Friday, August 17, 2007

Players to keep an eye on (Part 1)

As we inch ever closer to training camp and prepare to call to completion yet another offseason, I thought we'd look into the future to identify some players that the Grizzlies should keep an eye on. These players will fall into 2 groups: players who can be traded for this season, players who will be free agents in 2008, 2009 and 2010. If we've come to understand anything about NBA transactions so far, it is that you have to keep one eye on the present, one eye on the future and both hands on the wheel. That means that you cannot get too caught up in what occurs every day on the practice court and in games, and subsequently lose sight of the bigger picture. By the same token, you cannot mortgage your team's future for the sake of "one big chance" at a title unless that risk gives you a shot at winning a title over a 3 year period. Winning titles is the goal, just in case anyone has forgotten. With that in mind, here are the players that I think could upgrade the talent level of the Grizzlies or provide them with more cap space to pursue free agents over the next two offseasons.

Players available in a trade this season
We know that the Grizzlies would likely have little to no problem with parting ways with Damon Stoudamire or Stromile Swift at some point this season. Those two players provide the basis for whom I will be looking at and evaluating, as there are a few teams looking for help at PG and in the frontcourt. Without taking a horrendous contract in return, there is no way to move Brian Cardinal, so don't even bother suggesting it in the Comments.

Walter Herrmann (F - Charlotte Bobcats) -- The Bobcats have one real PG under contract (Raymond Felton) after letting Brevin Knight sign with the Clippers. They could use a player like Damon Stoudamire (with a future 2nd round pick added if necessary) to allow Felton a breather each game, and possibly a night off here and there. Herrmann proved to be a valuable player last season, showing a surprising ability to score after Gerald Wallace suffered a season-ending injury, allowing the Argentine to move into the starting lineup for the final 12 games of the season and post the following stats in that span: 19.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg, .585 FG%, .483 3PT%, .789 FT% in 37 MPG. The BETcats went 7-5 in the games he started. Charlotte might be willing to part with him, given the amount of frontcourt talent they have and the dearth of help they have at the PG position.

Donyell Marshall (F - Cleveland Cavaliers) -- The Cavs have a similar issue at PG, but are also reportedly looking to add interior help, so either Damon or Stro could potentially land this versatile forward who has seen his minutes dwindle despite relatively steady production. He's always been a 3-point threat and has grabbed double-digit rebounds in two of his 13 seasons, the most recent being 2003/04. He's a capable performer off the bench and has two years remaining on his contract, during which time he would likely be of more value that Damon.

Eduardo Najera (F - Denver Nuggets) -- A dirty player? Only if he's playing for the other team. He's a gritty hustle player, which the Grizz have been missing since Shane Battier was traded away and Brian Cardinal forgot to bring his knee ligaments with him to the arena. The Nuggets allowed Steve Blake to leave in free agency, leaving them with Allen Iverson, Chucky Atkins and the relic that used to be Anthony Carter manning the point. Don't be surprised if they start looking for some insurance at that position by mid-season, giving Memphis the opportunity to send Damon their way. Najera's contract expires at the end of the season, making it a win-win situation no matter how well he plays.

Kwame Brown (FC - L.A. Lakers) -- Yeah, he's a bust, but you're missing the point here: $9,075,000 of expiring contract. That's very close to the combined salaries of Damon and Stro ($10.15 million). The Lakers are another team with a potential lack of PG's, with Jordan Farmar and Derek Fisher (who has always played like a SG) the only guys on the roster that don't have that "R for Rookie" designation by their names. I know that this is true for the Grizzlies as well, with Conley, Lowry and Navarro all being rookies for all intents and purposes, but I'd be willing to roll the dice to get rid of those two contracts in exhange for cap space next offseason. Another player like Maurice Evans might be included to make the salaries work. Who knows, they might throw in Marc Gasol to make the deal work......just kidding.

Ricky Davis.......or maybe not. I wouldn't mind taking the "Grizzly Killer" off the market and then have him become the towel boy, but that's about the only way I'd want to trade for him.

Other players I considered, but didn't deem realistic acquisitions: John Salmons, Josh Childress, Jeff Foster, Francisco Elson, and Mouhamed Sene.

That left me with four players that I can see being legitimately moved this season that our two veterans could potentially land. I'll tackle the upcoming free agent markets in my next post.

1 comment:

ChipC3 said...

(Using my best Jose Jiminez voice)
Ricky Davis?
Oh I hope not!

Walter Hermann would be an excellent addition to the team but Charlotte isn't letting him walk just yet. Not after the way he finished last year. Only Memphis fans turn their backs that quickly on rookies who finish the season red hot!

The rest of your list doesn't excite me too much. Two names did peak my interest however. Saer Sene is young and could develop if given the opportunity and Josh Childress is a quality player. I just don't know if he has the range to succeed in Iavaroni's alledged offensive scheme.