Tayshaun Prince entered the Memphis Grizzlies training camp as the incumbent starting small forward. There has been plenty of offseason discussion about whether Quincy Pondexter could play his way into that spot, sending Tayshaun to the bench. There has been discussion about Mike Miller’s health and whether, if healthy enough, Miller should be starting at the three.
So, we were anticipating a battle in training camp. A battle that may play out in preseason games that could determine the opening game starting five. Maybe. It could be that these things would be decided in camp or in practice, behind closed doors, and that veterans would get their rest and be given the opportunity to ease into the season. There was intrigue, or at least interest, in seeing this play out.
Then this: the mysterious disappearance of Tayshaun. Fan forums and discussion boards have been buzzing with rumors. These rumors range from; Tayshaun being on the shelf pending a trade, to Tayshaun having been abducted by aliens. Maybe I should change this headline to: “Where in the Universe Is Tayshaun Prince?”
The best way to quell rumors is to provide some official information. So, what is the front office and coaching staff saying about Tayshaun? DNP – Coaches Decision. That’s about it. Except, that usually means the player is in uniform and on the bench. Tayshaun is not with the team, at least not at games. He is not on the bench in warmups. He is not behind the bench in street clothes.
And he is not in the arena wearing a red and white striped shirt and glasses – at least not that I can tell. And, I have looked.
There is no official word from the Grizzlies about the status of Tayshaun Prince. Sources across the interwebs credit Ron Tillery at the Memphis Commercial Appeal with the information that the issue is a stomach bug. But, that information came out for the first couple of preseason games. There doesn’t seem to be any new news.
Quincy Pondexter started the early preseason games at small forward, and played well. Rumors gain momentum. But, Mike Miller started the road games in Orlando and Atlanta. He put up a nice stat line in Orlando, but paid the price with heavy minutes. Miller looked worn down by the end of the game in Orlando. Although he started the game against the Hawks, his playing time, performance and stats were all limited. Given the opening, Quincy Pondexters responded by looking extremely mediocre coming off the bench.
So, what looked like a logjam at small forward for the Grizzlies, a good problem to have, has turned into a conundrum. (Tip of the cap to Andrew Millen for letting me borrow that word.)
Prince is signed through 2014-15 and is owed a total of $14.94 million. Could the Grizzlies be shopping Prince, and keeping him on the shelf?
I was at the game in Atlanta, right behind the Grizzlies bench. During halftime, John Hollinger was milling around and caught sight of my Fort Wayne Mad Ants T-shirt. He pointed and laughed and asked if Dwayne Ticknor had seen it and knew I was there. We chatted for a moment and, while I had him I asked: “What’s up with Tayshaun?”
He responded: “I don’t think he’s here.” while actually searching the empty halftime bench for him. He turned back into a brief staredown, and gave me a hands-in-the-pockets shrug and said: “There is no official word.” He said it twice.
So, guess what folks? There is no official word, at least at the moment.
Will we see that patented go-go-gadget-arm canopener dunk this season? Or that long-armed defense against Kevin Durant?
The search is on. Where’s Tayshaun?