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A return to Chris Wallace’s spin room

Rev up those cold takes!

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies aren’t re-signing Tyreke Evans, which is pretty infuriating, to say the least.

They benched him in anticipation of a trade — which is reasonable. Then, they decided to not trade him, causing an entire fiasco in Grizz Nation. Ultimately, Tyreke Evans was sent home for the remainder of the season, as the Grizzlies increased their lottery odds.

The Grizzlies came out and said they believe they could retain Tyreke Evans, and in case you missed it, that isn’t going to happen. Evans just inked a one-year, $12M deal with the Indiana Pacers, a price tag the Grizzlies just couldn’t afford.

Sure looking nice to keep him for six more games, right?

And to make matters worse, they didn’t even contact him to begin with! After ruthlessly defending him post-deadline, you’re going to (reportedly) ignore him? That’s absolutely unacceptable as a front office.

Again, I’m not surprised at all about Evans’ departure, as the writing was on the wall. However, after Wallace’s comments at the media availability the day after the deadline, you’d think they’d make some effort.

Let’s just re-visit some of Wallace’s comments from that inglorious day.

“We felt that the offers weren’t sufficient enough for a player of Tyreke’s caliber, and particularly, they weren’t sufficient enough when weighed against the potential benefits of having him here for the rest of the season.”

What benefits of having him for the rest of the season? He played 6 games after the trade deadline, and they only won one of those contests. Tons of benefits there!

“I mean, there’s no late second round pick that is going to come in and average 19 points a game next season.”

Ah, here’s how it’s looking:

Late second round pick’s 2 points a game for the Grizzlies > Tyreke’s 0 points a game for the Grizzlies next season.

It’s not 19, but that math makes sense, right?

“Well that certainly is a gamble, he could go, and you don’t get anything in return. But we’re willing to take that on because we think he’s an extremely high-caliber player. It’s difficult to get a Tyreke Evans.”

Yes, if there was a high chance of keeping Tyreke Evans, it was certainly a gamble worth taking. He was a top-10 shooting guard this past season that can get you 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists on any given night. No one on this team can get buckets like him. In addition, he’s an excellent playmaker both as a starter and off the bench.

However, the Grizzlies did gamble here, and they struck out miserably. They missed out on a chance to land a potential role player for next season — Doug McDermott or Emmanuel Mudiay — or an extra asset. Instead, they’re sitting here this free agency twiddling their thumbs.

“We think that this enhances our ability to retain Tyreke and there’s an emotional, personal side of this. So I don’t see why fans should be mad at all.”

Sure, keeping him gives you a better shot at retaining him in the offseason, but the way it actually turned out doesn’t indicate this at all.

“That’s a risk we were willing to take”

Risk — something many sports teams, or anyone for that matter, needs to do to succeed. In sports, we’ve seen it with draft picks, free agent signings and trades. Some of them lead to glory, while some fall in infamy. For the Grizzlies, this non-move will fall in infamy.

The Memphis Grizzlies failed to capitalize on a red-hot asset and went into the summer with the risk of losing him for nothing. Granted, at the time, things between the Grizzlies and Evans might have been different, as there may have been strife between the two parties at the end of the season. However, after all the fiasco, Tyreke Evans walked away — leaving with the Grizzlies with nothing in return.

It’s going to be interesting to see where the Grizzlies go from here. At this point, there isn’t much left on the market that could take the full mid-level exception and help this team next year. Evans, Will Barton, Avery Bradley, Joe Harris, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Mario Hezonja are all gone, with many of them being outside of their price range, and the Grizzlies are left scrambling to fit talent on the market.

The Grizzlies’ list of mistakes from the past decade is a long one, and this outrageous event may put the cherry on top of the sundae.

Something has to change.