Memphis, Tenn. – The Memphis Grizzlies today signed free agents Derrick Byars, Melvin Ely and Tony Gaffney. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Also joining the Grizzlies is Josh Akognon (ah-KOY-on), who was claimed off waivers by Memphis on July 23 after he was waived by the Dallas Mavericks. Akognon (5-11, 185) made three appearances for Dallas as a rookie last season, totaling five points in nine minutes, after signing a 10-day contract on April 3, 2013 and then signing for the remainder of the season. The 27-year-old has become a prolific scorer in China for the DougGuan New Century Leopards (2010-12) and Liaoning Jiebao Hunters (2012-13). Undrafted in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Greenbrae, Calif. native also has played in Estonia (2009-10) and the NBA D-League’s Canton Charge (2011-12).
Byars (6-7, 220) joins the Grizzlies after helping ALBA Berlin win the German Bundesliga Cup last season. He also has played professionally in Greece (2010-11), Venezuela (2011), France (2011-12) and in Puerto Rico (2012-13). Drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round (42nd overall) of the 2007 NBA Draft, the 29-year-old Memphis native has appeared in two career games for the San Antonio Spurs, averaging 5.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in 18.5 minutes.
Ely (6-10, 260) comes to Memphis after posting 10.7 points and 6.6 rebounds on .503 shooting in 26.5 minutes in 37 games for the D-League’s Texas Legends last season. Drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round (12th overall) of the 2002 NBA Draft, the 35-year-old holds career averages of 5.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 0.7 assists on .460 shooting in 16.0 minutes in 373 games (55 starts) for the Clippers, Charlotte, San Antonio, New Orleans Hornets and Denver. The Harvey, Ill. native also has played in Puerto Rico (2011-12).
Gaffney (6-8, 215) joins the Grizzlies after playing last season with FIATC Joventut Badalona in Spain. The 28-year-old also has played professionally in Israel (2009-10), Turkey (2010-11), the D-League’s Utah Flash (2010-11) and Germany (2011-12). Undrafted in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Boston native was named the 2009 Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year as a senior at the University of Massachusetts.