Well, after weeks of speculation it is finally done.
The trade deadline has come and gone, and as most suspected the Memphis Grizzlies look drastically different than they did just days ago. Gone are franchise cornerstone Marc Gasol, as well as rotation players JaMychal Green, Garrett Temple, and Shelvin Mack. In return, the Grizzlies have received a mixed back of young-ish players and veterans who can help Memphis achieve their likely goal of still conveying their 2019 1st round pick to Boston this summer so they can hit the draft reset button, and perhaps enter phase two of what will likely be a long rebuild.
To break down the events (and non-events) of the day, we have assembled some terrific GBBers - Social Media Editor Matthew Preston, Associate Editor Jack Noonan, Senior Writers Brandon Abraham and Greg Ratliff, and Writers Shawn Coleman and Justin Lewis.
Who won the Marc Gasol trade - Toronto or Memphis?
Matthew Preston (@grizzlam)- To be determined. Valanciunas is better than Gasol right now in my opinion, and in the beginning of his prime. By the same token, he’d make a good trade piece, and I hope the Grizzlies find a way to convert him into an asset that compliments Jaren Jackson Jr. since Triple-J is the center of the future.
Jack Noonan (@jnoonan1307)- Toronto, and by a long shot. Masai Ujiri once again flexes on the league upgrading Jonas Valanciunas to Marc Gasol for nearly nothing. The Grizzlies accepted three players that do not help at all for a rebuild and a 2024 second rounder. All guys are past 25 with no real hope to be a solid piece to build around in the next five years. Toronto was able to keep up with the arms race in the Eastern Conference.
Brandon Abraham (@bcabraham)- I think both teams won the Gasol trade. Toronto gets a key piece that solidifies them as Finals contenders, while Memphis got enough back to stay relevant enough to convey the pick. Toronto not having to give up a better pick gives them the edge.
Greg Ratliff (@GregRatliff)- I really feel like it’s a wash. The pieces the Grizzlies acquired aside from Delon Wright are just kind of meh. It also wouldn’t surprise me if Marc opts out for less money this summer and leaves if Kawhi Leonard moves elsewhere.
Shawn Coleman (@StatsSAC)- In terms of player production, you could say Memphis. Valenciunas actually compares favorably to Marc this year, and the Grizzlies got additional talent depth their roster need. However, the clear winner is Toronto. To gain Gasol’s talent and intangibles without giving up a first rounder or part of their core made this a great trade for the Raptors. This is the type of move that could make a difference deep in the playoffs.
Justin Lewis (@J_Timberfake_)- Toronto obviously won the trade in the immediate future. They got the better player, a player that could ultimately put them over the top in the East. Marc no longer has to carry the team, he gets to play basketball the way he wants to play. He will be alongside other great defensive players and have a chance at a ring. Toronto is about to get engaged Marc and that Marc is All-NBA level Gasol.
What is your favorite Marc Gasol moment?
Preston- It’s hard to pick a favorite, so I’ll share an underappreciated moment that has stuck with me throughout the years. Against the CP3 New Orleans Hornets, with 2.1 on the clock before halftime, Shane Battier runs the baseline and throws a full-court in-bounds pass to Gasol, who corrals the ball, slaps it with a single dribble, and banks in an incredible falling turnaround fadeaway triple to beat the buzzer. Gasol’s teammates mob him while he’s lying on the ground like he just scored a game-winning goal in soccer.
Noonan: My favorite Marc Gasol memory was his 2012-2013 season where he was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year. It was the peak of the Grit and Grind defense, and he was anchoring the unit. That defense was one of the best defenses in Grizzlies history. It was so much fun watching him impact every defensive possession.
Abraham: My favorite Marc Gasol moment was in November of 2016 against the Clippers. Marc, not yet known for having a 3-point shot, drilled a game winning 3 from the corner against the Clippers when they were still a rival. Gasol’s McGregor strut after the shot will be something I remember forever.
Ratliff: My favorite Marc moment was December 17, 2014. Grizzlies blew a 23-point lead in San Antonio and Danny Green hit a three to take the lead with 2.5 seconds left. Gasol gets the inbound and drains a three at the buzzer to send the game to overtime. Crazy game.
