According to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, the Memphis Grizzlies are meeting with free agent point guard Mo Williams. The newspaper’s “Go Grizzlies” blog reported the sides met Monday and will continue talks into Tuesday.
The 30-year-old Williams is a 10-year NBA veteran who spent last season with the Utah Jazz. In an injury-plagued season, Williams averaged 12.9 points and 6.2 assists for the Jazz in 46 games, averaging 30.8 minutes and shooting 38.3 percent from 3-point range.
His player efficiency rating was slightly below average at 14.4 for Utah last season and he posted offensive and defensive ratings (points per 100 possessions) of 103 and 111, respectively.
Williams began his career with the Jazz, who drafted him in the second round out of Alabama in the 2003 NBA Draft. After one season in Utah, Williams signed with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he was moved to point guard and became a solid starter, averaging 17.2 points and 6.2 assists per game in his final two seasons with the Bucks (2006-07 and 2007-08).
In August 2008, Williams was part of a three-team trade involving the Bucks, Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers, winding up with the Cavs and earning his lone All-Star berth in 2008-09 when he averaged a career-high 18.3 points per game.
He was dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers at the trade deadline in 2011 as part of the deal that sent Baron Davis to Cleveland and then went to the Jazz on draft night in 2012 as part of a four-team trade involving the Clippers, Jazz, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets.
The market for Williams, who made $8.5 million last season, has been surprisingly soft.
Memphis has focused on improving its backcourt depth this summer. The Grizzlies re-signed starting shooting guard Tony Allen and have signed guards Nick Calathes, a 2009 second-round pick of the Dallas Mavericks who has played in Europe the past four seasons (he was discussed in this piece I wrote about a week ago) and Josh Akognon, who played three games for the Dallas Mavericks at the end of last season and has played in Estonia and China since going undrafted out of Cal State Fullerton in 2009.
Memphis also agreed to terms with Jamaal Franklin, the 41st overall pick out of San Diego State, and signed swingman Mike Miller—the leading 3-point shooter in Grizzlies’ history—after he was amnestied by the Miami Heat.
Comcast Sportsnet Northwest reported on Saturday that Delonte West, a former teammate of Williams’ in Cleveland, is drawing interest from the Grizzlies and the New York Knicks. West did not play in the NBA last season, spending the season in limbo after the Dallas Mavericks blamed him for starting a locker room dustup among teammates. After he was finally released by the Mavericks in March, he played eight games for the Texas Legends in the D-League.
Williams would be a better option to back up Conley at the point, if for no other reason than he is more stable and has a better resume besides. Williams also has some clutch in him, as evidenced by this game-winner last season against the San Antonio Spurs:
Besides the Grizzlies, the Jazz reportedly are interested in retaining Williams as a veteran option at the point to team with rookie Trey Burke. He has also reportedly drawn interest from the Miami Heat and Spurs.