Friday, June 27, 2008

Reflecting on 4 hours of sleep

I was in the media room last night and when the Love pick was announced most of the media types were sort of ho-hum about it. A lot like the city of Memphis in that regard. Another safe pick and a solid player but nothing to get excited about.

Donte Greene's pick was interesting mostly because the Grizzlies didn't take home town boy CDR. Not a lot of people of the media knew much about Donte Greene and no one thought it was really a great pick. Why didn't they draft the University of Memphis star? Don't the Grizzlies want any fans in the stands? Maybe he's a better player but he won't bring the fans to the game.

I was on the other side of the coin. I thought Love wasn't just the smart pick but the right pick. The kid oozes leadership and class, he was going to be the dirty work player Memphis had never had and I was very excited about his prospect of success in Memphis. Maybe not All-Star success but on-court success for the team. Donte Greene was a brilliant pick in that they filled a need at back up SF with a talented young player that could grow behind Rudy and be used in a fast lineup with Rudy at times.

We waited for the Grizzlies too come out and face the music. And we waited. And we waited. I left after 10:00 pm because I work at a real job and nothing had been announced but their was a quiet buzz going around. Was something up? Why hadn't the Grizzlies come out to discuss the Greene pick? Are they working on something? Are they going to waste another 2nd rd pick to get a player to excite the locals? No one knew what was up but the general feeling was that something was happening. Of course the general feeling was it would be insignificant and there was some grumbling about deadlines and all.

Obviously I should have stayed.

About 10 minutes after getting home I heard that Greene was probably gone and that Darrell Arthur looked to be coming to Memphis. Then the damn broke with Ford's release of the Mayo trade. Suddenly I was wide awake again. Why didn't I stay at the Forum.

So what does this mean for the Grizzlies?

I think the Mayo trade shows Memphis is serious about rebuilding this franchise in a different manner than previous teams had been built but they paid a high cost for that reorganization. Memphis traded away the best rebounder the team has ever had and Arthur, while a solid all-around player, won't be able to do the things off the glass that Mayo can. Mike Miller was never going to be more than he is, which isn't bad but certainly not something that will shake up the fans.

I also hopes this puts to bed the idea that Heisley is only about cutting costs. Buying out Antoine Walker is not cheap. Jaric and Buckner add another year of his contracts that wouldn't exist with Collins, Cardinal and Miller.

It is expensive. It is dangerous. It was the right thing to do for a town that had forgotten the Grizzlies existed.

BallHype: hype it up!


the serbian swatter said...

The Mayo for Love and Miller trade cripples the Grizzlies chances of rebuilding. I am so disgusted. Miller was not the problem last year, and Love fills the void at PF. So we lose two excellent team players and gain another PG project. Unbelievable. There won't be enough shots to go around between our two "scorers", Gay and Mayo. The two of them will probably comprise 50 FGA per game at around a 43% FG%. With such an inefficient offense, and no improvement to defense, the Grizz may post the worst record in league history next season and beyond.

August West said...

I love this trade. We needed another All-Star caliber/potential player, and Mayo was the only one involved in that trade you could say that about! Miller is a good player, but he's a role player and we have enough developing role players.

Jaric and Buckner add veteran leadership and may actually earn a sliver of their salary, unlike Cardinal who is stealing money.

Antoine will give us salary relief next year, plus Adriana Lima will make a nice occasional presence in the Fed-Ex forum!

Anonymous said...

You said it august west. We had to get a talent like Mayo in this draft, and we did. I was disgusted when we drafted Kevin Love. Little did I know that we were drafting for Minnesota. Awesome. Also, we got Darrell Arthur to fill our huge hole a power forward and we could always sign Josh Smith or Emeka Okafor, if we have the money.

Psicosis said...

Serbian swatter: If by "crippling the Grizzlies' chances of rebuilding," you mean "got the best player, an okay backup, and an incredible improvement in terms of cap flexibility," I completely agree.

Both the Mayo and Arthur deals were things of beauty.

the serbian swatter said...

