Newest Grizzly Miles brings veteran savvy
C.J. Miles is now with his fifth team in his 14th season, so the NBA has little to offer that he has not experienced.
On Thursday, though, he crossed a new item off the list when he was traded to the Grizzlies as part of the deal that sent Marc Gasol to Toronto.
"As long as I’ve been in the league, this is the first time I’ve been traded," Miles said. "My family was with me, so that made it a little easier just getting ready to transition."
The 6-foot-6 wing called the trade experience "a little crazy" before making his Grizzlies debut in Saturday night's 99-90 win over the Pelicans at Fedexforum. But the crazy served Miles well. He scored 13 points on 6of-9 shooting in 21 minutes off the bench, showing a glimpse of the offensive firepower and veteran savvy on which he prides himself.
“Just being who I am, using my experience with the younger guys in games, talking as much as I can, bringing that to the team, outside shooting and being as helpful as I can be," Miles said of what he hopes to bring to Memphis. "That’s who I’ve been and what I’m about, just doing whatever my team needs me to do, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
Notable: The 31-year-old journeyman is just two seasons removed from shooting 41 percent from 3-point range for the Pacers. That clip was good enough for 12th in the NBA in the 201617 season.
What general manager Chris Wallace sees: "C.J. Miles is someone who has a track record as a scorer and outside shooter," Wallace said. "He’s a veteran presence. If you talk to anybody who's been on the teams he’s been with, it’s always great reports."
What he's making: Miles is earning $8.3 million this season, making him the sixth-highest paid Grizzlies player on the team's revamped roster. He has an $8.7 million player option for next season.
What he thinks of Memphis: “It’s always a team that you come in here and you know it’s going to be a fight," Miles said. "As long as I’ve been in the league, it’s been that way. You come in this building or when they come see you, it’s going to be a fight. It’s going to be a grind, as they like to say. They always play hard, tough-nosed, attack the paint. They play unselfishly, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do now.”
Analysis: Miles is taking Garrett Temple's old locker, and in some ways he is taking Temple's role. Although Miles is not beginning his time with the Grizzlies as a starter, he is a respected veteran much like Temple. Miles is a slight offensive upgrade over Temple, though he is perhaps a hair slower when it comes to staying in front of explosive wings on defense. Miles struggled to find his outside shot in Toronto this season (31.4 percent on 3-pointers). This represents a fresh start for a player who could be on his way to a 20-year NBA career.
Fun fact: Miles participated in the first game the Grizzlies played after trading Pau Gasol in 2008. He scored four points on 2-of-5 shooting as his Jazz team beat the Grizzlies 110-91 on Feb. 2, 2008, at Fedexforum.
Reach Grizzlies beat writer David Cobb at [email protected]mercial appeal.com or on Twitter @Davidwcobb.
New Grizzlies guard C.J. Miles (6) controls the ball between Pelicans guards Jrue Holiday (11) and Kenrich Williams during the second half Saturday. BRANDON DILL/AP