Earlier today, the following story was posted in the Tucson Citizen:
Former UA All-American Damon Stoudamire says he's as healthy as he's been
in some time and is getting ready for another season in the NBA, his 13th.
But he'd also like to play for a winner.
"Hopefully I can get out of Memphis - that rebuilding process is
hard,'' he said Sunday, after he scored 21 points in the Lute Olson Classic.
"I've got to be professional but it's one of those situations where you never
think you'll be in. You want to get put in a situation where you want to win.
Individually things don't matter.''
Stoudamire, who turns 34 next month, still has two years left on his
contract that pays him $4 million a season. "I'm going to keep my fingers
crossed (about being moved) but I'm not going to make any demands or nothing,''
"Anybody who's been in my position knows. You see the writing on the
wall so I'm hoping at the end of the day we can work something out.''
There are a few things that can be gathered from these comments. First, Damon would like to play for a proven winner. Well, who wouldn't? There are very few players that are content to just waste year after year suiting up for a perpetual loser (other Jerome James). So, that is an understandable position to take. Second, Damon feels that he can contribute and doesn't look forward to being the potential 3rd string PG behind two young unproven players. That is also reasonable, seeing as how Damon probably felt assured that he'd be the starter in Memphis for the remainder of his contract prior to his injury two seasons ago. Lastly, Damon sees the potential to becoming unhappy in Memphis, but is not demanding a trade, or even requesting one. That's a smart position, and we're about to examine why.
Damon knows that not only would it be foolish to demand a trade, but it would seriously derail any possibility of him going anywhere anytime soon. Here's why: Damon is coming off two injury-marred seasons and there isn't anyone willing to take on the 2 years and $8 million remaining on his contract until he proves that he is, in fact, as healthy as he claims to be. That means he's looking at a mid-season trade at the soonest. That timeline works out pretty well, because if he proves he's capable of still contributing to a team and either Conley or Lowry show that they are ready to handle the role of starter, then something can probably be worked out to send him to a "winner". Until that happens, he's not going anywhere though. The Grizzlies would be unwise to send him out with only rookies left on the depth chart and prospective teams would be crazy to trade for him until he proves that he is back to 100%. All in all, this story sounds like much ado about nothing on a slow news day for the NBA.