Coleman: While Gasol’s playoff game winners are very memorable, his three to win the game against the Clippers on 11/16/2016 is my most memorable moment of him. He has hit bigger shots, but that shot and the Mcgregor strut was a statement that said “I’m still here.” With many expecting Grit and Grind to be over and his clear decline to start, Gasol would go on to have the best offensive season of his career. He also would make the three pointer a weapon of choice, allowing him to stay effective to this day.
Lewis: I would not say I have just one moment. It is a culmination of moments Gasol has produced on and off the court that has made me proud to say he is on this team. Whether it is the refugee rescues in his off season or the in game coaching moments with Jaren Jackson Jr, Gasol has done a lot of little things that add up and those are the things I will miss. And oh, the McGregor walk of course.
Do Avery Bradley, Jonas Valanciunas, Tyler Dorsey, C.J. Miles, and Delon Wright make the Grizzlies good enough to convey the draft pick owed to Boston in this draft?
Noonan: This one is going to be close. I think it will come down to lottery night, and everyone will be praying to the Draft gods. That amount of talent can win games, however it may not be consistent. I’ll just say this, Celtics twitter and their other bloggers are bummed about the pieces the Grizzlies picked up as they want the pick to roll over until 2021.
Ratliff: Yes. Simple as that. The Grizzlies may not have gotten marginally better with these trades but they definitely didn’t get worse.
Lewis: WE HAVE A BACK UP POINT GUARD. Ok, got that off my chest. Is the real question is J.B. good enough to coach these guys to convey the pick? There will probably be some losing early on as the acclimate all the players together, but I believe the talent on the roster is good enough to convey, just probably not the coaching.
Was keeping Mike Conley the right decision, given what we know about the offers that were available?
Preston: Yes. No need to rush moving him and the market in the summer will be better for the Grizzlies anyway. However, if I’m being honest, losing Gasol and Conley simultaneously would’ve been devastating, and I’m excited to see Conley push a faster pace with Jaren Jackson Jr.
Abraham: I loved the proposed Utah deal of Rubio, Favors and a 1st but I’m on board with keeping Mike at least until the summer. It would be nice if the trade talk wasn’t so public, but I think the Grizzlies ultimately made the right decision sticking with Conley.
Coleman: If the reported offers were not improved, the answer is probably yes. I feel I was more for trading Conley than most, as I feel his value is the best it will get right now. However, if injury can be avoided, the summer is when more teams are looking to improve. Thus, it is logical the Grizzlies could get the same value in an offer they got today, or perhaps even better. Furthermore, being able to witness Conley play at this level some more is wonderful.
Do you feel better, worse, or the same about the front office of the Grizzlies after the trade deadline?
Preston: I think they did what they could with the options available and needing to deal Gasol at this deadline, but blowing up the front office is long overdue. All I ask is that they keep John Hollinger.
Noonan: The same, however the expectations are as low as possible, so take that for what it’s worth. This was the front office’s chance to hit the blow-it-up button and start over building on picks and young players. They ended up with Tyler Dorsey and a 2024 second rounder. Yes, those other players may keep you outside the top-8, but you have to fully commit to a rebuild. Something the Grizzlies front office just does not understand.
Abraham: I feel better about the front office due to the fact that it seems as if Pera and others (Chris Makris & TayShaun Prince) we’re more involved in years past. The leaks and weird mishandling of the trade rumors is a concern, but the actual moves being made seem to be more than your typical Chris Wallace moves.
Ratliff: I feel pretty much the same. I had zero confidence before the deadline and still have zero confidence. If the team gets into the offseason this summer and strikes out left and right again, top to bottom wholesale changes need to be made. When you run one of the least valuable franchises in the NBA in the smallest market in the NBA, you can’t afford to continuously miss. This is the best chance they’ve had to retool and rebuild since before the Core 4.
Coleman: My feelings about the Grizzlies front office remains the same. I am tired of our front office making decisions either without a sense of direction or to maintain the status quo. The franchise needs to clean house, from top to bottom. Our ownership needs to redefine its level of commitment to do this rebuild right. Otherwise, the situation will only continue to get worse, and that is a reality no one wants to face.
Lewis: The same. House needs to be cleaned. Too many stains, it stinks. Actually, forget cleaning house, just get a new one. Start fresh.
Thanks so much to the guys for participating. The Memphis Grizzlies are back in action Saturday night at home against the Pelicans in what will be their first home game without Marc Gasol and the other traded players...and perhaps our first chance to see the new members of the squad.