Sunday, June 29, 2008

Spreading the Mayo Coverage Thick

The Memphis fanbase is still buzzing from the Love/Miller for Mayo trade. And rightfully so. There has been lots of coverage of the trade here on Shades of Blue (where do we go from here, griz draft aftermath, highlights from the press conference, mayo the star or solar flare, initial take). And many other places, like....

The Nation of Grizzlam with some entertaining opinions on the trade, Chris Herrington with the most well-written and informative posts about the trade (kudos to Chris for being the primary source of information during the hectic post-draft hours), from the Commercial Appeal who has had superb coverage of the trade from all angles, John Hollinger on ESPN rang in to dis Memphis, AOL Fanhouse (thanks TZ) has given the trade alot of space, and just about every major NBA related internet site has given their take on the biggest trade of this years draft.

So, I'm here to make sure that the Mayo coverage is spread even thicker. I'll attack this in my usual, bulleted/list style.

No Need to Worry About Losing Mayo to a Big Market Anytime Soon

I know alot of people think geting Mayo, who seems like someone that wants to be in the national spotlight, is a waste because he will just bolt to a bigger market the first chance he gets. Well, I'm here to tell you that it will likely be 7-9 years before he gets that chance. Luckily the new CBA highly favors teams being able to keep their draft picks.

We have him in on his rookie contract for 4 to 5 years. The 5th year can be voided if he signs an early extension with us. And that extension has to be for at least 3 years. That will make his time in Memphis last 7 years total before he is an Unrestricted Free Agent. This is what LeBron and Dwade did. That gives us 7 years to get this team to be a stable contender. And even then, we will have the advantage when it comes to re-signing him, being able to offer more years, more money, higher increase in salary each year, and will not have to worry about salary cap restrictions.

There is the chance that Mayo would decline to sign an early extension with us, in which case he can become a Restricted Free Agent in year 5. But then we would be able to match any offer sheet he is signed too.

(this paragraph has been edited, I think I had some stuff wrong initially, sorry) The one doomsday scenario is that he can refuse to sign with anyone, and merely accept the qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent after 5 years. I hope this doesn't happen and can't remember it happening for anyone of much significance, Michael Olowokandi with the Clippers is the only example I know of. I doubt this happens. I also over-heard a conversation by people that know more than me about us trading for David Lee and what would happen if he refused to re-sign with during restricted free agency. There was something about a 6 month waiting period he would have to sit out, but now I can't find anything in Larry Coon's FAQ to back that up. Oh well. Bottomline, is that I expect if Mayo wants to change teams, he will do it LeBron and Dwade style, and do it 7 years from now, 4 years on a rookie contract and 3 years at Max or near Max money.

I Was Wrong to Be So Pessimistic

I told you guys, and told the messageboard, that I was not optimistic about this offseason. I thought we would make safe and unspectacular picks at 5 and 28. We would not spend any free agent money. And we would continue down the same path that won us a combined 44 wins the last 2 years.

I was wrong.

Heisley and Wallace took the chance. They went big as Noah would say. They did what was needed to be done to interject some life into this franchise. I applaud them for it. I give them a standing ovation for it. Wallace and Heisley made Draftmas the best Draftmas ever. Seriously, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Iavaroni Against the Trade?

The Commercial Appeal said that Iavaroni was against this trade. And that makes sense, his job is on the line in the short term and any trade that is thinking 3 years down the road is not good for his dinner table or 401K. But he will have to get use to it. Iavaroni's poor personnel decisions last year gave us the great Casey Jacobsen. Ivy needs to focus on how we defend the pick and roll and let Wallace do the player evaluation.

The Most Basic Reason Trading Love for Mayo Was the Correct Decision

Last year, when we had Pau, we sucked. No other way to put it. Wallace and Heisley saw it and knew we had to destroy this team and start over.

If our offseaon consisted of drafting Love to replace Pau, we would still suck. A starting lineup of Conley, Miller, Gay, Love and Darko is no different than it was with Pau. Probably worse, actually. We would still need to upgrade Miller or Darko in that scenario, and that would probably be difficult to do. Trading borderline starters and bench players usually doesn't net anyone quality starters. Particularly young, promising quality starters.

Trading for Mayo was the best option in the draft considering the bounty Riley wanted for Beasley.

Play Mayo at PG!!! Trade Conley!

By my count, we now have 5 guys that can play PG on our team. We have 2 guys only capable of playing point (Conley and Lowry). We have 3 combo guards (Mayo, Javaris, and Jaric). All those jokes about our 8 gazillion point guards just got even more appropriate.

What do we do now? Wallace said on ESPN national radio on Friday that he knows something will need to be done before the season to balance out our roster. Wallace has also said before the draft that he thinks Mayo can play both guard positions, but that he would be most effective and spend most time at point. Mayo has also said he envisions himself as a point guard in the NBA.

