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The Grizzlies' biggest target in free agency won't be too difficult to locate.
At the moment, they can practically hear him coming.
Erick Dampier sounds as though he's as interested in the Griz as they are in him. All that stands between the Mid-South native and a deal are the correct terms, which can be negotiated beginning today when NBA teams allowed to talk to - but not sign - free agents.
Dampier, a 6-11 center, played for Golden State last season and has been on the Grizzlies' wish list for nearly a year.
The feeling is mutual.
Dampier said Wednesday that while becoming an unrestricted free agent affords him several options, he'd liked to play for Memphis - close to his Jackson, Miss., home.
"I could be a very important piece for them," Dampier said by telephone Wednesday.
The Grizzlies are over the salary cap and have just a mid-level exception (roughly $5 million) to spend on free agents.
They likely will seek to acquire Dampier in a sign-and-trade transaction with the Warriors.
That would allow Dampier, 29, to possibly receive the deal he reportedly wants: a long-term contract beginning in the $10 million range.
Past attempts to acquire Dampier through trade fell apart for the Griz at the 11th hour.
The Grizzlies' stated goals are to improve in defensive rebounding, interior defense and perimeter shooting.
"Our primary goal is for a big guy. Our primary wish is for a big guy," Griz president Jerry West said Tuesday when asked about the team's off-season plan. "We're going to try to be aggressive. We have to go get our coach (Hubie Brown) another player that will help make a difference."
The Griz will have competition for Dampier.
At least a half-dozen suitors will try to land Dampier, who would have earned nearly $17 million over the next two years had he not opted to become an unrestricted free agent.
Indiana, Miami, Utah and the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly expressed interest in the former Mississippi State star. Dampier said if he didn't return to the Warriors, "we'd definitely be looking for a sign-and-trade."
"I'm going to take my time and explore all of my options," Dampier said.
He has hired a new agent, Dan Fegan, to facilitate a favorable deal.
Dampier is coming off his best professional season. He averaged 7.3 defensive rebounds in 74 games. Overall, Dampier averaged 12.3 points, 12 boards and 1.8 blocks - statistics only rivaled by his second (1997-98) NBA season.
Such inside work has compelled Bonzi Wells, Jason Williams, Lorenzen Wright and James Posey to try recruiting Dampier since the season ended.
"I came and checked the team out," Dampier said, referring to his visit to The Pyramid during the playoffs in April. "I have a lot of friends there, and it will be close to home. Plus, I like the fact that they're an up-and-coming team. If they had a center, maybe they would have advanced in the playoffs."
Dampier ranked fourth in the league in rebounding and was seventh with 42 double-doubles.
Dampier, along with Detroit's Mehmet Okur, is expected to be among the more coveted big men in the free-agent market.
Teams cannot sign players until July 14.
Asked what enticed him about the Griz from a basketball standpoint, Dampier cited West.
"I'm very impressed with their direction," Dampier said. "The last couple of years with the Warriors, they didn't have a direction."
If Dampier gets a long term contract starting at 10 million dollars, then good for him, i just PRAY its not with indiana. That would be a bigger waste of money than what Brad Miller got from Sacramento last year.