Monday, July 28, 2008

Not Spending Might Cost Grizz in the Future


The 2008 NBA offseason has hit a quiet period for the Memphis Grizzlies. Now don't think GM Chris Wallace is resting on his draft night coup of getting O. J. Mayo and Darrell Arthur in Beale Street Blue. Apparently the Grizzlies are in talks with the Orlando Magic about sending backup point guard Javaris Crittenton to Disney World for J. J. Redick or Keith Bogans plus a 2009 1st round pick. However, this is the vacation period for NBA GMs, so do not expect any deals real soon. I won't speak on the merits of this deal at this time but I think Wallace needs to do something significant this offseason.


Why this season? I know there is a three year plan in place but being frugal this season could cost Wallace and the Grizzlies in the future. My reasoning is that without a major talent upgrade, especially in the frontcourt, the Grizzlies are going to be a non-competitive team for the third year in a row. This would mean that for the entirety of Rudy Gay's career, the Grizzlies will have been one of the three worst teams in the NBA each season. So next offseason in 2009 when it is time to start negotiating a contract extension, I think Rudy might be a little hesitant to commit long term to the Grizzlies organization. That is unless the Grizzlies want to offer him an inflated extension relative to his current value. I know most reading this are aware of the current NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and that even if the Grizzlies and Gay are not able to agree on an extension in 2009, the Grizzlies will hold the right of first refusal in 2010 and will be able to match any offer Gay gets as a restricted free agent. So what is the problem?


The problem is that 2010 is going to be a major offseason for free agency. There will be a lot of major market teams with lots of capspace in 2010 loading up for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. In fact a lot of GMs are getting some career longevity by clearing up caproom for 2010. By this time, if the plan is going right, Rudy Gay should have established himself as a reasonable alternative for an NBA GM when LeBron James decides not to sign with their team. This means that a NBA GM looking to save face for his 2010 plan might be willing to through a maximum contract offer at Rudy Gay. No problem right? The Grizzlies can match that and retain Rudy.


Well, the other inherent problem with Rudy Gay becoming a restricted free agent is that he gets a chance to see the other side. Despite what his other NBA friends tell him, all Rudy knows about the NBA is from the perspective as a Memphis Grizzlies player. Time for some reality: The Grizzlies are not the model NBA franchise. The last thing the Grizzlies want is to let Rudy Gay (and his agent), to get a taste of the possibilities of playing in New York or Chicago especially if we are coming off of four straight lottery appearances in 2010. Restricted free agency is one thing but do you think Heisley wants to invest a MAX contract into another player that voices a reluctance to want to be a Grizzlies player? Unlike other places, there will be no media backlash if Rudy and his agent demand that the Grizzlies work out a sign and trade or not match his offer sheet. It would be reasonable and expected by the national media.


This is the problem with going with a plan that has being a bad team as the focus. The Grizzlies risk alienating the very young players they plan to build around. I imagine that it has to be and will be very frustrating to be a part of so much losing. For the fans and the Grizzlies to expect this not to take a toll on their young players is unreasonable. Not only will it weigh on them but it enhances the perception that the Grizzlies are the Mid South Clippers. If the Grizzlies are serious about this three year plan, they need to put a more solid foundation down at the beginning or anything they build in the future will be unsteady.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, instead of being philosophic, what should we do, who should we sign? Honestly, that sounds like an Obama speech. Point out a problem, but forget to mention that if you do what your insinuating, it will completely screw your franchise over and ruin any chance you have of keeping Gay & Mayo.

The only good FA's available are RFA's and their teams will match.

X, you should understand this by now.

Acehigh718 said...

Contrary to the above anonymous post, I find this to be spot on, X. I said something to this effect in response to a blog post by Chip, "Do the Grizzlies Have Big Problems", earlier. By focusing so hard on this "3 year plan" crap, Grizzlies brass is completely blind to the present form of the team. They're still not on paper anything more than a 20-some-odd team. Our current players are not going to want to stay in Memphis with the franchise in its current state, especially if they plan to keep it this way for the next 3 years.

robbz18 said...

I see your point, although (speaking only of the current FA picture), isn't this a bit late? I mean, most of the impact players are gone by now, so what can the Grizz still do? The one player who could be worth trading for is J-Smoove, although I dont know how useful he can be.

GrizzledGrizzFan said...

Best (IMO) piece you've posted to date X. Spot on observation.

Looks like anonymous is going to be waiting with Wallace for Godot...

MemphisX said...

I never mentioned signing a free agent. I just expect a major move from Wallace.

Anonymous said...

Good points, X. Harsh, but good.

I agree. Biggie should indeed make a significant move for the frontcourt. I think we need veterans (preferably with championship pedigree) to help instill a winning culture, so that we don't sour our young guys.

That said, I also am more optimistic about next season. Of course, I'm always optimistic, but here's my reasoning: SO many players have already moved this offseason, that you can't even compare it to last season. And I do believe that attrition is about to set in for some of the league powers. Denver's taking a step back. The Clippers add Davis, subtract Brand, and I'd say that's a step back. Ron Artest is going to be a headache in Sacramento. Who knows what to make of Golden State now. Meanwhile, Dallas and Phoenix get new coaches, so what does that mean?

