NBA, NBA Draft / Jun 22, 2009 / 2:08 pm

The Real Reason Thabeet Canceled His Memphis Workout

UConn's Hasheem Thabeet

UConn's Hasheem Thabeet

The original reason that Hasheem Thabeet canceled his workout with the Grizzlies on Sunday was because of a “sore shoulder.” Then we heard that he actually had family to visit in New York so he couldn’t spend time down in Memphis.

But now, word is that those were really both just excuses, and he just doesn’t want to play for the Grizzlies.

The official explanation was a sore shoulder. The unofficial explanation? Thabeet doesn’t want to play in Memphis and wanted to stay in Los Angeles to talk Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti into drafting him at No. 3.

Why doesn’t Thabeet want to play in Memphis? For the same reason that Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry and others have refused workouts. Said one source in explaining the Grizzlies’ reputation: “They don’t spend any money anymore. They don’t have a commitment to put a winning team on the floor right now. It’s not where an agent wants to send his star pick.”

That puts Memphis owner Michael Heisley in an awkward place. Would he be forced into choosing James Harden at No. 2, even though they already have O.J. Mayo playing shooting guard, and Harden had a poor workout for them? Would he be forced to draft someone who doesn’t want to play in Memphis like Thabeet, Rubio or Curry? Those are definite possibilities.

Though it’s got to be deflating to hear from everyone that you like that they don’t like you, Heisley could turn this negative into a positive. If he pulls off a great draft-day move, in which he adds the right pieces who have a good attitude about playing in Memphis, he could change the culture of the place in a single day. There are always rumors about the Knicks wanting to trade up – could he get their pick at No. 8 and Wilson Chandler or Nate Robinson or David Lee? Then he could use that No. 8 pick on a guy like Jonny Flynn or Tyreke Evans if they’re still available.

If Heisley’s able to swing some deal in which he trades down and adds two legit players, the only thing left to do is to pay his stars accordingly so that players want to come to Memphis in the future.

Source: Chad Ford on ESPN Insider

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  • Big V

    Does it really matter if they don’t want to play in Memphis? It’s not like Griffin wants to play for the Clips but it’s not like he has a choice. Why do these guys?

  • Notorious

    Just move the Grizzlies to Seattle and end this charade. A cheap ass owner in a college town with one of the worst GM’s still in basketball is a recipe for disaster. Nobody wants to play there, and they will NEVER, EVER be good, let alone compete for a Championship. Someone tell Stern to quit being stubborn and supporting this farce of a franchise. Give the Sonics back to Seattle and make everyone happy. F*%$ Memphis.

  • MJAX

    I can’t believe these guys make it to this point and are able to have a job that a large majority of society would cheerish to have. They are choosen as one of the best 30 players in the world and actually refuse to want to play for a team. Amazing… I blame steve francis for starting this trend!!!!

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  • Danny

    rumors rumors. If memphis’s gm had any balls, he wouldn’t care and draft whoever he wants. Let them worry about it, when they end up with no playing time and no other team wants em.

  • http://dime sure

    @MJAX
    You should care where you get drafted and how your career will be kicked off. It’s as if you had a choice on your birthplace and both parents. Steve Francis saved himself and the N.B.A. Why would you want to play somewhere that has a rep like Memphis. Rudy Gay would be a star on any other team and none globally. It’s just like your college decision has a big impact on if you make the N.B.A. or go overseas. The team that drafts you holds a majority of your leverage and confidence in their hand. You probably never played ball or weren’t that good. Your entitled to your opinion but don’t be so harsh on people wanting what’s best for them. As you should for you and those around you. Dont judge people judge yourself. Understand everyone is themselves and that’s all they know how to be.

  • Ansonious

    I don’t think the Griz need another center anyways, they have Darko, Hamed whatever the hel his name is, and Marc Gasol. Why in the hell do they want another center? My guess is their complimenting the respectable top picks but getting disrespected because really who’s made noise coming out of there last year besides Rudy Gay, O.J., and I still can’t get enough of how Darko busted out the old school Hulk Hogan move last year. Personally from my stand point they should select a PF,SG,PG(if they want to make O.J. their SG which wouldn’t make too much sense,) or trade the pick and quit with the lame ass games of getting their name brought up 50 times a day about how no one wants to play there. I can’t wait til they find something else to talk about that is actually news!

  • NC

    Too much drama for such a “weak” draft! These guys should just be happy to be drafted.

  • JayGee

    Personally, i HATE it when players refuse to workout for a certain teams because they do not want to be drafted by them. I dont know what these guys are doing…most people wish they are able to be in the same position that they are currently in and make millions of dollars playing a game. They should be thankful that God blessed them with talents and stop complaning on where they want to play. Basketball is Basketball, whether its in Memphis, LA, NY, Timbucktu, etc. I really hate it and i lose alot of respect for the players who do not want to play in a certain city for whatever reason. Granted that if i was a player, I’d love to go on a winning team and play for them; however, i would not stomp my feet and cry like a little baby if i got drafted by a losing team. I really think that most of these players do so because of their agents. Dan Fegan is the worst at this. Look at Rubio for example, great talent yet Fegan doesnt want him to play in Memphis because its a small market or in Washington because Gilbert Arenas, as he was his former agent. This is total B.S. Basketball should not be about how big of a market you play in or how much money you make, it should be played for the LOVE of the game.