Dear Psicosis,

I like the Arthur trade, so super duper. As for the Mayo trade, how exactly did we get an incredible improvement in cap flexibility? Miller more than justified his pay, and by acquiring Jaric and Buckner, we've locked up approximately $11M in wasted cap space until 2010/11. Getting rid of Cardinal only frees up around $6.5M per season through 2009/10. Thus, we're in worse shape for a longer period of time. This isn't even considering the adverse effect that a $20M buyout of Walker's contract would have on Heisley's willingness to spend on a high-priced FA. Even though a buyout would free up cap space, I wouldn't bet on a frugal owner like Heisley to spend big money on a FA after having to eat $20M up front.

Additionally, could you explain how having no frontcourt is a good thing? Mayo may turn out to be a good player, but the fact of the matter is that the Grizz DON'T need any more young guards. Hence, my negative sentiment toward the trade.

Losing Miller and Love for Mayo is going to cripple this team for years to come.

Chip Crain said...

First off Walker contract has a team buyout at the end of this season. If the Grizzlies buy him out now it will be for a percentage of this year's salary only ($9.3 million).

Right now the draft is passed but the free agent period hasn't begun and there is still plenty of time to make a trade using our surplus of PG's to acquire a PF if Walker isn't physically or mentally ready to contribute. it's a process that has only begun not finished.

Everyone needs to focus on Heisley's comments today that the team is looking to be competitive in 3 years not this fall. Mayo has far greater upside than Love so this aspect of the trade makes sense. Will it result in immediate victories? Probably not but three years from now it is more likely Mayo will be the best player in the trade and that will be paying dividends greater than a power forward this year would bring.

Dave said...

I rate Kevin Love as the better pro prospect. He was also the better fit for the Grizzlies providing great rebounding, passing, shooting ability, post game and overall scoring. He would have been fantastic and an igniting force for the Grizzlies running game with Rudy Gay and Conley leading that show.

I'm not convinced by OJ Mayo. He's a great kid, great character and hardworking but I'm not sold on the basketball talent. He'll be a solid player but I'm not sure he has the capabilities of an All-Star. He didn't do well in college when good defenses focused in on him. He relies on three point range too much and doesn't get enough easy baskets (again why vulnerable against good defenses). He also averaged more turnovers than assists so he's still developing as a playmaker and as a passer. I like that he's a good defender. In terms of his rookie season alone, if he replaces Mike Miller's contributions I'll be happy.

Darrell Arthur was a nice pickup late in the draft. He'll be a good rotation player.

Next year ... Another Lottery pick and hopefully a big man will be drafted. Team should be pretty similar next season to last season.

the serbian swatter said...

According to Hoops Hype, Walker's contract has a team option for 2009/10, but none for 2010/11. Thus, it looks to me like the Grizz are on the hook for 2008/09 and 2010/11, which adds up to approximately $20M. If exercising the 2009/10 option negates the 2010/11 obligation, then the Grizz only owe Walker $9.3M. I'm not sure which scenario is valid.

As for Mayo having more "upside" than Love, I totally disagree. Dave hit the nail on the head with his analysis of Mayo.

Heisley may have a 3-year plan, but I foresee it consisting of 3 more years of ineptitude, at the end of which we'll have to rebuild yet again. Meanwhile, Miller and Love will be playing playoff basketball with T-Wolves.

Chip Crain said...

According to Hoops Hype, Walker's contract has a team option for 2009/10, but none for 2010/11. Thus, it looks to me like the Grizz are on the hook for 2008/09 and 2010/11, which adds up to approximately $20M.
Well in that you would be wrong. Once the team fails to pick up the option the contract is void, there are no more years to it. If they pick up the option then they must pay him the remaining two years at the contractual amount. Memphis only owes Walker at most $9.3 million because they will not be picking up his option no matter how well he performs.

Heisley may have a 3-year plan, but I foresee it consisting of 3 more years of ineptitude, at the end of which we'll have to rebuild yet again. Meanwhile, Miller and Love will be playing playoff basketball with T-Wolves.
I am sorry you feal that way. Personally I think Heisley is building a strong base to return the team to contention in the the next three years. Where the team goes after that is anyone's guess. It will require some luck and a lot of smarts to reach the upper eschelon of teams in the NBA but if they fail to reach the pinnacle it won't be because Heisley failed to try.