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Well one of the most exciting trade deadline days is over now and the Grizzlies appear to have proven two things about the team and their front office.

First, the Grizzlies showed they are serious about making the playoffs.
No one can argue anything else when seeing the Grizzlies traded their top two picks from last season’s draft for a 32 year old SF in Shane Battier. Sure Battier is still one of the most popular Grizzlies player ever and his return is sure to drive ticket sales for the remainder of the season but this move was clearly about making sure the Grizzlies don’t slide out of the playoff picture while Rudy Gay is recovering from his shoulder injury.
Second, the Grizzlies Front Office, led by majority owner Michael Heisley, can’t stop shooting themselves in the foot.


The Battier trade was supposed to be one shoe in a major bench ramp up. The other shoe was the trade of O J Mayo, made redundant on the roster with the acquisition of Shane Battier, for some much needed strengthening of the front line behind Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.

Unfortunately the franchise, along with Indianapolis and another unnamed team, couldn’t get the details of the trade worked out before the 2:00 pm CST trade deadline. Maybe this slip up in timing wasn’t entirely the Grizzlies fault, and from all indications it wasn’t, but this is just another misstep in what appears to be a recurring theme of missteps the franchise has endured.
The way the story is being released the Grizzlies had reached an agreement to trade SG O J Mayo to Indianapolis in exchange for Josh McRoberts but Indianapolis wanted a 3rd team involved for salary cap reasons. New Orleans, who’s franchise is being run by the NBA since buying out former owner George Shinn, pulled out of the deal at the last minute forcing the teams to scramble to find a 3rd trading partner. The apparently found one but too late to meet the NBA deadline.
So what have the Grizzlies to show for their day of frantic wheeling and dealing? A thinned out front line and an overstocked roster of perimeter players.
Now most people will be correct in saying the Grizzlies gave up two front line players that weren’t contributing for a guaranteed help at small forward with Rudy Gay out. Shane Battier is the perfect addition as he can start while Rudy is recovering and then easily and unselfishly move to the bench when Rudy returns. That is correct. Shane is an excellent addition and with his expiring contract makes it that much easier for the Grizzlies to resign Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol this summer.
Detractors will likely point out that it was a bit expensive. Not only did the Grizzlies give up after less than two seasons the 2nd overall pick in the 2009 draft, a player they stated on the front end would need three seasons to develop, and their 2nd first round pick in the draft but also a future 1st round draft pick (earliest date would be 2013). The Grizzlies also acquired lightning fast point guard Ish Smith. While that sounds good it means the Grizzlies now have 4 of their maximum 15 roster spots filled with point guards. Smith and Vasquez will see very little action the rest of the season barring an injury to starter Mike Conley or backup Jason Williams.
That alone wouldn’t be a problem either if Mayo had been traded. By not completing the deal the Grizzlies also have four primary shooting guards on the roster in Sam Young, Tony Allen, Xavier Henry and Mayo. Young and Allen can be counted on for some minutes at SF but there is no way all four players will be seeing the court consistently.
So eight of the maximum spots are taken by backcourt players predominantly. With Rodney Carney still working on his 10 day contract and Rudy Gay injured, the team has three more positions filled at SF and only one of them is currently active. That leaves the power forward and Center positions extremely thin. Four players are all the Grizzlies have down low with Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Darrell Arthur and seldom used center Hamed Haddadi. An injury to any of these player puts the Grizzlies in serious difficulty.
The trade of O J Mayo for Josh McRoberts, and a Pacer 2011 1st round lottery protected draft pick, isn’t fair value for Mayo’s talent but was desperately needed for team stability heading into the playoff run. McRoberts is not a graceful player but he is a banger with soft hands and a nice touch around the rim. Mc Roberts started 44 games this season for the Pacers. In his last 10 games McRoberts was averaging 10.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg and 2.8 apg predominantly as the back up to new starter Tyler Hansbrough.McRoberts could have filled any potential void on the front line and given the Grizzlies a fearsome looking squad for a playoff push.
But that was not to be. So now the Grizzlies must pray for health along the front court, tranquility and maturity in the backcourt and, most importantly, some big wins as the team plays it most difficult stretch of games in the season.
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