Latest News, NBA, NBA Draft / Jun 16, 2010 / 11:00 am

NBA Draft Prospects Continue To Snub Memphis

It seems like Pau Gasol still has some power over something. More than two years after the incredible garage sale deal of Gasol to the L.A. Lakers that damaged the Grizzlies’ reputation, Memphis is still dealing with questions about their direction and organizational leadership.

With less than two weeks before the NBA Draft, The Commercial-Appeal is reporting that there are a number of potential lottery picks who refuse to work out with the Grizzlies:

Fresno State small forward Paul George was the latest player to pull out. He canceled his appearance last Sunday, citing a groin injury. But there were indications that George doesn’t see Memphis as a place where he can receive significant playing time.

The most notable snub came from Butler forward Gordon Hayward.

Hayward is emphatic in his desire not to play for Memphis, sources said, adding that his camp indicated as much to the Griz as the reason he skipped last Sunday’s workout.

Also, the Griz have been unable to negotiate a visit from Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe, and Baylor forward Ekpe Udoh recently canceled his workout planned for Wednesday. Even Memphis native Elliot Williams has declined to commit to a meeting with the Griz, and he’s projected to be drafted late in the first round.

Avery Bradley also recently pulled out of a workout with the team because of an ankle injury.

This isn’t the first time Memphis dealt with a lack of respect from potential draft candidates. Last year, three different point guards (Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry and Jonny Flynn) refused to engage the Grizzlies despite their status as the second pick in the Draft. The team ended up drafting UConn center Hasheem Thabeet over players such as Curry, Tyreke Evans and Brandon Jennings. Thabeet never worked out for them. In fact, each time they asked, he offered injury concerns.

Memphis’ Director of Player Personnel Tony Barone Sr. is trying to downplay the situation.

“It doesn’t matter,” Barone Sr. told The Commercial-Appeal. “We like the workouts to see competitiveness, but if they chose not to work out for us then that’s OK. We’ve seen Gordon Hayward eight to 10 times. We’ve seen Bledsoe 10 to 12 times. It doesn’t bother me at all. It’s more of an indication that the agent is trying to position their players. That’s their job. I don’t have a problem with that either.”

It’s easy to look back with shoulda-coulda-wouldas, but some in the organization are now saying if they had seen Thabeet up close, they never would have picked him.

Memphis General Manager Chris Wallace contends these situations are par for the Draft course. But, it certainly doesn’t help.

The Grizzlies could use a good Draft. They have three first-round picks (12, 25, 28) and desperately need to add depth to a bench that was one of the most unproductive in the League.

Interestingly, Memphis worked out both Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez and Kansas’ Sherron Collins. It’s being reported that Vasquez was surprisingly spectacular. Could he be in the mix for one of the Grizzlies’ late first-round picks?

NBADraft.net projects Memphis to take Kentucky forward Patrick Patterson with their first pick while DraftExpress thinks they will choose Luke Babbitt from Nevada.

ESPN’s Chad Ford says the Grizzlies will take Fresno State small forward Paul George despite the workout snub.

At this point, the Grizzlies need any kind of bench help. According to basketballvalue.com, their starting lineup logged an NBA-high 1,474 minutes as a unit during the 2009-10 regular season. That number was by far the most in the League.

What do you think? Why is everybody snubbing the Grizzlies?

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  • ian

    there should be some kind of bad karma for fixing the gasol trade

  • NDP

    I still don’t think the Gasol trade was that bad. It got them Marc Gasol and the cap space to sign Josh Smith to a huge offer sheet. Unfortunately the Hawks matched it. Smoove & Marc for a half-effort Pau wouldn’t have been a bad move at all…it just didn’t work out.

    As for the Draft, Gordon Hayward shouldn’t be snubbing anyone.

  • chris

    maybe they should never have left vancouver. it wasn’t the city, it was the retard management.

    btw, steve francis is still an ass

  • WRB43

    Regardless of what anyone thinks, this is hypocrisy at its finest. I think these dudes should not have the right to choose where they workout. Why? It promotes “sissyism”. These kids should be SOOO appreciative that they won’t have to work a 9-5 that they should be happy to get to hoop for millions. They have too many choices, and this attitude and sense of privilege just follows these guys through their careers as they demand trades and sit out to get more money…Sissies..I blame the league for allowing them to get away with this crap. They are not bigger than the game, the league or Memphis! None of these dude have scored a bucket in the league and a lot of them were average hoopers in college! Sissies! I am in Memphis and its disrespectful !If you can ball, start serving wherever they pick you and you will shine. Also, somebody tell these idiots that the cost of living here is super LOW and on a NBA salary you can live like a frickin shiek! Plus, you can own the city if you come and transform the team into a contender. It can be done, the league is weak anyway……tell them sissies we don’t want them either! Don’t draft them Chris, they are not worthy..Did I mention how thick….nevermind…..

  • Stu

    THey should have not left vancovuer agreed.

  • raf

    agreed with number 4…. guys who havnt played a single game in the nba, shudnt be allowed to reject teams for workouts.
    memphis shud jus draft who ever, and if the guy doenst come to play, hold on to his draft rights, so he doesnt get to play on any other team either.

  • egypt

    pretty sure stern wants a team in seattle over memphis…

  • haslem

    “We like the workouts to see competitiveness, but if they chose not to work out for us then that’s OK. We’ve seen Gordon Hayward eight to 10 times. We’ve seen Bledsoe 10 to 12 times. It doesn’t bother me at all.”

    Doesn’t that almost sound like a threat? we’ve seen you mother fuckers play, you can’t run from us!

  • haslem

    “We like the workouts to see competitiveness, but if they chose not to work out for us then that’s OK. We’ve seen Gordon Hayward eight to 10 times. We’ve seen Bledsoe 10 to 12 times. It doesn’t bother me at all.”

    Doesn’t that almost sound like a threat? we’ve seen you mother fuckers play, you can’t run from us!

  • K Dizzle

    Cosign with Chris.

    Bring the NBA back to the Pacific Northwest….and I ain’t talkin about the Blazers.

  • http://dimemag.com Sean Sweeney

    I agree with what some of y’all are saying. Players in the draft are getting more and more power each year. It’s pretty disturbing and I agree teams shouldn’t back down from them.

  • JC

    I mean, if I don’t want to interview with a firm because I feel like the firm isn’t run well, that’s my choice. These players can be as selective as they want as they go through this process, as long as they aren’t jerks about it. It’s alright to mention an injury instead of just sayin “naw I’m straight.” Sure, it’s probably lying, but the truth likely does much more damage to the player’s reputation.

    Most people who act like they would play for “any NBA team” probably don’t have ANY opportunities to play in the league, but project that indiscriminate thought process on people who have some options. That’s nonsense. The Grizzlies don’t have a great reputation, so it’s no surprise that certain players are trying to avoid interacting with that organization.

  • johnsacrimoni

    @JC
    This isn’t a law firm, it’s the NBA. That’s why they have the draft, to make it fair for the smaller markets.

  • dagwaller

    @2, 4, AND 13 – Agree 100 percent!!!