Grizzlies did what?
The Memphis Grizzlies decided to end the NBA trade season with a bang since no one else was. After acquiring Chris Andersen and P.J. Hairston on Tuesday, Memphis came back swinging a few minutes before the trade deadline by acquiring Lance Stephenson from the L.A. Clippers.
Shortly before the All-Star break, the Grizzlies learned that Marc Gasol was lost for the year with a broken foot. With that news, the Grizzlies were in the unique position of going all-in for a playoff run without Marc this year, or making moves to position themselves to be a better, more complete team next year. That’s a tough decision to make while clinging to the 5th seed in the Western Conference, with 29 games still to play.
The acquisition of Andersen somewhat made sense, kind of. The Grizzlies had obviously been lacking size outside of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Now that Gasol is down, that really leaves you with Randolph and a couple of other guys that don’t play. Andersen has only played in seven games this year with the Heat while trying to overcome a knee injury. If healthy, the Birdman is exactly the kind of player that fits the Grit N Grind style of the Grizzlies. The problem is Andersen is now 37 years old, and a handful of games played may be more realistic until he hangs it up.
Andersen has been cleared to play as early as tomorrow night, when the Grizzlies resume play against the Minnesota Timberwolves. It is still unclear whether Andersen will remain on the Grizzlies roster for the rest of this season, or next. As of now, Memphis really needs the depth at the big man position.
It is also unclear what role P.J. Hairston will play. The 23-year-old has yet to find his way in the NBA. Hairston was getting right at 20 minutes a game in Charlotte and scoring 6 ppg. After shipping off Courtney Lee, and now, Jeff Green, Hairston will likely see the same production with the Grizzlies as he was with the Hornets.
I can see the strategy of dealing Courtney Lee. The Grizzlies were not likely to fork over the cash that was going to keep Courtney in Memphis, during the off-season, when he becomes a free agent. So you do acquire a couple of guys that can get your roster through this year, and add a couple of future second round draft picks. That’s a lot more than you would have got if Courtney walked in free agency this summer. Grizz fans hate to see Lee go, but most can understand the business decision made.
I see the decision to deal Jeff Green the same way. While Green had been playing really well over the last couple of months, he never blended well with the established chemistry of the Grizzlies since being traded from the Celtics last year. He too would have the option to walk after this season, and the Grizzlies could be left with nothing. So Memphis deals Green to the Clippers for Stephenson and a future first round pick. Most likely they will let Stephenson walk next year, instead of paying him the additional option year that would cost them $9M. So essentially they are getting a first round pick for a player they were most likely going to lose in the off-season.
Nothing wrong with the business decisions made here. The shock factor comes when you look at the Grizzlies roster now. They have taken Grit N Grind to a new level. They have taken nasty to a new level. This is most likely a makeshift roster for the rest of the year, and whomever emerges as an asset will stay. But this roster has given fans a reason to be re-energized over what is honestly a lost season after losing Gasol.
The new look, nasty boys of Memphis, now have Tony Allen, Zach Randolph, Matt Barnes, Chris Andersen, P.J. Hairston, and Lance Stephenson. If nothing else, the Grizzlies are the most intimidating team in the league. Definitely some guys you don’t want to tangle with in a Beale Street brawl.
The Green for Stephenson trade still has to be approved by the NBA. The new look Grizzlies take on the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday night at FedEx Forum.
Brandon Reid covers the NBA and Memphis Grizzlies for MyFantasySportsTalk.com, you can follow him on Twitter @New_Breid
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