The Grizzlies have signed free-agent Iranian center Hamed Haddadi (or Ehadadi or Hadadi, depending on the release). The 7-foot-2 (!) Haddadi averaged 16.6 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in Beijing. Solid. Here's what they're saying out in the ether about the pick-up ...
Larry Brown Sports: "The Griz wouldn't release terms of their agreement with Haddadi, but he signed a multiyear deal that is equivalent to that of a mid-first-round draft pick, according to sources. Mid-first-round pick money? That’s not bad at all. They obviously expect him to produce along the lines of one of the Lopez twins if they’re paying him that type of money. Considering how well Haddadi played against Argentina in the Olympics — a team featuring a handful of NBA players — there’s no reason to think he couldn’t play in the league. And in case you were wondering, Haddadi will become the first Iranian to play in the NBA. What barriers aren’t they crossing these days? Basketball is truly becoming a global game."
3 Shades of Blue: "(Headline: Who's Your Haddadi?) This is a solid signing, even if it will be viewed as Wallace attempting to "catch lightning in a bottle" once more from some of the more pessimistic fans. At the very least, it provides Memphis with another big body to throw out there in case Darko's Achilles injury is more serious than anyone thinks or if either Milicic or Gasol suffer an injury this season. His shotblocking and rebounding skills make him a worthwhile gamble for this young, up-and-coming team. [...] It has come to the attention of the bloggers at 3 Shades of Blue that Haddadi's contract is multi-year and similar in nature to a 1st round draft pick's contract (no idea where in the first round that contract would fit but it probably is somewhere between 20 and 30.) [...] This makes sense to lock him up for at least 3 years. If he develops at all then the Grizzlies have his Bird Rights. If he doesn't then someone else will gladly take a chance for an inexpensive big man. As has been mentioned on the radio lately, there just aren't a lot of big men around these days."
FanHouse: "Will Haddadi help? Memphis has a weird, weird frontcourt. Marc Gasol played well but not amazing in Spain last season, and will be a rookie. Darko Milicic is ... Darko Milicic. Hakim Warrick is a livewire who will still be raw when he's a 12-year veteran. Darrell Arthur is only 20 years old, and couldn't play center in Billy Knight's dreams. And then there's that shooting guard masquerading as an occasional power forward Antoine Walker. Oodles of fun."
Upside and Motor: "Not the most polished offensive player in the world, but his Olympic stats in terms of rebounds and blocks speak for themselves. There isn't all that much out there in terms of easily digestible content on the Iranian Stallion, and I'd be lying to you if I said I paid all that much attention to his game at the Olympics, even as he became a more visible player. [...] I'm glad this silly "BUT HE'S IRANIAN!!!!!1!11!one!" thing has boiled over, because he really deserves a shot on sticking in the NBA, and the whole idea of rejecting Iranian nationals is kind of silly. I understand the intent, but come on."
Ronald Tillery, Memphis Commercial Appeal: "Haddadi, 23, was the only player to average a double-double in Beijing Olympics. He competed in five games for the Iranian national team, which did not advance to the medal round. His best performance came Aug. 16 against bronze medal winner Argentina when he had a team-high 21 points and game-high 16 rebounds. 'He is a young center who was very productive as a rebounder, shotblocker and scorer at the Rocky Mountain Revue Summer League in Salt Lake City, Utah, the 2008 Olympics and the FIBA Diamond Ball Tournament in Nanjing, China prior to the Olympics,' Griz general manager Chris Wallace said in a statement. 'Our coaching staff is eager to begin working with Hamed.'"