I'm not saying that we'll be contending for the playoffs, but I do believe that we have a legit shot at being this year's Portland, especially if Kevin O'Neill gets our guys to play defense.

So I think we can post more wins and show the progress needed to persuade key guys to stay. But I'd still like to see a move for a player this summer.

Anonymous said...

By the way, The above Anonymous post is L3E, not the other anonymous who disses an Obama speech.

L3E

Jesse said...

No Memphis is being a very very smart team about this. Look the already have a young core with Conley, Mayo, and Gay runnin up and down the court and they have 2 decent low post prospects in Gasol and Darrell Arthur. By not adding a high price player they are helping their team in two ways-1. Instead of paying maybe a little to much for a talent that will only get them maybe 10 more wins next year and maybe getting them out of the lottery,they are staying put and their record will again get them a good prospect next year. 2. They are saving that money for the Summers of Sale in 2009 and 2010 when there will be many players that are much more worth the high dollar like LBJ, D-wade, Stoudemire, Bosh, T-Mac, Dirk, and Boozer. Can you imagine that squad with Amare or a Bosh type. Plus with that much cap room they could sign one of those stars plus another lower type star. Them and the Blazers are going to be set in about 3 years.

Anonymous said...

You seem to be insinuating that signing Rudy Gay to a max contract would be OK... that doesn't seem OK to me.

I wouldn't call trading for Mayo a "coup" either when a game hasn't been played yet and he is coming off a poor year of college and a poor summer league.

KG said...

What about Emeka Okafor?? Restricted or not, this national championship winning Uconn graduate rebounds, blocks shots, and was injury free last year. They should be willing to pay a little more than the 10 million/yr offer that Charlotte is giving them. Not to mention, if the Charlotte organization is hemorrhaging cash, the window of opportunity is open for Memphis!

Anonymous said...

Just the same as dude above says to slow your roll on the Mayo signing, I'm saying to slow the roll on assuming we're going to have a sub-30-win team this season. Fact is, we really don't know how this will turn out. Nobody expected what we got from Portland or New Orleans, so why can't we catch lightning in a bottle for a change?

As for spending, in the NBA's changing economy, it's VERY important to make smart signings with an eye towards flexibility . . . so you don't have PHX giving away their best Tim Duncan defender in Kurt Thomas, only to have him help the Spurs put the Suns out of the playoffs again. Denver gave Camby away for cap reasons. I just think it's an all around smart strategy to stay flexible capwise.

I'm for making an offer for Okafor, but nothing obscene. Take a flyer on him for OUR price, not his. If Charlotte matches, we still have our space for next year. I'd try this with a couple of different teams and RFAs. In fact, make 'em spend their money so they won't be competing with us next summer.

L3E

MemphisX said...

Portland and New Orleans did overachieve last season but our team is set up to be a sub 30 win team as is.

I think we will be the worst team in the West easily. I still say that right now without frontcourt help...15-20 wins.

grizguru said...

No way they finish sub 30. I wasn't at all surprised last year they were so bad when all they did was to sign Pau lite players. But this year I think they will be a lot more aggressive and win 10 more games at least. The problem they have is how will Walker play?
If he doesn't try at all then that could be a major headache. Darko should really be a sub instead of a starter so Im not so sure of Marc Gasol playing major minutes. In all the videos of this guy he seems like he can only make a 2 ft basket and looks like he can just barely dunk. But they have him and Darko signed for the next two years at least. I bet they would love to make a run at Deng but he plays the 3 so unless you move Rudy to the 2 and put Mayo at the 1 there isn't anyplace to put him.

Jesse said...

Whoa Memphisx the hornets did not overachieve. You will see that this year when they are in the top 3 seeds in the West , posibbly the number 1 seed, and probably make it to the Finals. Do not be mistaken they are for real.

MemphisX said...

I guess overachieve was the wrong term for the Hornets. They exceeded expectations.

Anonymous said...

I understand where you're coming from here and I agree that being aggressive to keep Rudy and the fans happy is the way to go. If we were not going to use the cap room to sign guys, we should at least make teams overpay to keep their guys.(like Houston, our division rival, with Carl Landry, Atlanta with JSmoove, Philly with Iggy, or even Denver with J.R. Smith). None of these guys would really hurt the roster if the teams made us keep them (obv. Iggy being the least compatible).

However, it seems to me its better to be way under the cap, developing young players, and collecting assets than to be like the Knicks, Mavs, Kings, Bucks, Pacers, etc. who are cap-strapped and not contending. Remember we are in by far and away the toughest division in the toughest conference in the NBA. It's gonna take way more than signing any of the available guys to get us up with the Spurs, Hornets, Rockets (when healthy) or even the Mavs.

Akram said...

Send darko and JCritt to Cleveland for Varejao and Pavlovic. They both solve problems on our team. Experience down low, and 3pt shooting and defense off the bench. And they are both on 2 year deals that are relatively cheap. If Danny Ferry is unhappy with them as Cavs fans make it out to be, then it can probably get done.

MemphisX said...

akram,

I am a big fan of Varejao. I would not mind us signing him in 2009 if we could not trade for him. Hopefully, one more year in Cleveland does not screw up his game.