The Memphis Grizzlies have a plan. It's a secret plan. It's so secret, I'm not sure they even know what it is yet.
The Grizzlies' trade of
In return for Gasol, the franchise leader in 12 statistical categories, Memphis got some financial relief (Gasol has three years and $49 million left on his contract while new Grizzlies foward-center
The bulk of the talent clearly went west. So what gives? Why would Grizzlies general manager
(Just kidding, Chris.)
The popular opinion is that Memphis is strip-mining the franchise in preparation of a sale. According to
The Grizzlies have been swimming in red ink since billionaire owner
But that may not be the case. Reports out of Memphis say that it was Wallace and coach
"The strategy sure as hell isn't to try to wreck the team," Heisley told the
If Heisley is telling the truth and trading Gasol was purely a basketball decision, well, the Grizzlies' franchise plan may not only be secret but also just plain bad.
That's not to say dealing Gasol was a bad move for the Grizzlies. As one NBA scout said, "They were a last-place team with Gasol. They can be a last-place team without him." The problem is what the Grizzlies got back for the 7-footer. Several teams made offers for Gasol, including Chicago, which is believed to have proposed a package that included gritty small forward
Cap space is nice, and the Grizzlies figure to have $12-13 million to spend this summer. But mercenaries (at least good ones) are few and far between in the NBA. Good players want to play for a winner, and right now Memphis' roster is a collection of intriguing young talent and overpriced veterans. The Grizzlies have three youngsters (rookies Crittenton and
They could upgrade that talent in the draft, with their own high lottery pick as well as the Lakers' first-round selection (which figures to be in the low-to-mid 20s). Size will be at a premium, and the Grizzlies may be able to land a franchise center like Texas Tech's
The draft, however, is a crapshoot. The real thing is hard to come by. The Grizzlies had the real thing and they traded it away. And they didn't get much to build on in return.