The lifting of the NBA’s moratorium as of midnight today means that all signings, re-signings and trades that went down before July 11 can finally become official, which means a guy like Kyle Lowry should be an official Raptor soon enough (if he isn’t already by the time you read this) and the Knicks will now have three days to match the three-year offer sheet to Landry Fields.
One of the new developments that emerged almost immediately after midnight is that Jerryd Bayless has agreed to a new contract with the Grizzlies.
You’ll remember that on Friday, the Raptors rescinded their qualifying offer to Bayless, making him an unrestricted free agent, which meant that Toronto had no right to match any offers for the 23-year-old guard.
Bayless will likely back up point guard Mike Conley in Memphis, but with O.J. Mayo’s expected departure, he should also get a good look as a combo guard off of the bench. In short, the opportunity for Bayless to finally stick with a franchise should be there if he can find a way to grab it and run with it.
I know a lot of Raptors fans (or at least a lot of the ones I’ve argued with) thought of Bayless as an inefficient ball hog, but if you’ve read RaptorBlog over the last year or so, you’ll know that Scott and I were big supporters of his. He struggled with consistency early in his Raptors career and couldn’t stay healthy in 2011-2012, playing in just 31 of 66 games, but Bayless showed plenty of promise in stretches and had some flashes of brilliance.
Most notably, an eight-game stretch to finish the 2010-11 season where he started all eight games and averaged 22.5 points on over 48 per cent shooting, and a similar six-game stretch in March of last season where he averaged 20 points on over 50 per cent shooting to go along with seven assists per game.
Obviously these were extremely small sample sizes, but I still feel a 23-year-old who has averaged about 16 points and six assists per 36 minutes in his career and shot over 42 per cent from three-point range last season has a lot to offer, and now my worry is that another team and its fan base are going to reap the benefits.
Bayless was a tough competitor on the court, seemed to genuinely love playing in Toronto and was a class act when we had him on with us for an episode of RaptorBlog Radio. I know I’m not alone when I say that I’m happy he’s found another opportunity and hope the best for him, but as a Raptors fan, I also hope he doesn’t become “the one that got away,” no matter how selfish that sounds.
Good luck, Jerryd…sort of.