The Memphis Grizzlies today announced the team has signed free agents Yakhouba Diawara (ya-KOO-ba dee-a-WA-ra), Ryan Hollins, Michael Holyfield, Lazeric Jones and Daniel Nwaelele (wah-LAY-lay).
Diawara (6-7, 225) comes to Memphis after spending last season with Cimberio Varese in the Italian SerieA league. The 33-year-old spent four seasons in the NBA (2006-10) and holds career averages of 3.5 points and 1.4 rebounds in 14.0 minutes in 187 games (56 starts) with the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat. Undrafted in the 2005 NBA Draft after finishing his collegiate career at Pepperdine University, he has played six of his 10 professional seasons, including the last five, in Italy and his home country of France. The Paris native is a member of the French National Team and represented France in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Hollins (7-0, 230), a nine-year NBA veteran (2006-15), owns career averages of 3.7 points and 2.2 rebounds in 11.8 minutes in 481 games (64 starts) for the Charlotte Bobcats, Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings. Drafted by Charlotte in the second round (50th overall) of the 2006 NBA Draft, the 30-year-old Pasadena, Calif. native enjoyed a four-year collegiate career at UCLA, leading the Bruins to the 2006 NCAA Championship Game as a senior.
Holyfield (6-11, 270) helped guide Memphis to an undefeated record and the championship at the 2015 Orlando Pro Summer League, averaging 6.4 points and 4.2 rebounds in 14.3 minutes in five games (two starts). Undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft after a four-year collegiate career at Sam Houston State University, the 22-year-old Albuquerque, N.M. native was named the 2015 Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year and selected to the 2015 All-Southland Second Team after setting the school’s single-season record for blocks (86) as a senior.
Jones (6-0, 187) joins the Grizzlies after playing last season in Hungary, guiding Szolnoki Olaj to the Hungarian League Championship with averages of 11.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.7 steals in 29.1 minutes in 11 games (all starts). Undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft, the 25-year-old Chicago native has competed in Israel (2012-13) and Greece (2013-14) and participated in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas for the Sacramento Kings (2012), Chicago Bulls (2014) and New Orleans Pelicans (2015) following his four-year collegiate career at UCLA.
Nwaelele (6-5, 205) comes to Memphis after competing most recently with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League, where he averaged 10.4 points, 3.6 points and 1.7 assists in 26.0 minutes in 76 games (43 starts) over two seasons (2012-14). Undrafted in the 2007 NBA Draft, the 31-year-old also played professionally in Israel during the 2010-11 season. A native of Bothell, Wash., Nwaelele lettered all four years at the United States Air Force Academy, finishing his collegiate career ranked second in program history in three-point field goal percentage (.451). He spent five years in the Air Force, including two overseas deployments to Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia during his years of service.
The Grizzlies roster stands at 20 players entering training camp.