After several weeks of stressful anticipation, the NBA trade deadline has come and gone. Yesterday, the Backdoor Cut Crew gave their initial thoughts and expectations the morning prior to the action and now it is time to give our thoughts after having a night to finally sleep and process the activity of the world’s best league.
SAM: I don’t think it’s a secret that the Rockets were offering 1-2 first rounders and an expiring (likely Brandon Knight) for the GTemp/JMyke combo. As such, it’s hard for me to get excited for an aging Avery Bradley about 4 years too late who, at this point in his career, can’t seem to hit the broad side of a barn (burner). He’s owed 12MM (not abysmal) and he’ll be an expiring this summer, so he can potentially be flipped for picks later. This move makes clear that Pera and co. still want to convey the Boston-owed pick this year — their stated goal at the outset of the season. The best way to do so? Win more than expected and finish 9th.
MASE: You wait too late to make a decision on what move you want to make and this is what happens. The Grizzlies turned two theoretically good assets, in two expiring contracts of solid role players, into 1 expiring contract for next season of a player who has actually been worse than Temple and Green. Worst trade of the day by far. It is actually impressive how bad this trade is.
ZAK: As the first move of the day for Memphis, I was pretty shocked. It became clear a few minutes later that this move was made primarily to free up a roster spot for the trio of guys that Memphis was about to add via the next trade. Finding a trade destination for JaMychal Green probably should have been done a few weeks ago, because the closer it got to trade deadline, the more it became clear that there was going to be a huge buyout market for teams to shop after the trade deadline — thus decreasing the value of guys like Green and certainly Temple. Slim and I have argued about this all season, but I feel like Green could be a great backup 4 on a good team and that he is someone that I would have preferred to at least acquire a second round pick for in a trade.
MASE: This trade nets Valanciunas who in all honesty, can easily be considered more effective than Marc Gasol on a nightly basis. JV is young and already a proven player on a good team and his rebound should benefit this team more than anything. JV has a player option following this season for $17 million and it will be interesting to see if he opts in or if the team is able to sign him longer term. Wright is right around the same age and is a combo guard that can do a little bit of everything, though he was made expendable due to the emergence of Fred Van Fleet. If Wright and Valanciunas become part of the Grizzlies beyond this year or if Memphis is able to turn JV into multiple assets heading into next season, this deal could prove to be good for GrizzNation. It is surprising that the Grizzlies couldn’t get at least another 2nd rounder for taking on Miles contract. Miles is a shooter that appears to be in the decline of his career, but will remain on the books for $8 million next season.
ZAK: At first I was pretty shocked at this trade because I was prepared for Gasol to be traded to Charlotte. Since that trade appeared very likely on Wednesday when he was a healthy scratch and was held out from the game against Minnesota. Sam breaks down that trade more below, and I’m still not convinced that I wouldn’t take that deal over this Toronto deal. To me, this trade seems to much like a win-now move that prolongs the obvious need for a rebuild. Memphis isn’t Miami or San Antonio. Those franchises are decidedly anti-tanking and that has worked out for them. Even teams like the Lakers have taken their lumps since the decline of Kobe. Now they are flush with young players who have the chance to make an impact, whether through actually playing in purple and gold, or by moving to New Orleans against their will.
Bonus: I think that moving Marc was the right decision. Despite the school of thought that he could serve as a mentor to Jaren, I wasn’t really seeing it transpire on the floor. In the two games against the Timberwolves and Thunder where Marc didn’t play, Jaren put up a total of 50 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists and hit 5 threes. Mike Conley hasn’t had his go to partner on the floor and has been forced to break out of his decade-long routine and include some new guys that he isn’t as familiar with. All are good things for the long term growth of the franchise and its young players.
SAM: Grizz fans will be disappointed to see the lack of first round picks in this deal (read: none), especially with the known Charlotte deal on the table (MKG, Bismack, & a first rounder [protection unknown]). The only player from this haul I see becoming a permanent member is Jonas, who has a player option on his 17MM/year deal this summer. The question arises: are we willing to pay an extremely efficient/productive (he has a 26.1 PER!!!) 26 year old center enough to keep him in Bluff City? I’d lean towards yes, a four-year deal keeps him through his prime and he can play next to Jaren or off the bench, grabbing boards, laying in bunnies/baby hooks, and playing solid defense.
ZAK: All I know about Tyler Dorsey is that he played at Oregon with Dillon Brooks. However, I am glad that we will not have to witness Shelvin Mack running the offense into the ground every time he steps out on the floor.
SAM: See ya, Captain Mack Sparrow:
MASE: Shelvin seemed like a good dude, but he dribbled too much and shot too much, especially in the 4th quarter. A lethal combination for someone with limited skills. Maybe Dorsey doesn’t suck?
MASE: If we were giving grades, I’d give the Grizzlies a C- for their work at the deadline. While I do consider this team after the deadline for the remainder of this season, I do not think the Grizzlies set themselves up to “build around Jaren Jackson Jr,” which was the organization’s stated goal just 2 weeks ago. Of course, the owner expected to win 50 games at the start of the season, so goals are hard to reach at 191 Beale Street these days. Until Robert Pera hires a legitimate basketball mind and stops using the Grizzlies front office as a laboratory for testing management strategies, the Memphis Grizzlies will continue to remain in NBA mediocrity and we will be faced with a similar situation as the Pelicans with Jaren Jackson Jr playing the role as Anthony Davis in the future. If Pera is not embarrassed enough to own a franchise that has been a complete shitshow for the past 2-3 years, then there may never be anything that leads him to actually fix the problems causing said shitshow.
SAM: After trading 7 players — four of which are rotation/expiring assets and one franchise center — somehow, miraculously, the youngest player we got in return is 26 and only has one year left on his deal and we remain -1 second round pick. I’m not sure there’s any reasonable way to feel pleased with that outcome, but again, it reiterates the win now goal. As Pera strokes a hairless cat from his ivory tower, I shout from the rooftops: “boy, I hope you know what you’re doing!”
ZAK: The Holiday trade still hurts me. Even though he has played better as of late, he is still a 10 point per 36 minute guy this season for Memphis – about what he was averaging for the Bulls. To trade away a pair of players and a pair of picks still stings. For me, the question becomes “now what?”. Let’s say Memphis conveys their first round pick to Boston, what is the plan for next season? Are we then going to commit to a rebuild around Jackson, or will we keep trading off future picks for veteran players who are the third option or worse on their current teams? I am still very afraid that we will be stuck in the land of finishing 20th in the league season after season, looking up and finding ourselves in an Anthony Davis/New Orleans situation.
Feature Image [NBA/Getty Images]