four years ago may have completely passed you by. This is fair enough, because nothing much really happened. But it happened. N’Dong signed a minimum salary deal with the Clippers in time for training camp 2005, made his NBA debut aged 28, and appeared in 22 games with the team. He even started one. Boniface totalled 50 points, 37 rebounds and 23 fouls for the Clippers, and put up a PER of 11.0, before returning to Europe to continue his strong career there. Boneyface has NBA talent, particularly on the offensive end and on the roll, which isn’t usually the case with fringe NBA-calibre Senegalese big men. And he has a great name. There’s nothing here not to like. – Bostjan Nachbar Bostjan Nachbar has not had a very good season. He moved from Dynamo Moscow to Efes Pilsen in the summer, signing a big fat contract and becoming one of Efes’s key targets […]
After the completion of the Grizzlies’s second consecutive poor season, Spanish guard Juan Carlos Navarro immediately returned to his native Spain. Immediately. And why wouldn’t he? A free agent this offseason, Navarro has been roundly stiffed by Memphis, who have managed to mismanage his situation rather spectacularly, in the way that only they know how. Let’s recap: 1: Memphis traded a protected first rounder to Washington for the draft rights to Navarro. 2: They then sign Darko Milicic to a big deal, taking up most of their cap space. 3: Then, the Grizzlies completely inexplicably sign Casey Jacobsen and Andre Brown to minimum salary deals before completing negotiations with Navarro, as well as sign Mike Conley to his rookie deal (thus making his cap number 120% of the scale, not the 100% that was billed before he signed.) As a result, they were left with only just above the minimum left from their cap room to give Navarro ($538,050), after he had already sealed his buyout with Barcelona. Navarro, as a result, had to take the only offer that Memphis could give him – one made unnecessarily poor by those inconsequential Jacobsen and Brown signings – and wound up playing for an overall financial loss last season. Memphis then sucked all year, and also traded away Juan’s mate, Pau Gasol. In the end, Navarro left Europe to come to the NBA, where he was treated with less money, less minutes, less acclaim, less wins, and less friends than he had just left his native country for. So no, I shouldn’t imagine that he’s entirely sold on the idea of coming back.
Players acquired via free agency or trade: Andre Brown (one year minimum) Casey Jacobsen (one year minimum) Darko Milicic (three years, $21.06 million) Juan Carlos Navarro (rights acquired from Washington, signed for one year and slightly above the minimum) Players acquired via draft: First round: Mike Conley Jr (4th overall) Second round: None Players retained: Tarence Kinsey (exercised team option) Players departed: Dahntay Jones (signed with Boston) Chucky Atkins (signed with Denver) Lawrence Roberts (signed in Greece) Junior Harrington (unsigned) Alexander Johnson (waived, signed with Miami) Bobbins: Only three years ago, the Memphis Grizzlies surprised everybody (except me, and I can prove it in court) by winning 50 games in a season and making the playoffs, this ending the franchise’s entirely fruitless history up until that point. That year saw a line-up of General Manager Jerry West, head coach Hubie Brown getting his first full season with the team, and a 10-man rotation every night featuring some of my favourite players of all time: Jason Williams, Earl Watson, Mike Miller, James Posey, Bonzi Wells, Shane Battier, POW! Gasol, BO! Outlaw, Lorenzen Wright and Stromile Swift, with Jake Tsakalidis as the 11th man. Frickin’ awesome, it was. Now, apart from Pau Gasol and Mike Miller (and also Stromile Swift, who left but came back), it’s all change. From West to Watson via Brown and Bo, all of the above starlets have left the franchise, apart from those that haven’t. The 10-man rotation was partly to blame. Despite its awesomeness, it led to alleged locker room discontent from those who felt slighted by the limited minutes that it gave them (namely Williams, Posey and Wells, although it also led to Stromile Swift signing with Houston). That discontent led to Hubie Brown resigning, and some players moves to be […]