Sunday, February 3, 2008

3SoB Sunday Chronicle 2.3.08

From Zack

Welcome to the latest edition of our Sunday Chronicle, where the previous week will be reviewed, the upcoming week will be previewed, lots of enticing blue links will appear, and a few more things might be added in for your reading pleasure. All pictures are only from games that were played during the previous week. And leave a freaking comment so I know if anyone is actually reading this!

After getting whipped by the efficient Jazz, Rudy and Hak are wondering what the future holds without the Meal Ticket around. (AP)

Wow! Double Wow!! Triple Wow!!!! Pau-Wow!!!! Even more exclamation points to drive home the point!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a week that was. Probably the biggest week in Memphis Grizzlies history. Might as well consider this week's Sunday Chronicle to be the Pau Gasol Trade Edition.

As everyone already knows, the Face of the Franchise and best player in team history, Pau Gasol, was traded to the Lakers for a pu-pu platter of "essentially" 4 first round draft picks and salary cap relief. Here is the full trade details again:
Pau Gasol and a second round pick will be sent to Los Angeles for Kwame Brown (and his expiring contract), a first rounder in '08 and '10, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie and rights to Marc Gasol

The general reaction to the trade, aside from the ticker-tape parade and dancing in the streets taking place in LA, was a great big groan. I'd guess that most die-hard Griz fans weren't very satisfied with the final trade package, even those fans that badly wanted Pau traded. There are still those that like the trade of Pau for primarily cap space, and I think the number coming around to that side is increasing. Personally, I'm not disgusted with the trade and agree that it was a better deal than some of the other rumored deals on the table (everyone would agree that this is infinitely more attractive than a package of Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes, right?). I'm not yet sure how the general Memphis public has/have reacted to the news and details of the trade. Although I do know that my crazy neighbor who I have never talked basketball with came up to me in the front yard and wanted to talk about "Paul" Gasol being traded.

Chris Wallace originally said very firmly on the radio (and other places) that he was not going to trade Pau for only expiring contracts. He has since explained that he simply changed his mind while watching this train wreck of a season. The cost-cutting maneuver has the potential to really help the Griz in the future if the right free agents are signed and right draft picks are picked. But more importantly, this move may facilitate Heisley selling the team, hopefully to the local ownership group. Ric Bucher mentioned that he heard this type of trade was what the local owners wanted done before they gathered the money to pay Heisley's ransom.

Wallace denies that ownership directives had anything to do with this trade and that the front office thought this was the best deal available (and judging by media reports I think it was). Heisley even said that he had to be convinced by Wallace and Iavaroni to OK the trade. It has been suggested that Jerry West had a hand in on this deal, but Heisley also denied that.

I am also surprised (not sure if in a good or bad way) that Heisley and Wallace have both acknowledged that the lack of popularity Pau had in Memphis contributed to the decision to trade Pau. I like it that the Griz actually do listen to the fanbase. But I'm not sure if that is a trait I want to continue since Wallace is getting paid to be smarter than all of us backseat drivers. Then again, I truly believe this trade will be good for ticket sales. Time will tell.

A few more notes. Wallace told Navarro that he does not consider the Spaniards a pair "tied at the hip". It will be interesting to see how his restricted free agency is handled this summer. Wallace also said numerous times our three PG's will be locked in a room and we will see which two emerge. Great! That sure sounds like postive words for 3 rookie players to hear. Everyone this side of Jupiter interrupted Wallace's comments to mean Kyle Lowry should go ahead and pack his bags. And most of those people actually thought they were being astute with that conclusion! There is also some talk that Miller will be traded because, well, a firesale wouldn't be complete without also trading another starter for a similar pu-pu platter. Lastly, Aaron McKie was added in the trade for salary reasons and will actually be joining the Griz as a player/coach. Maybe that will turn out good for us.

Griz fans, get ready for May and June. Looks like the draft this year might be even more important than last year. That is hard to believe.

Can we win the lottery this year? Who will we draft in the lottery? Who will we draft with the Lakers pick? Will we draft Derrick Rose and then have all four PG's locked in a room and see which two emerge? Is Beasley really that good? Is OJ Mayo a head case? How tall is Eric Gordon? How good is Kevin Love? What about those 2 Euro dudes projected to go high in the lottery?

In case you haven't read them, here are the links to the main Commercial Appeal stories to read for most of the information about the Pau trade:
Pau Sent Packing by Tillery
Gasol for What? by Caulkins
Heisley Q and A by Tillery
Owner feels pain of trade, too by Caulkins
Trade stuns Gasol by Tillery
Alright Gasol haters, he's gone now what? by Morgan
Grizzlies vow to fight on by Morgan
What others are saying about Gasol's trade

Pau Timeline

I thought it could be interesting to quickly review the timeline that occurred for the Pau trade (to the best of my ability at 3am in the morning), emphasizing the internet/blogsphere aspect because it was interesting that we internet geeks actually had about 12 hours to contemplate the upcoming Pau/Lakers trade.

