The Houston Chronicle’s Ultimate Rockets blog is reporting that Kyle Lowry – drafted by the Grizzlies in 2006, as I’m sure some of you remember – wants to be traded if the Rockets sign free agent Goran Dragic. In fact, in his interview, Lowry made it sound like he wants to play somewhere else next year even if they don’t:
I think I’m still a foundation guy. You can build around me. If I’m not here, that’s welcomed. If I’m here, I guess that’s welcome, too.
So why talk about this on a Grizzlies blog?
Lowry played well with the Grizzlies – well enough that a lot of people thought he should be the starting point guard over Mike Conley, who struggled in his first seasons before Lionel Hollins became the coach and Conley found his sea legs as an NBA player. Part of what gave Conley confidence was that Hollins assured him that the starting job was his – even in the face of intense criticism, given that Lowry was putting up great numbers.
Lowry felt like he had earned the starting spot, but Hollins wouldn’t let him have it, and at the 2009 trade deadline, Lowry was dispatched to Houston along with Brian Cook of Orlando for a draft pick.
A portion of Grizzlies fans, understandably, grumbled about the Lowry trade. The common complaint was that Lionel Hollins picked Conley as "his guy" and was going to play his guy come hell or high water, ignoring the fact that Lowry was a better player. Some Grizzlies fans would still probably rather have Lowry than Conley.
His comments here make it seem like the problem might not have been with Hollins after all, though – maybe Lowry was grumbling behind the scenes more than we realized. If he’s willing to publicly slam his coach and his teammates in Houston, maybe the Grizzlies organization saw those traits in him even back in 2009.
What do you think? Obviously Mike Conley has matured into a very, very good point guard. The attitude Lowry displayed in this interview makes me pretty glad he’s not the Grizzlies’ problem.