The Memphis Grizzlies are sending No. 2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet
down for a stint in the D-League, the team announced on Thursday.
Two sources close to the situation confirmed Thabeet’s impending
D-League assignment to the Dakota Wizards to ESPN.com earlier Thursday.
Thabeet is the highest draft pick ever sent to the D-League by an NBA team. Players can only be assigned to D-League duty by their NBA teams during their first two seasons as a pro.
Thabeet’s assignment to the Wizards — Memphis’ North Dakota-based affiliate — was first reported by the Web site RidiculousUpside.com, which covers the D-League extensively.
Although the Grizzlies acknowledged that Thabeet was a long-term project when they selected him with the No. 2 pick in June over the likes of local collegiate star Tyreke Evans, Memphis was hoping that the 7-foot-3 center could survive as a backup in his first NBA season. But Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins announced earlier this week that second-year center Hamed Haddadi of Iran would begin receiving Thabeet’s minutes behind starting center Marc Gasol.
The Grizzlies, according to NBA front-office sources, offered Thabeet and second-year guard O.J. Mayo to the Golden State Warriors for Warriors guard Monta Ellis before the Feb. 18 trade deadline but were turned down.