At first I was going to just ignore the events before this season that undoubtedly contributed to the culmination of this final Pau trade because that would take days to compile and write out.....but I couldn't, so I have included a long, rambling laundry list of events that summarizes before 2008.

Before 2008
Pau gets max contract; becomes legitimate all-star and star league player; develops annoying habits like checking for blood, whining to refs instead of playing defense, and flailing arms about wildly for no reason; leads Griz to record setting 0-12 record in the playoffs; severely hurts foot while winning World MVP and leading Spain to gold; Verno writes and records hilarious Ode to Pau (who wants a crying Spaniard) and immediately gets death threats from Spain; Sam Smith develops crush on Pau and wants him in Chicago worse than Brittney wants her RedBull-Vodka-Robitussin mix drink; Griz turn out to suck the season after trading Shane; Pau gets booed at home; Sam Smith writes another Pau-to-Chicago article; Pau has meeting with Heisley about being traded; Jerry West leaks trade request to media which was much like giving a pack of coyote's a dead deer carcass; Sam Smith writes another Pau-to-Chicago article; every other local and national NBA analyst writes a Pau-soon-to-be-traded article; Jerry West refuses to trade Pau for anything less than half the gold in Ft Knox; new regime promises to be committed to building around Pau; Pau's best friend is brought to Memphis
August 2007 to January 2008
Griz disappoint many and suck for the 2nd straight year while having one of the 5 worst records in the league. Sam Smith still obsesses over Pau on a regular basis. More than half of the Griz fans in Memphis don't like Pau and want to see him traded evident by Pau again getting booed at home. Wallace and Iavaroni decide that the best direction for the team is to trade Pau and start fielding offers. All offers were reportedly VERY underwhelming.
January 13th, 2008
Andrew Bynum hurts knee playing against the Griz. Injury to budding star re-ignites trade talk between the Griz and the Lakers regarding Pau.
Approximately 11:30 PM, January 31st
Griz and Lakers agree upon trade. It has been reported that initially the Lakers offered Kwame and Vlad "the crazy snowboarder", but the Griz wanted J-Critt and draft picks. Lakers caved to our steep demands.
Approximately Midnight, January 31st/February 1st
Chris Vernon publishes cryptic blog post hinting towards Griz firesale and impending Pau for Kwame Brown trade. In doing so, Verno again solidified his reputation of breaking Griz news.
Early Morning Hours, February 1st
I (Zack) quickly take Verno's cryptic post and spread it far and wide. Griz fans on the messageboard start to react to the possibility. I even posted the Verno rumor on the Lakers board on the RealGM Forums, causing Lakers fans to immediately start dreaming of trading a pu-pu platter for Pau and becoming legit title contenders. I am quite fascinated about the 12 hour window of trade discussion time Griz and Lakers fans had before the actual trade was announced. I also email Tom Ziller at AOL FanHouse about the trade in the middle of the night, figuring it would make a great FanHouse post the next day. Did it ever!
Morning Hours, February 1st
Tom Ziller alerts the rest of the NBA blogsphere of Verno's post regarding a possible Griz firesale and Kwame-Pau trade. Soon after, Henry Abbot on TrueHoop writes an article about the Lakers being Pau's most sensible destination. I do not know if he saw Verno's post before writing the article or not. Quite the coincidence if not.
Approximatley 1:30 pm, February 1st
Ron Tillery reports on the MemphisEdge that Pau Gasol has been traded to the Lakers. Exact details are not immediatly known. Chris Vernon then quickly chimes in with the correct trade details. Tillery follows.
Afternoon Hours, February 1st
Mainstream media, NBA blogsphere, and NBA messageboards (particularly the best messageboard around at explode with activity as the trade is reported and analyzed and discussed. Popular opinion is that the Lakers ripped off the Griz
3pm, February 1st
Wallace goes on Verno explaining trade.
5pm, Febuary 1st
Official Grizzlies press conference regarding the trade.
Febuary 1st and 2nd
3 Shades of Blue shatters all previous page view records.

Shades of Blue Week in Review

Time for Some Action (yes it was)
NBA Draft Preview Part II (looks like only previewing potential lottery picks won't be enough anymore)
Pau Gasol: Business vs Basketball (I think business won in the short term with the hope that basketball wins in the long term)
Stromile Suspended (and this was only the beginning)
Rebuilding: Building a Contender vs Blowing it Up (I think we have our answer and it resembles a particularly destructive act of slamming 2 big chunks of Uranium together)
Power Rankings (time for the inverted standings to take over?)
Rudy, Conley, JCN invited to T-Mobile Rookie Challenge (no team has more representatives than us)
Wallace Said No? (evidently he wasn't even asked)
Five Bags of Magical Beans for Pau Gasol (what's in that 6th bag?)
Swift for Collins Almost Done? (uh, I think it still isn't done)
GASOL TRADED (have ya heard?)
Collins vs Swift in Stats (insert sarcastic joke here)
Gasol vs Kwame Brown +2 in Stats (insert even more sarcastic joke here)
Still Seeking the Sunshine through the Clouds (the sunshine president has no intention of stepping aside)
More on the Gasol-Gasol Trade (how many Gasol's does it take to the shake up the Western Conference?)
Time for the Beanstalk to Grow - Reaction to Pau Trade (MemphisX is excited!)

