Grizzlies Sign Gilbert Arenas: Expect Less, Get Something

Freshly-inked (in the contractual sense) Gilbert Arenas could join the Grizzlies on the floor as soon as tonight against the Trail Blazers in Portland. Portland, as of the trade deadline, is now in the process of stripping what it had built to its very core, essentially starting over with only a few key pieces. This makes the rest of this season, the blur that it will be regardless, virtually meaningless -- it's true outcome to be determined by how the ping pong balls sort themselves out.

Though maybe in the same ballpark, the Trail Blazers' rebuilding situation is not some over-arching metaphor for Arenas. Because as the essential-for-NBAers Bethlehem Shoals noted, there is no way to know what to expect from him. The memories of Arenas, as of now, are just that, and now a few years older, a few times rehabbed (from all sorts of stuff), in a new locker room with a very different role, the player he was, the player we remember, will almost certainly not return intact. And that's fine.

The Grizzlies assume relatively no risk (financially and otherwise) in bringing Gil aboard and seeing what happens. Recall any of the stories you want regarding Zach Randolph or Tony Allen's various escapades in and around the league, but there are no continuity issues in the Memphis locker room -- they have all come together, almost accidentally, to become an in-progress threat in the Western Conference, thanks in part to a bond that is visible to anyone watching. But you probably already knew that.

The important thing, though, is not to take the fact that the slate on Arenas can neatly be wiped clean as an easy springboard for He's Got Nothing to Lose, Why Not Go Crazy? Whether you read that more as shot-chucking and out-of-sync (Bad Crazy) or explosive in quick bursts (Good Crazy) probably won't quite matter either; Arenas will be asked to spell Mike Conley, not replace him. He will probably be asked to do so in limited minutes or aid in turning around another woeful shooting night from the outside. But, as Lionel Hollins works him into the rotation, his development and comfort level could be negligible indefinitely.

In fact, Arenas's whole stint with the Grizzlies could end up like that; as Zach Lowe points out, though, he should still effectively replace the Josh Selby/Jeremy Pargo tandem just by showing up. Just showing up: For now, that is all Gilbert Arenas is doing in Memphis. It is not a good or bad idea yet, and might take time before an impact of any kind can be felt enough to make an honest determination. As long as everyone's on the same page, there's nothing wrong with the Grizzlies' move. Gilbert Arenas is back in the league; as of now, that's all anyone can say for sure.

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