  • Kobeef

    All this chaos has to be encouraging for Seattle Basketball fans. If this keeps up the Grizz will be headed north sooner than expected and what a team for Seattle to inherit – OJ, Rudy, possibly Harden – that is a great young core.

  • doc

    People just dont like moving to Memphis.Remember when OJ got drafted last year he looked like he spent all night in a hotel room with Kobe.

  • joshlee9

    what is up with these players saying where they want to be drafted!?! they should just be happy they get to play professional ball somewhere!! For millions of dollars no less. Take the power away from the too-young players, their families, and the people behind them and give it back to the teams! This is ridiculous!

  • Chaos

    yea the college players should have no say in where they want to go but that says alot about how your franchise is run if someone who stands to make a lot of money refuses to go to your team

  • http://dimemag.com/2009/06/the-real-reason-thabeet-canceled-his-memphis-workout/ SparkyJay23

    @ MJAX

    The first guy i remember acting the douche at the NBA Draft was actually Kobe refusing to go anywhere but LA.

    If they don’t want to be drafted why not just try free agency? oh yeah no guaranteed contract for huge amounts

    Shut the fuck up and make the team better- you are supposed to be good enough to do that right?

  • IGP

    @ Doc…hilarious man

    I’ve never been to Memphis, but I can’t imagine any NBA player having it too bad wherever he plays. I’d love to be a millionaire in LA or NY, but I’d rather be a millionaire in Memphis than making 35k a year at my job now in Boston haha

  • Juneau

    I’d rather be making 35K in Boston than $9.25 an hour in Alaska.

  • jace

    dumb ass move. maybe they dont want to spend any money NOW. but what does it matter? the contract is guaranteed. rookie contracts that high up on the draft board are for what? 3-4 years? by that time, memphis could already have changed a whole deal in terms of marketing.

    plus.. hasheem goes to memphis.. its most likely that he’ll get a chance to start, considering that they need a defensive presence down low. what better way to get started for a rookie with his potential?

    i say dont get any 2’s or 3’s with that 2nd pick, memphis. oj mayo and rudy gay own and deserve those spots. i could care less about mike conley, darell arthur, or marc gasol. actually i like gasol.. but hasheem fits better here.

    heres an idea.. draft jennings. trade conley to warriors for brandan wright or somethin (looks like ellis doesnt wanna play there.. and they dont like brandan wright enough to let him play). i kno i said they needed a defensive presence.. but if they dont feel like draftin hasheem cuz he’s actin gay about memphis.. at least brandan wright has potential to be a defensive presence. athletic big man with a long wingspan.. sounds sorta like hasheem right? plus even if he’s not ready to start (although i think he’s shown some flashes of brilliance in GS), he’s a better big man off the bench than anyone they got there anyway.

    maybe they should trade darko to GS too. you fellas at DIME had an article here a while ago (december 1st) about how darko doesn’t want to be a defensive player, and just wants to get buckets and have fun… BAM.. thats wut GS wants.

    just throwin shit in the air right now.

  • Marvin

    This kids are spoiled assholes. They’re going to get paid guaranteed millions and still they want to choose their own teams… If they really want that then let’s just scrap the draft and let them apply for any NBA team that they want, just like in real life when your applying for a job.

  • BRUCE

    Don’t blame The Franchise. What about Jimmy Jackson? I ain’t playing for the Mavericks but he did donned the uniform.

  • blanca

    Dime. Knicks can’t sign-and-trade Lee or Robinson till July. They can’t be included in any draft day deals.

    Since this is pretty much your life, how about you research for us whether the Grizzlies would be allowed to trade whoever they pick after July 1. Please? Instead of posting bullshit trade rumors that can’t possibly go through under the current CBA?

  • My Rant

    Hasheem Thabeet is going to be a bust! Can you imagine this guy trying to defend D Howard, Duncan, Amare or any other centre in the league. He is going to get murdered!

  • K.I.R

    How can Thabeet be picky he sucks, sucked in college will suck for at least 3-4 yrs before he just becomes shit. how can he make demands – the fact that he’s the best option at center position says it all.

    poor memphis

  • AB_40

    but he can learn such great things from darko like… ripping hes shirt when he’s mad while swearing in serb haha. him and hiadinidiidaad that iranian center in a house on a reality show would be worth a lot of money. those three guys together even more haha throw in marc gasol and memphis don’t even need ticket revenues haha

  • Shogun

    Thabeet will get abused in the L. Dude is in slo-mo, and runs like a 50 yr old with bad knees.

  • Memphian

    I’m in Memphis and for all you calling for the team to move-screw you! Garnett didn’t want to go to Boston when they sucked. The Spurs and the Lakers had rough times.

    Yeah, Heisley can’t run a lemonade stand, nonetheless a NBA team. But basketball works in Memphis when done right. We are the best fans. Ask Coach Cal about sellout games, ESPN gameday and seats selling for $500 in nosebleeds vs. Tennessee.

  • frank

    hey it is not the city it is the owners seattle. if the team moves the owners will move with them and noone would waant to play for you. will stern force the sell of the grizzlies so someone will try to put a winning team together.
    seattle lets face it. you aren’t even a collage basketball town nor a pro town anymore. YOU ARE A COFFEE TOWN.