Amar'e Stoudemire was bought out by the New York Knicks shortly after the conclusion of the 2015 NBA All-Star Game, and it didn't take him long to find a new team.
Amar'e Stoudemire has committed to sign with the Dallas Mavericks, league sources tell RealGM.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 17, 2015
Stoudemire has quietly had a good season for a horrendous Knicks team, posting a 19.7 PER while averaging 12 points and 6.8 rebounds on 54.3 percent shooting from the field in 24 minutes per game.
Amar'e is an obvious upgrade to the Mavericks bench - sliding into the 15-20-minute per game slot that was being taken up by Charlie Villanueva and Dwight Powell. While the long-term impact of Amar'e-to-the-Mavs on the Western Conference Standings is unknown, one thing is clear: Dallas is a better team today than they were pre-All-Star break.
It was a long-shot from the beginning, but people around Memphis had hoped that Stoudemire would opt to sign with the Grizzlies, thus securing their backup power forward situation.
The Grizzlies, based on rumors of them trying to - in some form - acquire another power forward, do not seem overly pleased with the play of Jon Leuer. Or, at the very least, they want to bring in another player to add a fifth big man to the roster since rookie Jarnell Stokes is not ready to take on such a role just yet.
Leuer has not been bad; he's just been wildly inconsistent. On the season, the former Wisconsin Badger has averaged 5.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, and an assist in 14.6 minutes per game. But it's his lack of being able to stretch the floor to the three-point line and defend consistently that have the Grizzlies most frustrated. Leuer has only attempted 25 threes in 48 games played, making only seven.
On top of that, there are some nights when all Leuer can do to stop his man from scoring is to simply foul him. His defensive footwork is sloppy, and he is frequently out-muscled in the paint.
Leuer is fine being the fifth big man on a roster, but the Grizzlies should not feel comfortable going into the playoffs with him being Zach Randolph's primary backup.
Where do the Grizzlies Turn Now?
Well, it's likely that the Grizzlies have a few options.
First, they can look to the D-League. The Grizzlies have already given Tyrus Thomas and JaMychal Green 10-day contracts, and Green - who averaged 23 points, 10.9 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, and 1 steal per game in the D-League - seems like a possible candidate for another 10-day contract once the Grizzlies resume playing on Sunday.
Tyrus Thomas is an interesting one. He's a reclamation project, but he was productive in a past NBA life. He's only 28, but he has a great deal of injury miles on his body. It will be worth keeping an eye on, seeing how Thomas plays with the Iowa Energy, and whether the Grizzlies - albeit rather unlikely - give him another shot.
There are a few other candidates such as former Grizzly Willie Reed, Roscoe Smith, James Michael McAdoo, and Jerrelle Benimon, but it is difficult to imagine that a D-League player could come in and be even marginally better than Leuer has been.
Another option is to go out and get a veteran big man. Andray Blatche's name has been connected to the Grizzlies. While there's no denying Blatche's talent level, some doubt his ability to fit into the locker room due to a somewhat questionable character background. One counter to that would be the fact the the Grizzlies are widely regarded as having one of the best locker rooms in the entire league, so they may be able to withstand the addition of a player like Blatche. But you run the risk - a small risk - of him splintering the locker room. Nonetheless, until Blatche signs, his name will likely continue to be linked to Memphis.
Brandon Bass is another guy that could fit the mold of what the Grizzlies are looking for in a ZBo backup. Bass has appeared in 54 playoff games (31 starts) and has been a quintessential role player throughout his career. This season, Bass has averaged 9.5 points and 4.2 rebounds in 20.8 minutes per game, and he would undeniably be an upgrade over Leuer. Boston has no real use for Bass at this point, and he could wind up being a buyout candidate.
The final name I will throw out is Quincy Acy. While Acy is certainly not the caliber of player that either Blatche or Bass is, he could likely be gotten on the cheap. The Knicks would likely part with Acy for a protected second-round pick, and, despite not being a great defender, he would be an upgrade defensively over Leuer. Acy is a solid, strong rebounder, decent finisher around the rim, and an extremely high energy, relentless player off the bench. Plus, he looks and plays like a Memphis Grizzly, so he has that going for him.