Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace and others took the time to talk to the media today after practice to discuss the trade deadline. Obviously, the main topic of discussion was the Tyreke trade that wasn’t, with a little sprinkle of James Ennis and what the plan for the season is going forward. The media was told to get there by 11:45 AM for the interview, yet nothing started till just before 12:30 which might explain why the team couldn’t get a deal done by yesterday’s 2 PM CT deadline (shouts to @BallFromGrace for the joke). Without further adieu here is some footage of the interviews as well as my reaction to what was discussed. The rest of each interview can be found on our Twitter page.
Chris Wallace Part 1: where Wallace explain he wasn't getting sufficient offers for Reke, thinks keeping Reke helps bring him back this summer, and he says fans should find something better to do than listen to local talk radio (who covers the team) pic.twitter.com/XnhkhGFKNF— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) February 9, 2018
GM Chris Wallace
I don’t even know where to begin with Chris Wallace. He opens up by saying none of the offers were sufficient enough for Tyreke Evans without really acknowledging the fact the Grizzlies could lose his services for nothing in a few months. Then, he tried to throw a jab at local radio (and blogs like us) by saying fans should find something better to do with their time than listen to us. That one-liner by Wallace shows how out of touch he is with the Grizzlies fans. Fans, who pay tons of money to watch this team, should hopefully have something better to do than listen to people who cover the only major league team in the city? Get out of here. The only other explanation Wallace really gave in regards to not trading Tyreke was that he obviously feels the team has a better chance signing Evans since they kept him but did not go in depth as to why he feels that way.
Coach Bickerstaff Part 1: His initial reaction to Tyreke not being traded pic.twitter.com/NscZbCKbgr— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) February 9, 2018
Coach JB Bickerstaff
Coach Bickerstaff continues to impress and be really good with the media. He’s obviously happy Tyreke is staying put and praised the way Evans handled the last week or so which should help soften the awkwardness. He also goes into detail and doubles down on how the Grizzlies are going to stay true to themselves and go into every game trying to win and improve. Yes, we as fans (and the front office) should be hoping for a tank, but Bickerstaff is auditioning for the full-time job and is doing everything right to earn the job. Personally, I’m glad he keeps this team motivated to try and win to avoid players getting into bad habits.
Marc Gasol Part 1: Discusses he's happy Tyreke is staying and plans to help keep him this summer pic.twitter.com/WPZSEwvqcE— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) February 9, 2018
A giddy Marc Gasol opened his interview by asking “who’d we sign?” when seeing the heavy media presence available after practice. Unsurprisingly, Marc is extremely happy to keep Tyreke since it will take the load off of him and will help him out. The main takeaway from Marc’s interview is two things. When asked about the plan going forward, Marc did not mention anything about the playoffs. He talked about creating and building a culture and developing the young guys. It’s obvious this season has taught Gasol to think more long-term despite his claims that he focuses on everything “day-to-day”. The other big takeaway was how he circled around on whether or not he would be okay with sitting out games and limiting minutes. Initially, he said he would not be okay with it but eventually talked himself into considering it if he understood why it was necessary and if it helped the team out. It is to be determined how that situation will play out.
Tyreke Evans Part 1: Was surprised he wasn't traded but happy to still be in Memphis pic.twitter.com/c2obeushnk— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) February 9, 2018
Lastly, we got to talk with Tyreke who seems to care about nothing other than playing basketball. He said he was happy to be with the Grizzlies, but you got to believe he’s a little bummed out he’s not out there to get a ring with a team like Boston. He opened up a little bit about how Coach Fizdale was part of the reason he came to Memphis in the first place but blew off any questions regarding what he might do this offseason as he looks to cash in on a big payday. The funniest part of the interview was how laid back he is. His friends were calling him back and forth freaking out about what was going to happen but Evans was just chilling waiting for the events to unfold.
I thought JB Bickerstaff and Marc Gasol did well in answering questions, as they are obviously probably the happiest that Tyreke is staying. Tyreke is hard to get a feel for because he’s so soft-spoken and said multiple times all he wants to do is play basketball. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with him the rest of this season and this summer. If they limit his minutes/touches, that could be a deciding factor in if he decides to return or not.
Boy oh boy, Chris Wallace was a hoot today. From insulting the fans to seemingly not having a full understanding of the Tyreke situation, Wallace did not look good today. He seems to be putting all of his eggs into the Tyreke basket this summer. Don’t get me wrong, Tyreke has been GREAT this year for the Grizzlies, but do we want this team to go all-in on a guy with Tyreke’s injury history? Something clicked with Wallace where he believed keeping Evans was a key factor in his return this summer. Personally, I don’t think it’s smart considering all it takes is one team to offer Tyreke more than the Mid-Level Exception and the Grizzlies lose Tyreke for nothing. At the end of the day, Wallace stood firm in his stance so kudos to that, I guess. Right now Wallace looks like a lost GM clinging to Tyreke to save his job. Unfortunately, we won’t know until early July if Wallace made the right call or not.