What a strange, terrible day it has been. First, we got the news that the Grizzlies were close to trading Xavier Henry in a 3-team deal that would net us Marreese Speights from the Philadelphia 76ers. Not a bad deal at all, if you ask me. We were in need of an athletic, scoring big who can help BACK UP Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol... not REPLACE Randolph.
Yes, replace him. Reports have now surfaced that Z-Bo will miss the next 8-10 weeks with a torn ligament in his knee. It really doesn't get much worse than that. Seriously. The Speights trade, which made some sense, now makes A LOT of sense.
Look, I don't mean to get negative here and say that the season is over. If anything, we saw last year, after losing Rudy Gay, that we can rally around our strengths and make some playoff noise. Heck, we even saw it last night when we beat the Sacramento Kings, quite easily, without Randolph in the lineup. We had an offensive set, both on the run and in the half court. It was an a noteworthy performance.
But, and I mean this without disrespecting the Kings, it was against the Kings, a team who is searching for their own identity as we speak. It wasn't as if we went and dismantled the Chicago Bulls. Ha. Remember that game? 40-point loss, anyone? Great win last night, but we need Randolph to be serious contenders.
I'll say this, because I'm shooting from the hip right now: we are still a playoff team. And I mean that in the least "homer" way possible. I really think that with Gay, Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Tony Allen, O.J. Mayo, Marreese Speights, and all, we can make the playoffs in the West. The problem is, this wasn't the season we were supposed to "just make the playoffs." This was a season where we were supposed to be "dangerous," a tough out. Not just a playoff team. And that's what hurts.
That all said, it's only 8-10 weeks, right? If we can hang in there for the next 8-10 weeks, which I think we can, we'll get Z-Bo back in time to get him ready for a playoff run. Last season, we didn't expect to get Gay back, so we went into the playoffs knowing we couldn't turn to him. At least in this case we know we'll likely see Z-Bo back at some point this season. Which gives us hope.
So while I'm sadden by this news, and it truly does suck -- I mean, really sucks -- we still can't, nor should, give up on the 2011-12 season. We have the pieces, and if we can keep the team afloat until Z-Bo wins, we'll once again be a tough out and a dangerous team. It's just going to be a long 8 weeks.
What do you say, Grizzlies fans?