Wednesday, June 25, 2008

To Trade or Not To Trade...That is the Question

Whether tis nobler in the mind
to suffer The slings and arrows
of outrageous records,
Or to take arms
against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing - end them?

Hamlet, Act III

Okay, William Shakespeare never wrote that exactly but the feeling expressed in Hamlet's soliloquy does have some relevance to today's Memphis Grizzlies. Almost no one believes that with the #5 and #28 picks the team can change the struggles that have beset this franchise since their last winning season. Is a trade up or down in the draft going to help shuffle things enough to change the outlook, if not the actual record, of the team?

What about the players currently on the team? Are they to be immune from the exorcism of the devils haunting the franchise? Are they the sole reason for the team's unbearable current state? They are the most convenient scapegoats but who should take the fall for the current state of the franchise? Did the current roster have anything to do with the carousel of coaches (Lowe, Brown, Fratello and Iavaroni not to mention Hollins and Barone) over the last 6+ seasons? Should the players shoulder the blame for the rather bizarre behavior and decisions of Jerry West? Not that this matters now because it appears something must be done beyond adding two or three more rookies (#5, #28 and Marc Gasol) to the mix. Trading is the most obvious remedy.

Devoutly to be wish'd. To lose, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep what dreams of trades may come

Hamlet, Act I

More paraphrasing but indeed what dreams may come from a draft day trade?

Memphis has declared they are going to rebuild with youth. Michael Heisley said the team wants to build around their core of Conley, Lowry, Crittenton, Gay and Warrick (upon further prodding he also said that Darko is in that mix). Heisley also said that this doesn't mean that these players are going to stay with the Grizzlies. They could be used as pieces in a deal to bring in someone else that furthers the growth of the team. This seems logical since three of those players are considered point guards. So Memphis will use these players as their building blocks but those blocks may not be in the final design of the team. Trading seems to be the simplest way to build with these players but not have all of them be a part of the future.

Mike Conley and Kyle Lowry are reported to be attending the Grizzlies Draft Party on Thursday night. It would appear that the team is committed to keeping that duo together until one separates himself from the other. The problem is that those two players appear to be the most desirable pieces in a trade. There is a fine line here between clearly establishing one player as the starter and diminsihing the value of the other. If the team is committed to one player then trading the other before his value drops makes sense. I just have a hard time seeing the Grizzlies inviting both players to the draft party only to trade one of them that night. Surely the Grizzlies wouldn't make such a faux pas as to invite a player to the draft party only to trade him during the event. The Grizzlies can't be that thoughtless of a young man's feelings. Can they?

So does that make Javaris Crittenton the odd man out? Could the player that the Grizzlies wanted from the Lakers be gone fewer than 6 months later? It seems unlikely that the team would give up on the 19 yr old (he won't turn 20 until December 31st) that quickly. Of course, it seemed inconceivable that the Grizzlies would give up on the Conley-Gasol pairing after only 15 starts together too. Yet that is exactly what the team did on Jan 29th. So is anyone safe with this franchise?

Mike Miller just made a major contribution to St. Judes Children's Hospital. Doesn't that gesture imply that he is going to remain in the city for at least a little longer despite Heisley not mentioning him as a player that the team is going to build around? Maybe, Maybe not. No Grizzlies player has been rumored to be on the block more than Mike Miller. Of course, without a viable alternative to replace Mike Miller in the starting lineup after Juan Carlos Navarro signed with FC Barcelona it would be a long shot to suppose Miller is traded on draft night. Then again the opportunity to draft a Eric Gordon or Danillo Gallinari may make such a trade more plausible. Miller's salary is a tad expensive for what he brings to the court but doesn't the team need someone who can bring veteran leadership to the team?

Alas! poor Warrick. I knew him
a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!

Hamlet, Act V

Now I don't abhor the time Hakim has spent in Memphis but at 26 Warrick is on the cusp of youth on a rebuilding team. His trade value would seem high (and that appears to be the only reason the Grizzlies drafted him anyway). The Grizzlies have brought in twice as many big men as guards for workouts this summer. That is a message that can't be ignored.

What could Hakim, the dreaded tweener, bring on the open market? Draft picks involve a high risk already. Would a proven veteran capable of scoring in double figures on any night be enough or too much to move up a few spots in the lottery? Wouldn't someone like Hakim be worth a mid to late lottery pick by himself? Remember that Chicago swapped picks #2 and 4 with Portland and only received Victor Kryapa in exchange just two years ago. Could Hakim and the 28th pick move the Grizzlies into the lottery?

One thing is known. Memphis is looking to create some excitement around this draft. They want to be players and create a buzz. This should be a very exciting draft to watch for the Memphis Grizzlies and their fans. Trades involve uncertainty and risk but they also could be the type of activity that gets people excited about future prospects.

Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
players to this world: now could I drink hot blood,
And do such business, as the day
Would quake to look on.

Hamlet, Act III

BallHype: hype it up!


Shawn said...

I amd a little surprised or disappointed that we haven't heard a peep about trading Warrick.

Joshua Coleman said...

Which means that he is probably the most likely player to actually be traded this offseason. ;^)

Chip Crain said...

I don't think the team really discusses trades for Warrick until things are ironed out on what they are doing at #5.

I agree with Joshua however that not hearing him mentioned in the press doesn't mean he isn't being talked about with other GM's. It just may mean that no one else is interested in acquiring Hakim.

zack said...

Well, we did draft Hak with the sole purpose of trying to trade him...3 years ago!!!!

Of course, Jerry West was too busy throwing a temper tantrum to give any input on the brillian decision to not only bypass drafting best-available or for-team-need and draft for i-think-someone-will-try-to-trade-for-him.

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