Blake Griffin: No hatred between Clippers and Grizzlies

Blake-Griffin-Zach-RandolphAfter the way the postseason went last year, it’s only appropriate that the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies would square off again this season in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs. When those two teams get together, things have a tendency to get chippy.

Despite the fact that Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph have a history of beating up on each other when their teams get together, Griffin insists there is no bad blood between the Grizzlies and the Clippers. Here’s what he told Sports Illustrated’s Jimmy Traina, who was celebrating the sixth anniversary of Hot Clicks on Tuesday (congrats to Jimmy on the well-deserved milestone).

“Not hatred. We have a mutual respect for each other with the battles we’ve had going back to last year in the regular season,” Griffin explained. “Like you said, the seven-game series was a battle. It’s become one of these well-known physical games where everyone’s taking the hits. It’s actually a lot of fun. There isn’t hate, though. On the court, there’s animosity. But off the court, everyone’s cool.”

You certainly could have fooled us. If you need several examples of Randolph and Griffin not playing nice with one another, we have them for you here. Perhaps Griffin has no hatred toward Memphis because his team has dominated the Grizzlies as of late and holds a 2-0 series lead over them already. If Randolph was asked about his feelings toward the Clippers, he might give a different answer.

Peyton Manning reportedly agrees to become minority owner of the Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies have vastly improved on the court over the past few seasons, and it sounds like they will be doing the same off the court before the start of next season. That is, if you like the concept of athletes and celebrities as owners of professional sports franchises. According to radio host Chris Vernon, Peyton Manning has agreed to become a minority owner of the Grizzlies.

If all reports are true, the Grizzlies ownership group has quickly emerged as the most star-studded in all of basketball. Manning will join avid NBA fan and Memphis native Justin Timberlake as well as Penny Hardaway to form part of the new crew that is headed by Robert Pera.

The Grizzlies have increased their winning percentage significantly over the past four seasons. They were bounced in the first round of the playoffs last season, but it’s tough not to be excited about the names now involved with the team. Money is money a lot of the time when it comes to investors and ownership groups, but Justin Timberlake and Peyton Manning on the same team? That’s enough to get any fan worked up.

Justin Timberlake reportedly set to become minority owner of the Grizzlies

Step aside, Jay-Z. A new music industry juggernaut is joining the NBA community. Prospective new owner of the Grizzlies Robert Pera is reportedly nearing completion on an agreement with the team’s current ownership group, and he is in the process of recruiting minority owners. According to ESPN.com, Justin Timberlake has agreed to join the ownership team.

One source told ESPN that Timberlake and Pera have quickly struck up a friendship and that the celebrity is prepared to make a “meaningful investment” and be much more than a silent partner. That would make sense since J.T. is a known basketball fan who has been known to sit courtside during games and hand out congratulatory butt slaps.

Pera has said that his purchasing of the team would “practically guarantee” that the Grizzlies stay in Memphis for at least 15 more seasons. Timberlake was born in Memphis and raised in Tennessee, so that commitment is believed to be a major selling point for him. Your move, Justin Bieber.

Grizzlies GM got idea to sign Gilbert Arenas from reading a blog post

Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace admitted he got the idea to sign free agent Gilbert Arenas after reading a blog post on a Grizzlies fan site.

“[The idea] came up a couple weeks ago and we gradually worked towards it,” Wallace said on The Chris Vernon Show.

Host Chris Vernon pressed Wallace about the issue, and the GM caved.

“I’m going to admit this, I’m going to come clean. I’ll be honest about it, okay? … I’m in the office of [President of Business Operations] Greg Campbell, he says, ‘You outta read this thing that’s on a blog today.’ And I don’t read the blogs, but this guy wrote this case for Gilbert Arenas, and I read the thing and said ‘Greg, you know something? This guy makes some sense.’

“I thought about it and said, you know, we gotta look into it a little further.

“So I called his agent up. I’m willing to admit it — I pride myself on being open-minded — and you look at the finances involved, and the group of players involved, and why not?”

Wallace said he didn’t even know what blog it was or who wrote the post. The honesty from Wallace gave Vernon a hearty laugh, but the GM justified the move.

“I don’t see this as a gamble. It’s a very nominal investment, and he has every incentive to make this work,” Wallace said of Arenas.

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Gilbert Arenas reportedly will sign with Memphis Grizzlies

Gilbert Arenas worked out for the Grizzlies Monday and is reportedly preparing to sign with the team. The Memphis Commercial Appeal says Arenas appeared slender and shot the ball well in his workout. They say he is taking a physical and that he will likely sign as long as he is cleared.

Arenas would be signed to a contract for the veteran’s minimum and could join the team for its Thursday game at Portland.

Gilbert is 30 years old, recovering from knee issues, and underwent a plasma therapy treatment to improve his knees. He hasn’t played pro basketball since ending last season with the Magic. He admitted in a recent interview that his mind wasn’t right with Orlando, so Memphis is hoping that he’ll be in a proper frame of mind.

The Grizzlies are 25-18, fifth in the Western Conference standings and probably figure they need to make a move to compete with some of the teams ahead of them. It’s a risky play for Memphis given how ineffective Arenas has been lately, and how much of a distraction he can be. I really hope he signs and that this works out well for both sides.

Grizzlies giving away hilarious Valentine’s Day cards to fans (Pictures)

Anyone who is feeling a bit down this Valentine’s Day should consider getting out to the Memphis Grizzlies game on Friday night. Watching the Grizzlies play the Pacers may not be your idea of excitement, but if you don’t laugh at the Valentine’s Day cards they are giving out that feature their players you must be really, really depressed about this “holiday.” Check out these pictures that The Chris Vernon Show shared on Twitter, with more examples below.

Classic. Typically all the good giveaways in sports are reserved for minor league baseball teams and other lower-level organizations like this one and this one, but it’s nice to see an NBA team come up with a great idea. Well done, Grizzlies marketing team.


Gary Neal and Manu Ginobili Shots Are as Incredible as it Gets (Video)

The Spurs miraculously came back to beat the Grizzlies in Game 5 of the NBA Playoffs Wednesday evening in what had to have been the best game of the postseason thus far. The Spurs were down by three with under 10 seconds left and staring elimination in the face. This is the same San Antonio team that earned the top spot in the Western Conference, has won three titles with their core three, and whose window was closing. But for at least a day, the basketball gods ensured the Spurs legend would live on.

Check out these amazing shots made by both Manu Ginobili and Gary Neal that helped send the game to overtime. These two shots are every reason why it’s awesome to be a sports fan — skip ahead to the two minute mark in the video:

After such a crushing defeat in Game 5, I really wonder who has the more difficult task to conquer. San Antonio needs to win two more games to win the series while Memphis only needs one. Will they be demoralized after blowing a chance to clinch the series and advance? Will they be able to recover? Will the Spurs carry the momentum they gained from the thrilling comeback for the rest of the series? There’s only one way to find out, and that’s what makes watching these playoffs so darn exciting. I do have to tell you, I would favor the Spurs at this point. If Memphis can clinch the series, they will have accomplished a more impressive feat even though they’re ahead in the series.