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Welcome to the crossroads, Memphis

The Memphis Grizzlies find theirselves at a two way crossroads.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies-Press Conference Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Well. What can I say? Here we are. Another trade deadline where Grizz fans feel like they've been run amok and led astray. The solution seemed so simple, right? Trade Marc. Trade Mike. Get “quality” young players back. Get a 1st rounder back. Or two. Maybe two is a long shot. So what. Shoot for it, See what you can get.

Instead?

We got Avery Bradley. Oh, and Tyler Dorsey. Don’t forget about Jonas Valaciunas! To top it off, we got ourselves a valuable 2024 second round pick. Whew. All that for arguable the franchises best players of all time. Alright. I’m not here to argue about whether the trades were good or not, and yes, the Spurs game was promising. But if you’re wondering, no, I didn’t like the trades. At all. Instead, I’m here to ask, how did we get here? How did we get such a weak package back for Marc Gasol? How did Memphis find itself in this hole?

All of the decisions that this organization has made over the last few years has put them at a crossroads. Now, they just make a decision on which direction they want this franchise to go over the next 4-5 years. Hopefully, I can make some sense of this and maybe, just maybe, you'll walk away from this feeling somewhat optimistic about the future.

Or maybe I’ll just make you feel worse. Lets find out.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies-Press Conference Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Chances are, you've already read a piece grading our trades. You’ve read some saying they like it. Some have said they hate it. Some have said this was the most you were ever going to get back for a 34 year old center, so why be critical of what they received back in return? All valid points. Lets look at it from a different angle. Before that, let me say, I don't like talking negatively about our beloved Memphis Grizzlies. At the end of the day, we’re all fans. We all want the same thing for this franchise. That’s greatness. Some of us have different ideas of how ti obtain this greatness, but we all have the same end goal.

Well, most of us.

Now, the first problem we have is Chris Wallace. Is he in charge? Is he not in charge? Does he have a say so in the franchises transactions? Just how much power does he have? My answers. I don’t know. I don’t know. And, I don’t know. I do know this. He’s the guy that has to defend their actions. So, you're the one whom will bear the blame. Whether he volunteered for that role or not, fair or not, that’s how it is. For every good action Chris Wallace makes, he makes two bad actions to keep us two steps behind.

Draft Jaren Jackson Jr. Love it.

Surround him with old veterans whom can’t shoot, or run the floor. Don’t love it.

Lose Tyreke Evans for nothing. Meh.

Hire a young, charismatic coach in David Fizdale. Love it.

Fire him because him and your at the time 33 year old center can’t get along. Meh.

Trade that same said center, whom is now 34, for a couple good players and a second round pick. In 2024. Hate it.

See the trend here? Fizdale had his part in his demise. But lets not act like his hiring didn't fire up this fanbase. Because it did. I wish they were able to work out their differences. But that’s neither here nor there. Then, what does Chris Wallace do? He hires the ousted coach’s assistant coach as the new full time coach. J.B. Bickerstaff. Didn’t like it. Felt like a lazy hire. Lazy, and cheap hire. “But Darren, the players liked him.” Yeah. His record as an interim head coach at Houston says otherwise. See how all the cons are outweighing the pros thus far? This makes for a bad, bad mixture of a bad ending folks.

2009 NBA Draft Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Missed. Draft. Picks. Simply put, when you're a small market team like Memphis, you just can't make a habit of consistently missing on draft picks. Memphis has missed pick, after pick after pick, after pick. If you're the Lakers, fine. You can miss on a draft pick and be ok. Why? Because you're LA. You’ll just get a player in free agency. Enter LeBron James. Breaking news - LeBron James is NOT walking into those doors down at 191 Beale Street. Ever. The only way you can land a LeBron James here is through the draft. We’ve had our chances to land as star type player. Thus far, it looks like we may have something in Jaren Jackson Jr.

But is it too late? We’ve all heard the comparison of the New Orleans situation. The hundreds of Pelicans fans that were there welcomed their star player back, with boos. Even time he touched the ball. The commentary was never really about the game. It was a blame game. Blaming New Orleans. Blaming the NBA. Blaming large/small markets for flaming the fires. It. Was truly a mess.

To top it off, he didn’t play the entire fourth quarter recently in a close game. Now imagine that happening here in Memphis. Imagine for the next 5-6 years, we miss on draft pick, after draft pick, after draft pick. Imagine going to a Grizzlies game to watch Jaren Jackson Jr starting alongside someone like Kenrich Williams. No disrespect to him, but he has no business playing, yet alone STARTING alongside Anthony Davis. Don’t tell me we have 5-6 years to worry about this. No. The worrying starts NOW. You committed to essentially handing this team over to Jaren Jackson Jr. when you publicly stated you were looking to trader away Mike Conley Jr., and Marc Gasol. The days of you missing on draft picks needs to end now.

Memphis Grizzlies v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Look. I’m not some fancy blogger. I have no inside of the franchise. I’m simply a guy who has been given a platform to express his feelings when he wants (shout out to Joe Mullinax). Right now, I’m not happy. I feel like this front office has vastly underestimated this fan base. We aren't basketball illiterates. This is a massive basketball city. We love our basketball. Most of us can name the top high school prospects in this area without hesitation. That speaks to the magnitude of how passionate we are about this sport.

Time and time again, they’ve tried to sell us something that we knew would fail. Guys, we knew this team wasn't good from day 1. They told us with Mike and Marc, we’ll make the playoffs. Nope. We knew better. That was the narrative. All while surrounding them with players that either just weren’t talented enough to be in this league, or with guys that just don’t fit on this team.

No more games. No more missed draft picks.

No more Chris Wallace.

It’s time to clear the front office, and rebuild it from the ground up. As for you Robert Pera, you're the owner. So you want your say so in basketball affairs. Fine. You want to be like a Marc Cuban, or Steve Ballmer. Ok, cool! You know what they have in common? They have a smart person running the show. Doc Rivers/Jerry West. Rick Carlisle. Lawrence Frank. All smart guys. All know the game of basketball inside and out. A guy they have told look, you’re in charge. Make your staff. Make your moves. Do what you need to do. The buck stops with you. That’s what Memphis needs. It’s time to have ONE person in charge of basketball operations, and allow that person to build their own staff.

As for you Mr. Pera, you just enjoy the show and step in when you want an update on the status of the team. Otherwise, let the person you’ve hired run the show. They don’t need to feel like you are constantly looking over their shoulder looking for a reason to step in, or fire them. As for my fellow Grizz fans, we’ve been through worse. Times are about to change. As I said, we are at a crossroads right now. If we make the right moves, we can come out of this on top. But if we don't, we could find ourselves on national television booing our franchise player in our own arena. Here’s to hoping we make the right decisions.

Stating now.

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