With the trade deadline just two days away, the Grizzlies at 31-22 with a firm grasp on fifth place in the Western Conference, and facing the very real possibility of the rest of the season without Marc Gasol, the NBA trade deadline just got a little more interesting for the Memphis Grizzlies. We here at Grizzly Bear Blues wanted to celebrate one of the best days of the year with a round table of some of the smartest and most interesting minds here at GBB and around the blogosphere.
Chatting with me today is GBB staff members Joe Mullinax, Chip Williams, Wes George, and Corban Ford, along with the Founding Editor of All Heart in Hoop City, Aimee Stiegemeyer, and everyone's favorite Grizzly Bear Blues commenter, GBB Commenter.
Welcome to Terror Dome.
Today is part one of a three part Trade Deadline series, and its on a topic that many Grizzlies fans did not think could get here fast enough.
But first, some preliminaries.
What should the Grizzlies do at the trading deadline? Should they go into it with the idea of making the team better now, keeping the team competitive now but thinking about the future, or just tanking the rest of the season?
Joe Mullinax @JoeMullinax- Memphis needs to look for the following at the trade deadline (in this order)...
Chip Williams @chipwilliamsjr- I think any move that the Grizzlies make at the deadline has to be made with an eye on the future. They've gone all-in the last few seasons, and for good reason, but in doing so they've mortgaged their future. The asset cupboard is bare, and it needs replenishing. Not to say that the Grizz should go into full tank or blow-it-up mode, but they should look to sell off an expiring veteran or two and try to get some sort of future value - or get a younger player that is locked in for another few years for some expirings.
Wes George @BearWitnessBlog- The Grizzlies' brass wants to make the playoffs this year because they don't want to give up their first round pick to Denver if they're in the lottery. But this approach is short-sighted. The protections on that pick become more dangerous over time, and we also have to factor in the future first rounder that we owe to Boston from last year's dumpster fire of a trade for Jeff Green. The last thing the Grizzlies need is to fade out of contention over the next 4 to 5 years and find themselves losing one of the top picks in the draft like we did in 2003.
In the wise words of German philosopher Immanuel Kant, "seek not the favor of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them."
Which is a fancy way of saying I’m taking my cues here directly from voices that carry far more weight than mine. I could be wrong, but I don’t see the Grizzlies making any major moves before the trade deadline.
During postgame media interviews after the Brooklyn game, Mike Conley laid to rest any notion that tanking is on the table, or even on the radar of these guys, with this statement: "We’re not flushing this season down the toilet. That’s the statement we’re going to make to everybody."
If that’s not enough for you, Zach Randolph’s remarks were in a similar vein: "We’re going to play for him [Marc Gasol] and win. Everybody has to step up… Me, Mike, TA. Everybody."
Can’t make it any clearer than that. These guys want to win, and the success of this team is predicated almost entirely on the core four. More than that, I think they don’t just want to win, they want to win together. Tanking isn’t an option, they have far too much pride for that. Obviously Marc Gasol’s broken foot throws the proverbial monkey wrench in the "win now" mindset, but it’s not insurmountable.
And in the interest of full disclosure, win now refers more to winning with this squad instead of blowing it up and starting over, rather than win now as in win the championship this season. Because unless something significantly major happens between now and then, this is Golden State’s league right now, and everyone else is just playing in it. I underestimated the extent to which it was possible for the Warriors to have improved in the offseason. They went from next-level to other-worldly over the summer.
I have remained cautiously optimistic about this Grizzlies team as it is currently constructed, while expecting that there would likely be an adjustment period as the existing roster developed an on-court chemistry of sorts. I didn’t expect we’d come out of the gate and receive the sort of thrashings we did early on, it was just ugly and painful to watch. Things definitely snowballed in the earliest part of the season as the team’s collective confidence took a beating.
Losing Brandan Wright to injury so early on didn’t help matters either, and it’s contributed to the exact thing his signing was supposed to prevent: Marc Gasol suffering a major injury from overuse, because the Grizzlies don’t have anyone on the roster that can function as a reliable backup for him. Which leaves us where we are now, with most likely course of action being Ryan Hollins gets a deal to stay at least through the season, because we are just that desperate for a tall, warm body.
GBB Commenter- Its definately been said before me, the discussion about whether the Griz should buy or sale at the deadline is CLOSED with the Marc injury. The Griz HAVE to be buyers in order to even compete. Now is the time for them to buy everything they can in terms of players. Your going to lose your draft pick if you don't make the playoffs which is a total bummer PLUS your going to have the embarrassment of missing the playoffs instead of teams like the Blazers and the Rockets. This team has been working hard to build a image of being a competitor the past several seasons. You can't put that at risk this year by missing the playoff
And now...without further adieu.....
TRADE JEFF GREEN! DO IT!!!!!!
Joe- This hurts my heart...but here it goes.
The incentive here for the Suns isn't so much Green himself as his expiring contract. They would do it to get that $8-9 million off the books this summer and start fresh, tabula rasa.
Paul George. Do I really need to say anything else? If anything, I think he’s gotten better since coming back from that gruesome injury he suffered during the Team USA exhibition game in the summer of 2014. It’s not like Martin and Adams (when he’s not hurt) are doing anything but languishing away anyway, either in the D-League or the end of the Grizzlies bench. Brandan Wright is a nice guy, and I had such hopes for him as a Grizzly, but alas, the injury bug had other plans. Ian Mahinmi can be a serviceable backup center, and did I mention Paul George?
Another in the "not likely, but would be fun to watch camp", also solves the problem of a stand-in for Marc Gasol until his foot heals and eliminates the need to give Ryan Hollins a roster spot. Plus, if you don’t want to see the Gasol brothers playing together as Grizzlies, you are doing life and basketball wrong.