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The Memphis Grizzlies’ playoff chances just improved

The road back to the playoffs for the Memphis may not be quite as rocky as initially projected.

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

As has been said nearly ad nauseam at this point, the Memphis Grizzlies will need nearly everything to go right in order for them to make the playoffs in a ludicrously loaded Western Conference.

But thanks to the gross incompetence of Tom Thibodeau and the Minnesota Timberwolves, the road back to the playoffs for the Grizzlies will now likely be slightly less challenging than it was before. After an increasingly fractured relationship between Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns/Andrew Wiggins, Butler has now requested a trade from Minnesota, with an apparent desire to head to the Los Angeles Clippers.

NBA: Playoffs-Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The story of the Minnesota Timberwolves over the last five or so years might as well be a Greek tragedy. With an incredible young core of Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, and Kris Dunn, the Wolves appeared to be a dynasty in the making. Unfortunately, the hubris (now we’re getting Greek!!!!) and impatience of Tom Thibodeau, the current coach and president of basketball operations, has now led them to potential ruin. Truly, he appears more interested in recreating the 2011 Chicago Bulls than he does about actually winning basketball games.

Instead of focusing on slowly improving that terrific core, Thibodeau decided to impetuously take the easy way out by trading LaVine, Dunn, and the 7th pick in the 2017 NBA draft who would become the excellent Lauri Markkannen to the Chicago Bulls for Jimmy Butler. In retrospect, the Wolves, a team who perhaps had the brightest future in the NBA, lost three prized prospects for a player who will likely not suit up for them this, or any other, season.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Thibodeau really does have more in common with a Greek hero than an NBA basketball coach, if we’re being honest. He’s basically Oedipus Rex, if Oedipus had attempted to stop the prophecy of sleeping with his own mother by putting together a basketball team full of bad players who used to play for him at one point. After all, Derrick Rose would be a solid addition to any tragic story. But I digress.

To be sure, Minnesota still has the talent to be in the playoff hunt next season. Regardless, a team that the Memphis Grizzlies will likely compete with for playoff position will be much worse next year. And that will clearly improve, even if only marginally, the Grizzlies’ chances of returning to the playoffs.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

It really is nice to see something generally beneficial finally happen to the Grizzlies. And all it took was the nearly complete implosion of one of the most talented and entertaining young teams in the league! Everything is meaningless! Watch the Grizzlies!

Follow @sbngrizzlies