In what can only be described as a Christmas surprise, Greivis Vasquez was traded on Christmas Eve for Small Forward Quincy Pondexter.
The trade has not been confirmed with the Grizzlies front office but a New Orleans website, NOLA.com, has run the story.
Pondexter was an All-American at the University of Washington where he is the career leader in games played (136) and 3rd all-time in scoring. He was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder (26th) in the 2010 NBA draft. OKC traded him to New Orleans along with Craig Brackens for the draft rights to Cole Aldrich and veteran Morris Peterson. Pondexter struggled to find playing time last season and was expected to not get much more this season with returning starter Trevor Ariza and newly acquired Al Farouq Aminu. In two games against the Grizzlies this pre-season Pondexter averaged 13.0 PPG anbd 8.5 RPG in 33 minutes per game.
Vasquez was expected to compete with Jeremy Pargo for back up minutes at the PG behind starter Mike Conley. Pargo had looked better in the pre-season and Vasquez was not expected to see significant time this season barring injury. With Josh Selby capable of playing PG as well Vasquez became expendable.
Vasquez will always be remembered in Memphis for his playoff performances last season. Coming off the bench in Game 6 of the San Antonio Spurs first round series last season after Mike Conley picked up two fouls in the first two minutes of the game, Vasquez immediately made an impact scoring on a runner in the lane. He finished the quarter with 10 points and that helped the Grizzlies hold onto the early lead. Vasquez also hit a Hail Mary three point shot at the end of the first overtime in Game 4 against Oklahoma City in the 2nd round after both Conley and O J Mayo had fouled out of the game.
Vasquez was a surprise first round pick by the Grizzlies in the 2010 NBA draft. Known as a fiery leader at the University of Maryland, Vasquez showed no fear in taking big shots but his lack of foot speed made it highly unlikely that he would ever be more than a backup with the Grizzlies.
In other news, Dante Cunningham officially became a member of the Memphis Grizzlies as Charlotte failed to match the offer sheet the Grizzlies presented to him. Brian Skinner and Josh Davis also have been named to the opening day roster but neither player has a guaranteed contract and could be released later without penalty by the Grizzlies.