I think we need to play Mayo as the starting Point Guard. Period. I'm tired of midget ball (remember the lineups of Lowry, Navarro and Javaris?). I think Mayo will need the ball in his hands to be effective and Conley isn't effective playing off the ball (last year, I was told many times that if Conley was allowed to dominate the ball more and run more pick/rolls, he would look better....time to repeat that argument again). Playing Mayo as the starting PG is the best decision for this team to make.

And that means finding a trade for Conley. There has been a bunch of rumors floating around. On draft night, allegedly Memphis and Portland talked trade. I love this idea, because I am really high on Travis Outlaw. I think a Conley for Outlaw/Webster (or Outlaw/Frye) deal could be a win-win for both franchises. Two other teams I think could make good trade partners with regarding Conley are Phoenix (for Barbosa) and Detroit (for Prince).

Most of the Griz fanbase is saying to trade Lowry and Hak to balance out the roster. But, in my humble opinion, those two players are likely to net us a backup guard and backup forward, which is exactly what they are currently. Conley has the most trade value. Mayo will be most effective (IMO) at PG. Thus my conclusion is to trade Conley.

Sam Amico Should Have His Credentials Stripped

Traditionally, blogs have been a perfect place to rip on national writers. I want to do that here. And my target is Sam Amico of probasketballnews with his post-draft notes found here.

He starts by saying:

Memphis’ starting lineup will now look something like this: C Kwame Brown; PF Antoine Walker; SF Rudy Gay; SG Mayo; PG Mike Conley. Off the bench will be Darko Milicic, Hakim Warrick, Kyle Lowry, Marko Jaric, and new addition Marc Gasol. And there's no telling how good Gasol might be.

Seriously? How can you be given any credence for someone covering the NBA when you think the Memphis starting lineup now includes Kwame Brown (he is a unrestricted free agent, idiot, and didn't even start over Darko last year or even play last year for that matter) and Antoine Walker (who is already being talked about as a buyout candidate). No mention of Javaris Crittenton or Darrel Arthur either. He also discussed the new Timberwolves rotation and completely left off Corey Brewer.


Shawn said...

Zack I just can't disagree more about trading Conley. I know he is not one of your favs. But right now we have three guys with the physical tools to be top caliber players. Conley, Mayo, and Gay.

Conley may have the most trade value of the rest of the pgs on the roster, but you will not get value from what was a 4th overall pick. If we trade Conely we take giant step back. It wastes last years pick.

You've mentioned Outlaw, Prince and Barbosa. None of those match the time table, position and talent level we need. I cant imagine getting a guy back that would be more than a rotational player in a championship team.

Conley has that ability. He may not make it. If by next year we are get another top 5 pick (as I hope we do) then we can revisit the idea of a Conley trade. We will know better what Conley projects to be. We can then use him in a package that could allow us to trade up and get a cornerpiece of a championship team (if Conley has shown by then that he is not said cornerpiece), and by doing so will can make a move that will not waste a 4th overall pick.

Keep Conley and take Conley, Mayo, and Gay our for a spin. We will get a chance to see both Mayo and Conley run the point at some point and we will get a chance to see mayo at the 2 in the nba.

I think fans need to calm down on 2 things and realize- we are working on a three year plan. Dont waste the cap this year and dont rush to make any more big trades.

We are building and developing talent. The goal this year is not to win or get in the playoffs. It is to prepare ourselves and develop for the future.

So please... dont get so locked in on trading Conley. I am not saying we wont, in the end, do just that. But now is not the time.

Please- have patience.

tommyh said...

This is how I look at it. O.J. Mayo has a chance to be a Dwyane Wade type of player. What has Miami been looking for ever since they got Wade? They have been looking for a great point guard. We have Mike Conley, who has a chance to be a great point guard.

We need to keep Conley, who could be the second coming of Tony Parker. Mayo can definately play the two guard position. A backcourt of Mike Conley, Mayo, and Rudy Gay is absolutely scary and could be the best backcourt in the league for the next 10 years.

What we should do is trade Kyle Lowry for a big man with promise like DeAndre Jordan or Brandon Wright (if the Warriors are willing to part with him for that price). Then we could trade Hak for CDR or Joey Dorsey to give the Griz a hometown hero and sell even more tickets. I would love to go down to a Grizzlies game to watch Mike Conley, O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay, Darrell Arthur, CDR/Joey Dorsey, DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol, and Javaris Crittenton. Who wouldn't?

Shawn said...

I would be cool for any of those moves, because it would help balance the team while maintaing talent and cap space.

