The Real Reason Thabeet Canceled His Memphis Workout

By: 06.22.09  •  26 Comments
UConn's Hasheem Thabeet

UConn's Hasheem Thabeet

The original reason that Hasheem Thabeet canceled his workout with the Grizzlies on Sunday was because of a “sore shoulder.” Then we heard that he actually had family to visit in New York so he couldn’t spend time down in Memphis.

But now, word is that those were really both just excuses, and he just doesn’t want to play for the Grizzlies.

The official explanation was a sore shoulder. The unofficial explanation? Thabeet doesn’t want to play in Memphis and wanted to stay in Los Angeles to talk Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti into drafting him at No. 3.

Why doesn’t Thabeet want to play in Memphis? For the same reason that Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry and others have refused workouts. Said one source in explaining the Grizzlies’ reputation: “They don’t spend any money anymore. They don’t have a commitment to put a winning team on the floor right now. It’s not where an agent wants to send his star pick.”

That puts Memphis owner Michael Heisley in an awkward place. Would he be forced into choosing James Harden at No. 2, even though they already have O.J. Mayo playing shooting guard, and Harden had a poor workout for them? Would he be forced to draft someone who doesn’t want to play in Memphis like Thabeet, Rubio or Curry? Those are definite possibilities.

Though it’s got to be deflating to hear from everyone that you like that they don’t like you, Heisley could turn this negative into a positive. If he pulls off a great draft-day move, in which he adds the right pieces who have a good attitude about playing in Memphis, he could change the culture of the place in a single day. There are always rumors about the Knicks wanting to trade up – could he get their pick at No. 8 and Wilson Chandler or Nate Robinson or David Lee? Then he could use that No. 8 pick on a guy like Jonny Flynn or Tyreke Evans if they’re still available.

If Heisley’s able to swing some deal in which he trades down and adds two legit players, the only thing left to do is to pay his stars accordingly so that players want to come to Memphis in the future.

Source: Chad Ford on ESPN Insider

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