Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rumors Cooking . . .

Ron Tillery is blogging over at the Memphis Edge about potential moves for our boys in blue. Most of it involves one or both of the following:

• Trading Mike Conley to Portland for Travis Outlaw and spare parts (Tillery says it's a bad idea, and I agree):

If that’s the case, the Griz would need more than Outlaw in return. But I don’t believe trading Conley is a wise move. Trading Conley would put the Griz back at square one, again searching for a dynamic point guard to compensate for the loss of the GOOD Jason Williams.

And why would Griz give up on a smart, physically gifted point guard so quickly? So that Mayo can handle the ball? Take away Conley’s quirky injuries and remember he’s just 20 years old, and the Griz would be wise to keep him. My guess is that they will given Conley was a deal breaker in attempts to get the right to draft Michael Beasley.

• Trading Darko Milicic to New York for Zach Randolph (also a bad idea, if you ask me):

The Griz are willing to part with Darko Milicic (last year’s big free agent signing) in a package that wouldn’t require a core player (OJ Mayo, Rudy Gay, Mike Conley, etc). What the brain trust seems to be debating is whether Randolph fits the Grizzlies’ style on and off the court.

Randolph is a bonafide low-post scorer who can shoot along the perimeter and rebound. But he doesn’t offer much on defense, something the Griz desperately want to upgrade and Randolph’s character issues may present a problem.

As I've said elsewhere, I want to see what we have first, before we start making moves. Frankly, I think some of these rumors are just based on folks thinking that Chris Wallace is a sucker after the Gasol trade. I still think that trade is going to bear great fruit for us, and given the way Pau (under)performed in the NBA Finals, some of the sting of that trade has already worn off.

Z-Bo is a bonafide 20-10 bull in the post, but I think we should stay away for another reason than Tillery covers above: His contract is identical to Pau's. I remember this because at one point, I advocated trading Pau for Zach. But given where the team is going, and more importantly, their desire to maintain flexibility for next offseason, I don't see them tying up salary in Z-Bo, because I don't think he's that "difference-maker" that the Front Office wants. Not saying he's not a good player; I just don't see him as the difference maker.

Three other points:

1. As for trading Darko, I know I'm alone on this, but I'm not ready to give up on him yet. I think the main problem is that his past coaches haven't used his strengths as they should. His game has looked weak as a back-to-the-basket center. I still think that the kid can shoot, and has shown an ability to take other centers off the dribble. If they used him as more a Mehmet Okur-type center -- pull opposing centers out of the lane for Conley, Mayo and Gay to drive and score, or drive and dish to Darko for a three -- it would pay HUGE dividends. I'm sure somebody here will take me to task on the Serbian Gangster, however . . .

2. I still want to see what Antoine Walker has left. Consider it a contract year, he still has an NBA championship, and I think the PT is there for him at PF, which is to say that I think he has a decent shot at beating out Hak and Arthur with his play and veteran savvy. The big question is whether or not he's motivated. I'm betting it is, because I can't see him retiring at 31-32, and he'll want to sign with/be traded to a contender later. But this is a great opportunity for him to regain cred as a team player and veteran leader.

3. Ehadadi. Short and sweet: Sign him to a reasonably priced, short contract, see what he can do. If he can snatch boards, defend a little, score on putbacks and finish on drive and dishes from Conley and Mayo, I don't see a downside.

Trades? Unless it's a clear upgrade, I say we stand pat. As I've said elsewhere on this blog, the team needs stability more than anything right now. But that's just me. What do you think?

Post comments below . . .


Little Rock said...

No way would I trade for Zach Randolph. Too pricey; too much baggage. We have a solid young core. Let's not deviate from that mold.

I love Travis Outlaw. He really blossmed last year and would help us win some games. However, I would not give Mike Conley to get him. Point guards with Conley's instincts and physical attributes are hard to come by. If we can swing another deal, without breaking up our core, go for it.

Rob Mahoney said...

You've nailed in terms of establishing what Memphis already has. I don't see a reason to give up on Conley or Darko just yet, especially considering Conley's injuries (and unmistakable talent) and the opportunity to possibly see a softer Darko with a developing mid-range game play alongside Marc. Between Conley, O.J., Rudy, and the Euro-center wonder twins of Darko and Gasol, there's a lot to be pleased with, and a lot that still needs to be appraised through gametime.

Anonymous said...

What are the long term plans on Warrick? As a Cavs fan, I'm intrigued by his skill set - and if you're looking to bolster the front court with a Randolph type, would that mean Warrick isn't in the plans?

Timothy said...

I agree with everything except the Walker part. I think he is done and I dont know if I really want him on the team at all. I could see him being a locker room problem more than a savvy veteran leader. It would be nice to see him show up and contribute but I really dont see that happening.

Henry Talbot said...

i think thats an interesting outlook on what we could do with darko. i haven't had the opportunity as some here have of attending practices and the like, but can he shoot the long ball? if so, why not try it because i think we're all pretty sick of that lefty half-hook, half-whatever move that he uses every time he touches it.