Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Report: Grizzlies to Sign Marcus Williams

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 5:10 PM

b399/1248905348-marcus-williams.jpgPro Basketball News is reporting that the Grizzlies have found their long-sought back-up point guard in journeyman and former UCONN star Marcus Williams:

Marcus Williams had a banner NBA Summer League. And it made a difference.

Williams' agent, Calvin Andrews, confirmed to Pro Basketball News on Wednesday afternoon his client will sign with the Memphis Grizzlies within the next few days. The point guard will get a one-year deal for the NBA minimum of $855,189.

Williams averaged 6 points and 3 assists on 39% shooting in the past three seasons for the New Jersey Nets and Golden State Warriors, but he put up nice numbers in a five-game run for the Grizzlies in the Las Vegas Summer League, an arena in which quality performance is not always an indicator for future NBA success.

A five-man-unit of Williams, rookies Sam Young, DeMarre Carroll, and Hasheem Thabeet, and second-year forward Darrell Arthur went 5-0 in Vegas, but as the probable second-unit for the Grizzlies against real NBA competition it's a lineup light on proven performance or scoring ability.

Needing a bench scorer even more after deciding Hakim Warrick's one-year tender at below mid-level money was too rich, the Grizzlies could have gone after free agents guard such as Atlanta's Flip Murray or Golden State's C.J. Watson, both of whom have a track record of being an effective NBA scorer. Of course, those players would have cost more than the minimum.

Presumably, the Williams signing means the Grizzlies have given up on their pursuit of Allen Iverson.

The signing brings the team's roster to 12, assuming Warrick doesn't end up returning. That's one shy of the minimum, which means the Grizzlies still need to sign one more player.

Since I don't believe they'll spend much on this last roster spot, I won't suggest anything radical like a proven, productive vet. But I will throw out a couple of names: Houston's Von Wafer is young, was a very productive offensive player for Houston last season, and would probably come cheap. And former Griz Tarrence Kinsey is a free-agent again. Kinsey was a staff favorite pre-Marc Iavaroni, and some of that staff remains. I think Kinsey is a legit NBA player, but not the proven scorer this bench needs.

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