Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Grizzlies Thoughts

Today is the day that Hakim Warrick and Lawrence Roberts truly become professional basketball players, as it is their first official day of practice. Welcome to the league, Rook. The Grizzlies are getting prepared for their trip to Los Angeles to play in the Summer Pro League; it gets underway on Friday out in Southern California. Looking over the Grizzlies roster, there are some interesting and familiar names: Duane Erwin (nice to see Red getting a little love), Winsome Frazier, Kennedy Winston, and Anthony Roberson. Of those, I am most intrigued by Roberson--he's got a nice array of skills and speed and could make someone's roster as a 12th guy down the line.

It's important to remember the free agents on these rosters have virtually no shot of making the Grizzlies' regular season roster. The Grizzlies have far too many young players to worry about a summer league superstar--I hope that Erwin, Sean Banks (on New Orleans' roster), and the other guys can earn a shot, but it won't be with the Grizzlies. Remember DerMarr Johnson? He played well for the Grizzlies two summers ago, and has managed to parlay that into a nice NBA career with Denver.

Far more important for Mike Fratello and his staff will be the progress of the actual Grizzlies on the team. For those keeping score, that would be Hakim Warrick, Lawrence Roberts, Antonio Burks, Andre Emmett, Dahntay Jones, and Sergei Lishouk (!). Those guys will need to make steady progress, because many of them, especially Dahntay Jones, will be desperately needed if the Grizzlies are to succeed in '05-'06. I'm curious to see Lishouk, since I and many others did not know he actually, um, existed. Haven't heard from him in a while. Hope he's good.

As far as free agency and trades are concerned, the Grizzlies are still working behind the scenes. With the mutual agreement between Bonzi Wells and the Grizzlies to extend the deadline for picking up Bonzi's team option until July 22nd, the chances of trading Bonzi have gone up significantly. I'm just not sure that there's going to be a lot of takers for Bonzi at $8 million, even with an expiring contract. The word is out around the league in regards to Bonzi's petulance and immaturity when faced with PT issues, and that will hurt his trade value. Here's Tony Meija from CBS Sportsline:
Warning to any teams looking to pursue the talented but volatile Wells: If you're not planning on starting him, don't even bother looking his direction. Wells is one of those players who has to be a major part of a team in order to be content. His role with the Grizzlies, splitting time with James Posey and Dahntay Jones on the wing, didn't fit the bill, and his attitude became a big problem. There's no question he's a gifted offensive player who can make a difference in the right role.
I hope the Grizzlies can get something for him--Jamaal Magloire would be a nice pickup in a trade involving Bonzi (and something else--a draft pick or two, perhaps another player), but the Hornets would likely shy away from Bonzi's attitude given that they play in the city of iniquity.

Meanwhile, Lorenzen Wright's still not happy, and should be moved if possible. I know that's a tough pill to swallow, but, assuming the Grizzlies can make a good deal with another team, there's no reason to keep a guy around who clearly doesn't want to be here. It's just common sense. Jerry West doesn't react well to threats, that much I know, but he should react well to potential business opportunities. Losing Lorenzen for nothing after a 2005-06 season in which he sulks and is clearly unhappy is bad business.

Summer Pro League fever! Catch it! Actually, you probably won't.

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