Friday, February 25, 2005

Did You Really Expect a Trade?

The trade deadline is now past us, and the Memphis Grizzlies have the exact same roster in place. This should not be a surprise to you. What exactly were the Grizzlies supposed to do, given the injury problems they've got right now?

Two things: first of all, prior to the injuries, the Grizzlies had developed a real chemistry and a real rhythm under Mike Fratello. They're a tough team to beat when everything is working. The tremendous January run led most people to believe that this team was just fine, and that no changes would be necessary. Of course, injuries change things. Losing Pau Gasol was bad enough, but losing Pau, Stromile Swift, and James Posey? No team can overcome the loss of three big threats.

Secondly, most people wanted the Grizzlies to acquire a high-profile player, preferably a big one. Fine. I wanted that too. If that was the priority, though, that should have been done in the summer. Bonzi Wells' contract will be up at the end of this season unless the team accepts an $8 million option; Stromile Swift cannot be moved because he signed a one year tender. Those two could have been moved in July or August. Now, the Grizzlies stand a very good chance of losing both players and getting nothing in return. That's bad business. I firmly believe Eddy Curry (or someone of his ilk) was available in a deal for the right price in the summer, but the Grizzlies did not pull the trigger.

At the trade deadline, the Grizzlies had to stand still. They have no depth to trade away right now. Sometimes timing is a rotten thing. But take heart--at least Isiah Thomas isn't the Grizzlies GM.

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