“I’m here to build a championship team. I want to see a parade one day down Beale Street. This city deserves it. That’s what we’re in the game for, to win championships and (head coach) Marc (Iavaroni) and I will not rest until we have that parade somewhere down the future.”
Sounds good doesn't it? A NBA championship in Memphis, TN? Who would not get on board behind that notion. These are the words that were spoken by Chris Wallace at his first press conference upon being hired to turn around the Memphis Grizzlies. Yes, the words are easy to say but now it is time to get down to business. Most Grizzlies fans are so used to a reactive or inactive front office that the prevailing feeling is that the Grizzlies will do nothing before the trade deadline beyond buying out Damon Stoudamire. This is how much faith the fan base of a team that has a combined record of 35-90 over the the last season and a half have in their front office. Yet, everyone from Michael Heisley to Jerry West to ESPN thinks the Grizzlies fans are the dummies for not paying for the crap the Grizzlies organization have laid on the FEDEX Forum floor the last year and a half. What the Grizzlies front office is essentially telling the fans with their inaction is "we know better than you do". This is ok...if you win...but when you might put up back to back sub 30 win seasons it reeks of incompetence at best and idiotic arrogance at worst.
Last season at the trade deadline, the Grizzlies had an opportunity to remake the franchise by trading Pau Gasol. However, our organization continues to act like Gasol has brought us to the brink of winning a title. This is not the same situation as Kevin Garnett in Minnesota. Kevin Garnett was a multiple time All Star who had led the Timberwolves to four 50+ win seasons and the Western Conference finals. Gasol is a one time All Star who has led the Grizzlies to one 50 win season and an 0-12 playoff record. Holding on to Gasol because he has been the best player in Grizzlies history is not prudent, it is a testament to how pathetic this organization has been since coming into the league in 1996 and averaging a pedestrian 27 wins per season.
Trading Gasol, even for a the mythical bag a magic beans, is not necessarily the death nail the Grizzlies organization and fans envision. Just looking at recent NBA history shows this to be true. At the 2005 trade deadline, the New Orleans Hornets traded two time All Star and playoff stalwart Baron Davis to the Golden State Warriors for Speedy Claxton and Dale Davis. They promptly went on to have the third worst record in the league, drafted Chris Paul with the fourth pick and in two seasons they are even better than they were with B Diddy. Isolated incident? In December of that same season, the Toronto Raptors traded the pouting Vince Carter to New Jersey for Alonzo Mourning, Aaron Williams, Eric Williams and two first round draft picks. One picked turned into Joey Graham and the other was used to get the New York Knicks to swap Antonio Davis for Jalen Rose. Similarly, two years later, the Raptors were better than the team in which Vinsanity was starring.
Now those were just two recent examples of how a properly managed team can overcome even the most horrid of trades. Interestingly, Davis and Carter had helped their franchises win more than Gasol has for the Grizzlies but for some reason the Grizzlies continue to hold on. It is not a matter of anyone thinking Gasol is to blame but also you can't expect to get the Grizzlies salvation from what you get in a Gasol trade. If we do then we should count ourselves lucky because it rarely, if ever, works out that way. The fact remains, with Gasol, the Grizzlies are on pace to win 24 games and finish 27th in the league in attendance? What in the hell are we hoping to avoid by keeping Gasol?
Hopefully, the Grizzlies do not wait until the situation with Gasol becomes sour again. The time to rebuild is while you have some good young talent (Gay, Conley, Lowry, Milicic) locked into small reasonable contracts. Also, Gasol's value is probably at his peak with regards to his production, salary, and contract length. Same goes with Mike Miller. Time for the Memphis Grizzlies to finally be proactive in building this franchise.____________________________________________________________________
MemphisX Pau Gasol Trade of the Week
Pau Gasol and Brian Cardinal to the Chicago Bulls for Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Viktor Khryapa and a benevolent donation to the P.J. Brown retirement fund in the amount of $7.3 million ($3 million of which is paid by Chicago).