Celtics And Grizzlies Believe in Darius Miles
After a weekend which saw Darius Miles grab headlines, the latest twist in this story has the Memphis Grizzlies re-signing the talented forward Darius Miles to a 10-day contract.
Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced the move yesterday afternoon and Miles was expected to land in Memphis yesterday to be able to practice with the team today.
Miles, who was waived by the Grizzlies on January 7 when the team didn’t want to guarantee his contract for the remainder of the season, cleared waivers and subsequently became an unrestricted free agent. Miles was talked about heavily around water coolers on Friday as word began to spread that Portland sent out an email to teams warning them of possible litigation if they signed Miles to another 10-day contract.
Memphis wasn’t deterred and jumped at the chance to re-add the veteran to help their younger players snap out of a losing skid.
“I thought he was a very good pro,” Grizzlies head coach Marc Iavaroni told Hoops Addict while relaxing courtside before the teams game on Friday. “He came in, we knew he was behind the curve in terms of his conditioning and getting his legs and stuff, but he worked very hard on that. I thought he made real strides and I thought he picked up what we were doing. Unfortunately we didn’t have a lot of practice time to really teach him what we were doing so we didn’t get a chance to use him as much as perhaps maybe people anticipated, but right now it’s difficult because we have Hakim Warrick and Darrell Arthur. These are guys who have a solid future with us and it’s difficult to take developmental minutes away from them.”
While Memphis is clearly building for the future which means Warrick and Arthur are a priority, after losing 11 of their past 13 games something had to be done so salvage this season.
Cue the re-addition of Miles back into the mix for Memphis.
“Darius (Miles) did everything asked of him in his initial stint with the Grizzlies and was well received by his teammates,” Chris Wallace told the media in a statement sent to Hoops Addict via email. “In the last Minnesota game (Jan. 6), his length, experience, rebounding, shot blocking and defense on one of the elite post scorers in the league, Al Jefferson, were all impressive. Our young team is short on frontcourt players and can use a veteran with his attributes.”
The fact Miles worked well with the younger players on the Grizzlies roster was echoed by some of their core players.
Despite being dejected after a tough loss to the Toronto Raptors on Friday, Mike Conley Jr. burst into a huge grin when asked about Miles.
“Darius (Miles) was a fun guy. He was a guy who has been around the league and knows a lot about the NBA. He understood the game and from the time he was with us he tried to give us some knowledge about how hard we need to play. He’s been on good teams and bad teams, so he knows different ways teams can handle situations. He made sure our heads were right and focused. He did a good job of explaining that to us.”
After being banged up early in the game O.J. Mayo wasn’t too talkative while dealing with the media, however he was still willing to give Miles credit for what he brought to the team during his initial stay.
“D-Miles was a great teammate,” Mayo told Hoops Addict. “He came in everyday and worked hard. He was a positive guy in the locker room, on the court and in practice.”
It’s not just Memphis that has been impressed with Miles so far this season. The 27-year-old signed free-agent inked a non-guaranteed contract with the Boston Celtics on Aug. 22, 2008 and then appeared in six preseason games, averaging 1.8 points and 1.3 rebounds in 10.4 minutes before his release on Oct. 20.
These aren’t the kind of numbers that scream NBA star, but Celtics head coach Doc Rivers believes that Miles still has a future in the NBA, despite the team not having the roster flexibility space to keep him.
“He looked alright for us,” Rivers told Hoops Addict while meeting with the media before his teams game against Toronto. “Obviously he didn’t look good enough to make our roster, but I’m just happy he’s in there. He was good for me. I know his history, and he has some negative baggage from things he’s caused, not Portland manufacturing that, but he did cause that but he’s still breathing, I think, and I think you should give a guy another shot. You should keep giving people chances to prove their better people and better players. And now he has another opportunity to do that and I hope he does.”
Portland can try to bully teams all they want, but the reality of the matter is countless people around the NBA still believe that Darius Miles is still able to play in the NBA.
Photo Credit: ICON Sports Media