Boyer said...

anyway to trade conley and walker together? so as to net us a great compliment to mayo at the 2? like a barbosa???

Shawn said...

barbosa is a 26 yr old shooting guard.

when conley, gay and oj are in their prime Barbosa will be in his 30's.

Is that what we want?

Boyer said...

"like a barbosa" i am just trying to say if we have this expiring deal of walker's why not try and package it to get a player with a higher salary? someone who can play the two. thats all i am saying.
an idea. suggestion.

Shawn said...

Yeah, thats cool. Except that we are better served letting that contract expire and then going after an FA when we are going to be competitive. To add that final piece. Anyone we get with a bigger salary will probably not match our proposed timeline.

Anonymous said...

Man what we should do is go after Chris Bosh in 2010. He would be the final piece in every way. I don't know if he would ever come here, but how sweet would that be. Conley, Mayo, Gay, Bosh, Gasol/another center we draft. That's the big four right there. I'm totally just dreaming, though. Heisley would never spend that kind of money to get Bosh.

SeanBS said...

Has anyone mentioned how the banned Heinz commercial perfectly captures the future of the Grizzlies?

That's some Gay Mayo, right?

zack said...

I understand guys...

I'm in the littlest of minorities on wanting to trade Conley and move Mayo to PG...

I fully respect and understand the popular opinion that Conley-Mayo-Gay make up one hell of a frontcourt of the future.

If it works out, I'm all for it.

But someone has to give the opposite argument, even if it isn't the popular one. I think everyone wanting to trade Lowry and Hak are going to be disapointed in the bounty (or lack thereof) that they bring.

Someone above mentioned Wade and how he needs a PG...I look at it differently and say with Mayo at PG, think Billups or Baron Davis instead of having Mayo at SG and thinking Wade.

And another way to put it would be that Lowry's production on the court relative to his trade value is greater than Conley's production on the court relative to his trade value.

Either way, I'm fine, because I like the way the organization is heading by trading Miller/Love for Mayo.

Between the Shane for Rudy and this trade, the Grizzlies are set up for the future nicely.

Now we just have that PF/C problem to deal with...

zack said...

edit above...

I said frontcourt and meant backcourt....

Anonymous said...

Well I mean we almost traded Javaris Crittenton for the 18th pick, but the Wizards really wanted that McGee kid from Nevada. I mean if we could get that kind of value for Javaris, why not just trade him away?

zack said...

i'm glad that trade fell thru...

i'm not sold on Courtney Lee...

Shawn said...


I do totally understand where you are comming from. But I think Conley's trade value is likely to increase over the course of the season. On that we may just simply disagre. I definitely dont think its going to decrease.

I also think that if we waiting until the end of the season will maximize what we can get for Conley if we decide to trade him.

For example, in world of hypotheticals I would much rather trade conley to go up in the draft to get a guy like say giffith, than to trade him for a player like Outlaw.

I have now idea if that will be possible or wanted- the point being I dont see us trading Conley now to create a trio to go with Gay and Mayo. I could see us package him next offseason during the draft to get that third piece.

So my point is even if the GMC becomes Achey break heart- we will still be able to utilize that 4th overall pick to its maximum.

On that, I think we are not too far apart, because even though I am not sold on Mayo playing point- like Gay at SG, i do think that is where he could be most effective.

But I just dont want to get trigger happy and trade conley either unnecessarily or just too soon.

but i do appreciate you representing the opposing side to the current hype ;-)

zack said...

i agree, getting too trigger happy probably isn't good and also agree that conley's trade value is likely to increase this year (unless he again gets out played by Lowry...hehe).

but dangit, I have to be reasoned and analytical in my "real" work, being emotional and over-reacting in watching and fantasizing about the Griz is a nice change.

and you touched on an interesting subject I discussed with many Griz fans on draft night.....playing Rudy at SG.

everyone agrees, right now he is best suited for SF (not SG or PF).

but I think in time, if he can develop the correct skills, he could be more effective at SG. Particularly dribbling and his first step on defense.

Shawn said...

I agree about Rudy and I think Mayo will be similar at pg. I think coming out of the gate he will be best suited for sg, but down the road if we want him to truly dominate then his best position is probably pg. Which makes things interesting with Conley.

I have a feeling that Conley is going to have to have an outstanding year to stay on this team. He is going to have to be the glue to GMC. If he is the weak link, then I fully expect him to be traded next year for a player that is a better fit with Gay and Mayo. (That may be a reason coach I was against the trade. There is very little doubt that conley was his boy)

And I say that as a conley supporter.

P.S. I totally relate to the analytical vs emotional dilema- sorry to reel you in. Now that i have made my point- please continue without interference...

PMI said...

Thanks for the shout out to 'The Nation' Zack.

Love reading your stuff guy.