Griz Week in Review

Pau Gasol plays in his last game as a Memphis Grizzly. (Getty)

Whew!!! I'm exhausted already and I haven't even got to talk of actual Griz basketball games. I think I might have to slack on the review/preview stuff this week, it's late and I'm whipped.

The Griz went 0-3 this week, losing to three tough Western conference teams at home and dropping to 13-34 for the season. Honestly, it doesn't look like it will be any better for the rest of the season. That really doesn't have anything to do with Pau, but rather a young, inexperienced team that doesn't really have the personnel to properly execute Iavaroni's style of play combined with the coaching inexperience of Iavaroni himself.

Quick Rundown:
Griz lose to Dallas 84-103
Griz lose to Denver 102-106
Griz lose to Utah 91-110

Best Game of the Week: Close loss to Denver that should have been a win
SoB recap. We should have won this game. Of course we blew the game in the end of the 4th quarter. Of course.

Worst Game of the Week: Dallas spanks Griz in 1st Qtr, cruises to victory
SoB recap. Basically this game was decided by the 1st quarter. It is notable that this was Pau Gasol's last game in a Griz uniform.

Player of the Week: Rudy Gay
Rudy was the leading scorer in all 3 games this week. But he gets the honor mostly for his Denver performance.
30 Points, 10 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals

Rudy Gay drives versus the Jazz. (Getty)

Other Griz News/Notes
--Rudy challenged Dwight Howard to 12 foot dunk during Dunk Contest. This causes Gerald Green to up the anty to 13 foot.
--Stromile was first suspended, then reportedly will be traded to the Nets for Jason Collins.
--Damon signs with the Spurs.
--Rudy, Conley and Navarro all get invited to Rookie-Sophomore game.

Other Pictures During the Week

Darko throws one down versus the Jazz. (Getty)

Lowry looks up the court. Despite playing almost the entire game at PG while Conley is out, Lowry might want to start looking at the other 29 NBA teams, as everyone has already decided he will be traded before next season. (Getty)

Navarro showing off that great length of his. (Getty)

Miller goes for a dunk against the Jazz. Will Miller be the next out the door? (Getty)

Griz Week Ahead

Quick Rundown:
Tuesday 5th vs Bucks
Friday 8th @ Dallas
Saturday 9th @ New Orleans

Mid-Season Griz Killer MVP, Chris Paul, looks to add onto his impressive resume. I sure hope that this time against the Hornets, we have better luck defending the dangerous Paul-West pick-and-roll. If Paul scores more than 40 again, I'm gonna see if the TV remote or sheetrock is stronger.

Story of the Week: How will the new look Griz respond to losing Pau? When will the new guys first play?

Sorry, I'm out of energy. That's all I got. In coming weeks I hope to focus more on the actual games played, maybe add in a stat section and some other ideas I have. If there is anything you want me to cover in the future on Sunday mornings, let me know in the comments. Go Griz!


pl4tinum said...

Good stuff man, love your blog.
I check it almost every day!

Anonymous said...

Great blog. I'm here several times a day.

hptmatt said...

Zack, your use of "pu-pu platter" has now made me spew water all over my new Dell Vostro 1500. I'll take a bottled water Tuesday as reimbursement :).

Great stuff as always.

hptmatt said...

a couple more thoughts-I posted on the Grizz board that while last night's third quarter was VERY painful, it was a kindler gentler pain-I now know that the long haul has truly begun. A freeing feeling in an odd sort of way. giving Stro to the Nets for jason collins, Iavaroni has finally made a defensive-oriented substitution....

Grizz GM said...

love the sunday recap keep it up!

Jordi Gómez said...

C'mon keep the work up!
I have to admit that I'm mainly a Navarro fan coming from Spain for news. But what I like from this site is exactly that it gives me an insight of what's happening in Memphis from the close and american point of view, instead of the fanatic and chauvinistic articles from the spanish press. The Sunday chronicles are great to get the overall view leaving the hottest news. It helps to avoid (as a spanish saying says) "the trees hide the forest".

PD: I have the sensation that the Griz's managers are showing the cards too early. We could have got much more for Gasol if the managers hadn't made public the trade request, and the FedEx Forum hadn't been booing him every night. Now, with everybody knowing how great is the Griz's cap space, all the free agents will be more expensive for us. We need a joker from the pocket!