The big news this week was Trey Gilder signing a partially-guaranteed contract with the Memphis Grizzlies
If you were wondering where Ridiculous Transactions went this weekend (and I'm sure you could think of nothing else for the last two days), we decided to give it a trial run on Mondays. The reason is that the last few weeks some big transactions happened over the weekend and I had to wait a week to write about it. Of course now that I switched the days all the big transactions will happen on Tuesdays or something. If you haven't been a regular RU weekend reader (and you really should be), the first transactions post has a good explanation of what we're looking at here.
August 24: Kevin Kruger - signed with Basket Napoli (Italy)
Europe is probably a good move for Kruger, as he's a good-but-not-great-point guard even by minor league basketball standards. He has a habit of dribbling the ball too much, but Kruger does a pretty good job running an offense and played decently in Summer League. The Jazz were the team most likely to bring him to training camp out of anyone, though, and they're pretty set at point guard.
August 25: Gary Wilkinson - signed with Dongbu Promy (South Korea); Josh Heytvelt - signed with Oyak Renault Bursa (Turkey); Will Frisby - signed with Benfica (Portugal)
Wilkinson is a 26 year old undrafted rookie who managed to grab two rebounds in 36 minutes for Utah's Summer League team, which would be poor for a guard but is especially so for a 6'9" power forward. Heytvelt didn't get a whole lot of run for Washington's Summer League team, playing double digit minutes only once, but he apparently defended the pick and roll pretty well. He was fairly athletic in college, but he bulked up a little bit after his suspension and he'll likely need to shed a few pounds in order to get the NBA's attention again. Udonis Haslem did it in Europe, so maybe Heytvelt can too. Will Frisby was a really solid big man for the Dakota Wizards last year, and it's too bad his role on this year's D-League Select Summer League team couldn't turn into at least a training camp invite.
August 26: Albuquerque Thunderbirds - signed head coach John Coffino to another one-year contract
The Thunderbirds were caught in the middle of their division last year, better than Rio Grande Valley and Tulsa but stuck behind Colorado and Austin who had the two best records in the league. They had some talented players but also had to handle injuries in addition to some trades and call-ups. It remains to be seen how they'll do now that the divisions have been abolished, but Coffino's a solid coach and he should have them in a position to make the playoffs
This is great for Gilder, obviously, but it's also a solid move for Memphis in that Gilder provides some insurance in case rookies DeMarre Carrol and Sam Young struggle (if Hasheem Thabeet struggles, well, good luck with that). That's not to say that Gilder himself still isn't a little on the raw side. As I noted in my offseason profile of Gilder (remember when we were doing those?), he still relies on his athleticism more than a solid shot, and he could stand to bulk up a little. He worked hard last year, though, and in addition to being a solid bench scorer he doesn't turn the ball over a whole lot. He played solidly in Summer League and apparently made an impression on the Grizzlies. The one concern I have is that if Memphis does sign Allen Iverson, they'll have 14 players on their roster. They were one team I had assumed would carry only the minimum 13 players, and Gilder's contract is only partially guaranteed, so his spot may be in danger should it come down to that. But, this is a move that could pay off really well for the Grizzlies down the line if they see it through.
August 29: DeMarcus Nelson - signed with Air Avellino (Italy); Dwayne Mitchell - signed with Hapoel Holon (Israel)
Mitchell spent last year with the LA D-Fenders, and he's a solid scoring guard even though he doesn't shoot a ton of three-pointers. He does a good job of getting to the line, and he can also give a team some occasional rebounding and assists. DeMarcus Nelson's shooting has been steadily improving, though it's still not great, and he had some turnover problems in Austin, but he's really good at getting to the rim and finishing around the basket, and he's a solid floor leader.