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Best. Trade. Ever.: In Which the Grizzlies Traded One Gasol for Another


As part of a SB Nation collaborative, unified effort, we at SoV were asked to write a post on what we consider to be the best trade in Memphis Grizzlies history. And while the 2008 me is so wanting to just slap the 2012 me across the face -- I can't believe I'm going to write these words, but... -- the best trade in our team's history has to be the Marc Gasol for Pau Gasol deal the Grizzlies made with the Lakers back in 2008.


Lakers get: Pau Gasol and a 2010 second round draft pick (Devin Ebanks).

Grizzlies get: Marc Gasol, Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, a 2008 1st round pick (Donte Greene) and a 2010 1st round pick (Greivis Vasquez).

Now, yes, back in 2008 it looked like we had traded the best player in our franchise's history for a bunch of garbage. Funny thing was, while everyone in the media ripped Chris Wallace for making this deal, there was plenty of concern from inside the Grizzlies front office about this deal. Even Michael Heisley had his doubts, or a little buyer's remorse, if you will.

For the first time, even Heisley wondered whether his general manager, Chris Wallace, blew it by caving so soon to the Lakers.

"I don’t know if I got the most value," Heisley confessed. "Maybe our people should’ve shopped (Gasol) more and maybe we would’ve gotten more, done a better deal. Maybe Chris did call every team in the league. I don’t think he did, but maybe he should’ve…"

Ouch. Even better than that, some reported on the deal and didn't even mention the Grizzlies picking up Marc in this deal.

Actually, the Grizzlies traded Gasol — the 7-footer who has proven to be the perfect complement for Kobe Bryant especially after Andrew Bynum went down with an injury — for rookie point guard Javaris Crittenton, the expiring contract of Kwame Brown and two No. 1 draft picks.

Yes, that was the Orlando Sentinel wondering if the Grizzlies had made the "worst trade in the history of the NBA."

Look, you can't knock them for asking such a question since, well, we all wondered if this was indeed the worst deal ever. After all, the Lakers went on to win multiple championships with Gasol while the Grizzlies went on to, um, win a playoff series?

And, of course, THIS:

But they did give up Marc Gasol, Steve A.

As it stands now, when we look back at the history of the Grizzlies, what was once deemed the worst deal in the history of the NBA can now, in all seriousness, be called the best deal in franchise history. No, not for the Lakers, but for the Grizzlies!

Fact: we were not going to win a NBA championship with Pau Gasol as our best player. It just wasn't going to happen. Look, we gave it a shot -- multiple shots -- and nothing transpired. We didn't even get out of the first round. Pau needed to be traded and we needed to move on. Now, having it read as Kwame Brown and Javaris Crittenton being the "value pieces" we were getting back in this deal -- at the time -- was ridiculous. But, the deal needed to happen.

Fact: Today, Marc Gasol is a better asset, arguably better "player," than Pau Gasol. Sorry, but he is. Give me the 27-year-old franchise center over the 32-year-old former All-Star on the out years of his career.

Fact: In this deal we also got Greivis Vasquez and Donte Greene. In Greene, we turned him into Darrell Arthur. With Vasquez, ugh, we traded him a little too soon and turned him into Quincy Pondexter. Love the idea that we got Arthur, though, and of course Pondexter is a useful piece.

Fact: Despite the fact that we traded Pau Gasol for Marc Gasol, Arthur and Pondexter -- a deal you would do 99 times out of 100 today -- we probably still didn't get the best deal for Pau. Heisley is right, I imagine Wallace didn't call each and every team to fish and see if he could improve on this deal. But, again, who are we to complain at this point? You make this deal 99.9 times out of 100, today.

Fact: This still probably was one of the worst trades in the history of the NBA, when you consider that no one knew Marc Gasol was going to turn into a franchise-changing, All-Star center. However, it was also the best trade in our franchise's history because he turned into a franchise-changing, All-Star center. To which I say...

Fact: We got lucky.

So, we can continue to give Chris Wallace a hard time for making this deal, but we also have to pat him on the back for, well, making this deal. It was and is, really, the best trade in Grizzlies history. Deal with it!