Wizards-Grizzlies Preview, The Debut of Mike Harris & Buyout Tid-Bits | Truth About It.net

Wizards-Grizzlies Preview, The Debut of Mike Harris & Buyout Tid-Bits

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Updated: February 24, 2010

{Mike Harris}

As you probably know, the Wizards today signed Mike Harris of the NBA D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers to a 10-day contract. Had a brief chat with him before tonight’s game …

“It’s basketball, so it’s always better up than it is down.” -Mike Harris

  • Mike has never been to D.C. before, said he’s most definitely not used to the weather.
  • Said he’s a “basketball guru” so he already knew a good deal about the current Wizards … played against Al Thornton and the Clippers when he was in Houston, also knows a little about Nick Young and Andray Blatche when he played against them in the 2008 Vegas Summer League as a Rocket.
  • Harris said Flip Saunders told him to just come in and “do what you do” and to not try so much to fit in with the team, but to let the team fit to him … just play hard, have a good time, and try not to think to much.
  • There is some familiarity, as Mike said the Wizards run similar plays to what they ran down in Rio Grande, just with different calls.
  • Mike said he found out about the call-up about five minutes after getting out of tuesday’s practice with the Vipers when his coach informed him. It was about 12:30-1:00 pm when he found out that he had a 4:45 flight to Washington. Harris said he was lucky that he already had a rental car, so getting to the airport wasn’t a problem. His flight was a bit delayed in Houston, so he didn’t get into D.C. until 1:30-1:45 on Wednesday morning.

Here are some more bullets on Harris:

  • He turned 26 last June 15th and shares a birthday with Mary Carey (the porn star who ran for governor in California and who once was “courted” by Dwight Howard), Neil Patrick Harris, Andy Pettitte, Ice Cube, Courtney Cox, Wade Boggs, Dr. Jerry Buss, D.J. Strawberry, and Zan Tabak … yes, “the” Zan Tabak, who won a ring in Houston with Hakeem Olajuwon. Take that Barkley!
  • Harris went to Hillsboro High School in Hillsboro, Texas and averaged 27 points and 19 rebounds his senior year. He was recruited by Baylor, Oklahoma State, Stephen F. Austin and Tulsa, but ended up choosing Rice.
  • After four seasons at Rice, Harris left as both the Owls’ all-time leading scorer and rebounder. He was named the WAC freshman of the year in 2002 and made the all-WAC first team in ’04 and ’05.
  • The last, and only other, Rice alum to suit up for the franchise was Mike Wilks, who briefly played for the Wizards in December 2007.
  • Harris previously suited up in the NBA for the Houston Rockets, but has also played in the Ukraine, China (where he won the all-star game dunk contest and was named to the All-Chinese CBA 1st team), and Kuwait, among other domestic stops.
  • Harris will wear #33.

{Grizzlies Preview}

3 Shades of Blue, the fabulous Memphis Grizzlies blog in the ESPN TrueHoop Network, has a full preview from their end. But for a quick hit on the Griz, Chip Crian, one of the blog’s proprietors, writes:

Well the book on the Grizzlies is pretty simple. Force Zach Randolph out of the paint before he gets the ball and double him when he does get it, double Marc Gasol down low too but don’t worry about him in the high post. Dare Memphis’ perimeter players to beat you with their outside shots and hope they aren’t hot that night.

Memphis looked to improve the team before the trade deadline by getting Ronnie Brewer for a super protected first round pick starting in 2011. It may not be so helpful as he partially tore his hamstring in his first game with the Grizzlies and is expected out for 3-4 weeks. Memphis’ bench is too young to contribute on a nightly basis and Hasheem Thabeet looks like he’s losing his backup center job to Hamed Haddadi. That tells you all you need to know about how the Grizzlies feel about the second pick in the draft.

The bottom line with the Grizzlies is they want to run to get easy baskets and when they hit their outside shots can beat any team in the league. They already have wins over the Lakers, Cavs, Magic, Nuggets, Blazers and Jazz to name a few teams. They also have lost to the Clippers, Kings and Timberwolves. Most disturbing has been the Grizzlies inability to put teams away. They have lost more 10+ pt leads than any other team in the league (including last night against the Lakers at home). Being the youngest team in the league that is somewhat understandable especially when you factor in the terrible bench but it is still a bad trend. Teams don’t quit against the Grizzlies because they know that the Grizzlies have a reputation as a team that will let people back into games.

{Buyout Tid-Bits: Big Z & Mike James}

NBA.com’s David Aldridge reports that the Wizards and Zydrunas Ilgauskas are “still working” on a buyout, but the Wizards are playing hard ball … as well they should be. The Wiz hold all the cards on this one since they’re already under the luxury tax.

More recently, the WaPost’s Michael Lee Tweeted that the two sides are “moving closer” to a buyout, which is expected to be in the $1-1.5 million range. Lee says an announcement could come Thursday.

As has been reported, Mike James and his agent are hoping that the Wizards waive him instead of going through buyout negotiations. Obviously this would benefit James because he would not be losing out any money if waived. And from his perspective, he would also be slightly more flexible with whom he could sign after officially severing ties with the Wizards. James wouldn’t have to worry about trying to re-coup any money lost in a buyout.

The Wizards, however, don’t have much incentive to waive James at this point, aside from doing the guy a solid. As much as you’ll hear NBA players say, “this is a business,” front office personnel will probably say the same. Evidenced by hard ball discussions with Ilgauskas, the Wizards, still run by the Pollin family, are looking to save money in any way possible. So, the Wizards waiving James is highly unlikely at this point. It’s not like they really need to free up roster spot.

Either way, if James wants to catch on with another team and be eligible for the playoffs, a decision to waive or a buyout agreement will need to be reached by March 1st, which is Monday. Miami, Charlotte and Portland, as a third dark horse, have been rumored to be interested in signing James should he become free from the Wizards.

Miami is already over the luxury tax and would have to pay double to sign James. Charlotte is under the tax threshold, but the Charlotte Observer reports that they might have interest in former Wizard Larry Hughes, who was recently bought out by the Sacramento Kings. Hughes, however, is dealing with a fractured finger and could miss four weeks of action.

In any case, stay tuned.

{Appetizing Links}

Rashad Mobley profiles the ‘Ins & Outs’ of JaVale McGee. [Hoops Addict]

Mike Jones poses some questions for the Wizards’ final 28 games. [Mike Jones Sports]

One excerpt in particular stands out:

“[Al] Thornton has come right in and made an impact, averaging 16 points a game as a Wizard. He has run through only a handful of practices, but already has earned more trust from Saunders than [Nick] Young.”

Mike Prada implores us to look at the bright side of Josh Howard’s injury. [Bullets Forever]

{Mike Harris Post}