Remember a few weeks ago when the Grizzlies inexplicably declined to give Ronnie Brewer a qualifying offer, despite it costing Memphis nothing to do so and having invested their 2011 first-round draft pick in the defensive-minded wing stopper? Here's what was said then:
There is almost no explanation for this move. Qualifying offers cost nothing to tender unless no other team is willing to match [...] It is always smart to keep a player a restricted free agent because it gives leverage to either force a sign-and-trade or, at the bare minimum, at least complicate a rival's offseason.
If there's any reason to just let Brewer walk, it's that the Memphis front office was due to make at least one huge, blatant mistake this offseason.
I take that back now. It should read: "There is absolutely no explanation for this move." The Chicago Bulls just signed Brewer to a 3 year, $12.5 million dollar contract, though the third year is not guaranteed.
If those numbers sound familiar, it's because it's a very similar contract to the one given to Tony Allen (3 years guaranteed, $10 million) by Memphis last week. The difference is that, while they are similar, Ronnie Brewer is markedly better than Tony Allen in almost every facet of the game.
Good thing we're saving that under $1 million a year then, am I right?
Earlier in the summer the Cleveland Cavaliers said there was absolutely no chance that they would even consider sign-and-trading LeBron James. Eventually they caved in and did so. Why? Because they got the added value of draft picks and trade exceptions. You can't just allow talent -- assets -- to escape in the NBA.
I don't want to blow this out of proportion, but it's what I'd call a colossal failure on a minor scale. We used a draft pick to acquire a young guy we liked, which is great, and it was unfortunate that an injury derailed the trade. That's fine. But to treat the deal like it never happened and just give that player away, especially when you clearly still feel like you need a similar guy, is just an awful decision.
Heisley and Chris Wallace might be over the failed Brewer trade and not dismayed by his rather affordable contract, but Grizzlies fans shouldn't be. We'll all likely remember it next year, when the Jazz don't miss a beat by replacing Carlos Boozer with Al Jefferson on our dime.