Over the last three days, shocking developments have occurred from the front office of our beloved Grizzlies and certain people are throwing around terms like "devastating" and "disastrous." Radio personalities that I usually agree with are placing the situation in Defcon 1 with all of us needing to rush towards our nearest fallout shelter. Yes, the dismissals of Levien and Lash were shocking and disappointing, and yes, Chris Wallace went on the radio on Tuesday saying how Joerger was going to be the Grizzlies coach, only to look like a fool the next day trying to explain how it was normal that he was interviewing for the Timberwolves. With there being so many questions and no real answers, it is real easy to assume the worst. So why not everyone jump on "the ship is sinking" bandwagon?
Everyone needs to take a deep breath and relax.
Zach Randolph should be a Grizzly next year...
The dysfunction and chaos caused by Robert Pera these last few days have caused more than a few people to wonder if this is the end of the Grizzlies that we all know and love. Going into this offseason, nothing was to be determined until Randolph's future was decided. For the record, I believe that Randolph will opt out and stay with the Grizzlies. If Grizzly fans take him at his word, then he should opt out of his current contract and take less money to stay in Memphis. Randolph is set to make 17 million next year, and most GBB contributors believe that a contract of 10 to 12 million per year for 3 to 4 years would be a high but fair price to keep him in Beale Street Blue. In today's NBA, It is not unrealistic to assume that some team would offer him an insane contract that the Grizzlies simply would not consider matching. I also think that at this stage of his career, winning a ring is just as important to Zbo as the money offered. There are plenty of teams with the cap space that could offer him a large contract, but only a few that are potential playoff contenders. Of those teams, I believe there are only two (Atlanta and Charlotte) that would actually be a threat to sign him. If Randolph leaves, his departure would no doubt be considered another "shocking offseason development" and probably be blamed on Pera's actions. In reality, any decisions made by Randolph would have probably happened regardless of the front office dismissals. At this moment, Zbo loves Memphis, and Memphis loves him. I find it hard to believe that he would leave here unless the offer is too ridiculous to refuse.
The Dominoes left to Fall
What the recent shakeup means for the Grizzlies as the NBA draft, and other critical offseason issues, approach.
There is no need to panic....this will not affect free agency or the draft
Like I stated, almost everything that the Grizzlies do this offseason will be determined by Zach Randolph's decision to stay or go. It will directly affect whether or not they keep Ed Davis. It will directly affect how much money they have to lure shooters. It will be the single biggest factor when it comes to their free agency decisions. In the last two offseasons, the Grizzlies tried and failed to sign 3pt shooters.* If they are unable to accomplish it for a 3rd straight year, it will have little to do with the front office and more to do with them being outbid (as in the last two years). Shooters are always paid at a premium and the Grizzlies front office has shown time after time that they will not overpay. At the beginning of the last offseason, there was a list of potential free agent shooters, and under Levien's front office, the Grizzlies missed on all of them. I have no idea what the new front office will do this free agency, but considering they signed zero last year, Levien's absence should not hinder any potential free agents (except maybe Deng who was represented by him) from considering Memphis.
*The Grizzlies did get Mike Miller, but only because Miami amnestied him.
As far as the draft, many fans were concerned that when the front office was dismissed, it would be a disaster for the draft due to the timing. For me, it seems rather premature to panic. Anyone who has watched the Grizzlies over the last few seasons know that the Grizzlies desperately need to acquire a wing that can shoot. We can all debate Chris Wallace's overall record in the 1st round of the draft. He has shown that he can pick out proven NBA players late (Vasquez, Carroll, Arthur). With the combined knowledge of Wallace and Hollinger, the Grizzlies should be able to acquire a worthwhile shooter on draft day, either through picks or trades.
Losing Joerger hurts, but it is not the end of the world...
For the 2nd year in a row, the Grizzlies seem to be losing their coach. Like the majority of people, I was shocked when I heard Dave Joerger was allowed to interview for the Timberwolves. While I often disagreed with many of Joerger's coaching decisions and rotations, I had to respect the fact that he helped the Grizzlies earn 50 wins and a fighting chance at making the 2nd round of the playoffs. Could Hollins have done better? Maybe, but who cares? In my opinion, the biggest tragedy from the front office shakeup is the horrible effect it had in pulling all the Hollins' loyalists out from the shadows.
There are many unknowns on how Joerger's departure will affect the Grizzlies. I find it rather amusing in seeing the quick transition between "Oh no, Joerger's quitting" to "Oh boy, can we get George Karl?" Like in the transition between Hollins and Joerger, I don't think the impact when switching between Joerger and the new coach will be too drastic. The only real consequence I see from Joerger's departure is that it will have a direct effect on trying to resign Mike Miller. Supposedly Joerger and Miller are close friends, and with him leaving, I'm not sure if being beloved by Memphis is enough to keep him here. For the record, I didn't think Miller was staying anyways. Unlike Randolph, he has already won multiple rings, and I always assumed he would accept a ridiculous contract for multiple years after this season.
Until you hear a report claiming he isn't happy, don't worry about Marc Gasol
For much of today, all I heard on the radio was "How is this going to affect Marc Gasol's extension?" and "Why would Marc want to resign with the Grizzlies?" I personally don't understand those questions. In the last few days, the Memphis media is acting like Marc Gasol is in the same boat as Kevin Love, and he is dying to get out of town. First off, have there be any reports that Gasol is unhappy in Memphis? If so, I haven't read them. Gasol, unlike Love, has been to 4 straight playoffs, and barring any major setbacks such as an injury, should return to a fifth. Second, if Randolph is resigned, the Grizzly core should be the same for at least 3 more years. Everyone is questioning the chaos in the front office, but from a player's perspective, shouldn't the stability inside the locker room be more important than the stability of the front office. Third, the Grizzlies can offer Gasol the most money and best extension. So until you hear a report about Gasol wanting out of Memphis, I don't think you should to listen to people guessing Gasol wants out due to the front office.
No matter what happens, we will survive.
Rudy Gay is traded....panic
Hollins isn't resigned...panic
Marc is hurt...panic
It's true that everything we love about the Grizzlies could fall apart in these upcoming months. Tony could be traded. Marc could get hurt again. Zach could sign somewhere else. The Grizzlies sign Mike Brown to be their next coach. Something terrible is bound to happen, but when it does, we need to stick together as Grizzly fans and support our team.
The front office dismissal looks bad, and Joerger leaving isn't good....but just take a deep breath and relax. We will get through it...like we always do.