It has been published (via Heisley’s closest press confidant, it bears mentioning) that the Grizzlies tried on draft night to acquire the services and bloated, erm, contract of Zach Randolph from the Clippers in a deal that would have saved long-standing cheapskate Donald Sterling a figure somewhere on the order of twenty million dollars. The deal,as outlined in Tillery’s above-referenced article, would have included Darko Milicic’s expiring contract and Greg Buckner’s unguaranteed one. After Darko was dealt to NYK for Quentin Richardson (what is it with this team and backup swingmen named Quentin/Quinton/etc.??), there is a rumor that had surfaced from elsewhere on draft night that my most unfavorite NBA backup PG, Mr. Adriana Lima, was named as a possible piece to complete the deal in Darko’s stead, and that this iteration of the deal didn’t make it past Donald Sterling either.
So what the &%^$*#^ was Donald Sterling thinking?What was Heisley thinking?Do we even want ZBo?
As for the first question, who the heck knows what Donald Sterling has been thinking for about the last twenty years-I don’t know that even he himself as drawn a bead on his own thought processes. It would seem on the surface that the Southern California sun must have gotten to Sterling for a few hours that night. As far as potentially “valid” reasons he may have wanted to keep ZBo? Well, uh, he may be concerned that Griffin may need time to adjust? Doubtful, but maybe. He’s got deals in mind (perhaps even in place??) to move one or both of Camby and Kaveman? Does Dunleavy actually want to keep the guy, leading him to get in sterling’s ear about keeping him? Did Dunleavy threaten to vacate the job ASAP if Darko or Marko (the “Serbian Stink Twins”, I’ll call them) came to be Clippers?The second idea holds at least a little bit of water, I suppose-playing Thornton at 4 is not an appealing option, and there will surely be suitors for Camby especially if he can prove himself in good health.
As to the question regarding what Heisley was thinking proposing a deal like this one, that is a bit easier to define or answer, but still not easy. There is one aspect that is clear, though, and it’s something I’m oh-so-glad to surmise from his actions-that, lo and behold, Heisley may actually be willing to write a huge check for a player he thinks could improve the team’s output in terms of points and wins. Paradoxically, however, ZBo is NEVER going to be known as a defensive stopper (quit giggling), seemingly putting his style at odds with the one into which Heisley has said he wants to mold the team. Disregard whether you think ZBo is or isn’t a cancer, or a ballhog, or a man with all the defensive skills and effort of, say, well, uh, Hakim Warrick-you know darned good and well that he would represent a significant talent upgrade at the power forward position for the Grizzlies, Heisley has recognized that (or has been goaded into believing it, anyway), and Heisley has now twice attempted to acquire Mr. Randolph. Guess Heisley’s couch cushions gave up enough jingle at the spring cleaning to take on an extra twenty million or so over the next two seasons, huh???
Now as to whether we should want ZBo as a Grizzly-there’s quite a variety of v-chip-worthy vocabulary one would probably hear from Grizzlies fans to just exactly describe their distaste for Randolph. As for me…well….there are other PF’s I’d surely rather have on my beloved Grizzlies….but it’s just hard to get away from the fact that ZBo would be a tremendous upgrade at the starting PF position….