It’s here! Finally!
Trade Deadline day is upon us, a de facto holiday among those who follow the NBA. It serves as a launching point in to the final 25-ish games of the season, and this year precedes a much needed All-Star Break. The Memphis Grizzlies figure to be active today, as they continue to shop around Tyreke Evans and hold out hope that a future 1st round pick will be in their possession by the time the 2 PM CT deadline arrives.
So when Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets out something like this, it isn’t overly surprising...
Sources: Memphis still holding out for a first-round pick to move Tyreke Evans — and Boston, Denver and Philadelphia have resisted offers beyond either a young player or a second-rounder. First-rounders have never been gripped so tightly in the league— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2018
It makes sense that teams would be holding out as much as possible, playing a trade version of chicken, seeing who will cave first. In order for Memphis to win this game, though, they will need for the suitors for Evans (Denver, Philadelphia, Boston) to remain aggressive and hopefully bid up to get Tyreke’s services. Lou Williams’ extension with the Clippers takes one stud scoring option off the board, but Evans and the Grizzlies will still have other wings that figure to be available to contend with.
Memphis must move Evans. He makes them too good, for one thing, to maximize this lost season and get the best pick they could possibly hope for. They also would risk losing him for nothing due to the nature of his contract and the cap situation of the Grizzlies. He cannot stay in Memphis for anything more than the Mid-Level Exception. While it is within the realm of possibility that Tyreke may get that type of deal as his best option in free agency, especially after that Williams contract, Evans signed the deal he did with the Grizzlies so that he could get a shot at the open market. He deserves that shot. He has earned it with his 20 point/5 rebound/5 assists per game performance this season.
And if the MLE is all he can get, he deserves to get his pick of where he winds up. That more than likely won’t be Memphis, as other better destinations will also have the MLE to offer Tyreke this summer. And that is OK. He has been a great Grizzly, even if just for a short while.
Meanwhile, another Woj tweet sparked a bit of intrigue involving the other best player on these current Grizzlies...
Teams reaching out to Memphis on Marc Gasol have been consistently shut down, league sources tell ESPN. Grizzlies refuse to discuss trades on the franchise center.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2018
Given the current state of things in Memphis, it is logical that teams would inquire about Marc’s availability. The Grizzlies are bad, and Marc holds value. But Gasol may now be in the same realm as Tony Allen and Zach Randolph before him in that he holds more value to the Grizzlies than he would anywhere else. Marc has been a banner teammate and player in this lost campaign, coaching up young players on the floor and doing all he can to keep the team afloat. I talk a lot about players being outside ideal roles...playing wise now, that includes Gasol. A team perhaps sees a middle of the road 1st rounder and a young player as equal return for Marc. I am pretty sure the Memphis front office disagrees.
Gasol and Grizzlies controlling owner Robert Pera are also very close, as the events with former coach David Fizdale and previous interviews and reports tell us. Combine all that together, and it would take a monster deal for Marc to be moved. The ownership situation and who will be calling the shots for these Grizzlies a few months from now also looms large over all of this- it’s unlikely a gigantic move is made right now. This summer may be a different story.
Stick with GBB all day as the trade deadline approaches!