The Window on Beal Street

Sports are unfair sometimes. Sports do not care about feelings. Sports do not worry about who deserves a shot and who does not.

Sports are anxiety. Sports are sadness. Sports are happiness. Sports are joy. Sports are suffering. Sports are thriving.

Sports are teams’ fates drastically altering at the twist of an ankle or a snap of the wrist. Sports are teams with elite individual talent culminating into middle-of-the-pack results. Sports are teams in large markets like New York and Los Angeles having disproportionate advantages over teams in smaller and less-glamorous markets like Memphis.


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A team like the Grizzlies will never experience the luxury of banking on Anthony Davis or Kawhi Leonard to sign as free agents in any given summer. They will never be able to offer Hollywood or Broadway or a long history of celebrities cheering from the seats.

That is why the Grizzlies need to be aggressive. Their opportunities are never promised.

The Lakers can sit back and play tapes of Magic and Shaq and Kobe, knowing other players want to add to that legacy. They can bring in Jack Nicholson to help with the free agency pitch as they all count each of the sixteen championship banners.

Justin Timberlake and sweet tea are both marvelous, but they do not have the same effect.

The Grizzlies need to capitalize. In a season where the West seems so out of sync and they actually look like a team capable of making major noise in the playoffs, why not try and seal the deal?

Go make a trade.

There is a shooting guard playing in the nation’s capital who hates his point guard, whose team has been a dysfunctional mess for three years, and who can drop twenty-five to thirty points on any given night. Bradley Beal is a stud in this league who gets little respect from his organization and the national media.

He would make a tremendous fit with the Grizzlies. He is a knock down shooter, he plays solid defense, he is coach-able and he is tired of being in a situation where winning anything is not an option.

Some guys just need to relocate and start fresh. Memphis would be the perfect landing spot for Beal. He would help open up the offense and space the floor; two essential strategies in today’s NBA. The fans would welcome him with open arms and he still has a couple years remaining on his contract. The Washington Wizards know that they need to blow this thing up and restart whatever it is they are doing.

As far as who to give up for Beal, that is up for debate. Conley, Gasol, and JJJ are untouchables but for a star shooting guard who can take the team over the hump, everyone else needs to be made available.

The Grizzlies cannot sit here and wait for a star to fall in their laps. Ownership can offer all the Rendezvous they want, but it will never have the same effect as the purple and gold.

Sports do not care how unfair that might be. Sports do not care if the Grizzlies fans deserve this through all their years of consistent dedication and support to this franchise.

The small market teams will never have the advantage of luring in superstars or sitting back and waiting for them to come.

That is just how the sports world spins on its axis.

The Grizzlies can succumb to the notion of small market teams not getting the massive head start that the large market teams get every year.

Or they can seize the opportunity they have right now and jump right through that window, and who the hell knows how long that window will stay open?

Roll the dice. Take a gamble. Show the players and the fans that this is about winning now. Go defeat the odds. Do not be afraid if it messes up. Be aggressive.

Because sports do not care about your failures. They just care about your wins.

@mattburnham_


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Feature Image: [AP Photo/Steve Dykes]

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