The Memphis Grizzlies had some big names on the wish list for free agency and missed. They did sign Jerryd Bayless and the 6-foot-3 guard said he will play whatever role his fourth NBA team asks — even backing up All-Star center Marc Gasol.
"Whatever they want, I'm willing to do it and I'm really looking forward to it," Bayless said Tuesday on a conference call.
He won't be asked to back up Gasol, but Memphis hopes the career 41-percent shooter will add some perimeter scoring and add veteran help backing up point guard Mike Conley. They originally targeted Ray Allen, Jason Terry, Randy Foye and others looking to fill the areas that cost them their first-round playoff series in seven games to the Clippers.
The Grizzlies did not release terms of the deal, though The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal reported Bayless agreed to a two-year deal.
Memphis drafted guard Tony Wroten of Washington with its lone pick last month. The Grizzlies also have Jeremy Pargo, who was left off the postseason roster, but team officials continue looking for more experience at guard.
Bayless was the 11th pick overall in 2008 after one year at Arizona, and he has played with Portland, New Orleans and most recently Toronto with 36 starts in 229 career games. He averaged a career-high 11.4 points in 31 games with Toronto this season, including shooting an average 42.3 percent from 3-point range.
Bayless said his confidence has improved after a rocky time over his first year and half in the NBA when he was playing only a few minutes every few games. He started second-guessing himself, which took its toll. Not now.
"If it goes in, it goes in. If it doesn't, I keep shooting because I feel confident enough it eventually will go in," Bayless said.
The Grizzlies need help from the perimeter. They shot only 28.9 percent outside the arc in losing to the Clippers, even with Conley hitting 11 of 22. Conley also averaged 39.6 minutes per game during the series.
Bayless said he talked only briefly with Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins on Tuesday in Las Vegas after having his physical in Memphis last week.
"I'm most comfortable at the one. I like to have the ball in my hands. That's where I'm most comfortable at making plays for myself and others ...," Bayless said. "Honestly, I'll make whatever work. I just want to play and whatever they ask is what I do. Usually, I'm most comfortable with the ball in my hands doing that."
Bayless said he chose Memphis over Toronto, his last team, because he likes the Grizzlies' growth with two straight playoff berths. He's also known Rudy Gay and Conley since high school and became friends with Zach Randolph through Brandon Roy while at Portland in his first NBA stop.
"I'm excited about the team, and hopefully we go far," Bayless said.