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Today is the trade deadline and Ron Tillery penned a story that is more rumor than fact but at this time of the season rumors aren’t all bad.

Shane Battier could be returning to your Memphis Grizzlies. The most popular former Grizzlies player of all time could be returning and possibly for as little as Hasheem Thabeet, the most hated high draft pick in Grizzlies history.

Will it happen? I suppose we’ll find out about 1:00 PM CST today when the trading deadline passes.

Why would it happen. That is a lot easier.

The Grizzlies recognize that while Tony Allen, Sam Young and O J Mayo are doing a great job as the 3 headed perimeter monster with Rudy Gay out, the team is about to enter the most difficult stretch of the season and Shane Battier is able to defend the bigger SF much better than Tony or Sam can. Shane brings a deft touch from the 3 pt line that the others have not shown so far also.

When, or should I say if, Rudy Gay returns this season Battier can back up Rudy for 15-20 minutes a night allowing Rudy to gradually slip back into shape without a significant drop off in production. That means Rudy will be better rested for the stretch run and possibly the playoffs. The threesome of Young, Allen and Mayo (not to mention Henry) would likely mean a second trade would be neededsince at least one player would be unhappy with minutes in that arrangement.

The likelyvictim would be O J Mayo in that scenario. Allen is too popular, Young too inexpensive and Henry to young to move right now. Mayo has a decent resume, a large contract compared to the others and interest from other teams.

That would mean two of the highest draft picks in Grizzlies history (Mayo was the 3rd pick in 2008 and Thabeet the 2nd in 2009) would be traded away for an expiring contract in Shane Battier and something else but likely not a significant game changing player and possibly just another expiring contract.

Why? Because the Grizzlies still have to resign Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol this summer, the playoffs are a very real possibility this year and the team is capable of withstanding the losses and continue to improve. It sounds crazy that a franchise determined to rebuild via the draft would give up their two highest picks while still on their rookie deals but it actually makes sense in the big picture.

The likelihood is that neither Thabeet or Mayo will be moved since teams are not dealing fairly in their offers. The Grizzlies are not interested in getting change back from the dollars invested in the two players.

 

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