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It took me a few hours to stop reeling from yesterday’s loss. There were many aggravating factors that made it especially grueling. There was the fact that it was on the Grizzlies home court, the fact that they had come back from 3-1 only to fall in the deciding game, the fact that they may have replaced Lebron James as the NBA’s biggest fourth quarter joke, and of course the fact that by winning a physical, low-scoring game, the Clippers essentially beat the Grizzlies at their own game. All of that was hard to deal with, but the hardest thing was dealing with the question of where the Grizzlies go from here.

Awhile back, I mentioned my fear that the Grizzlies could become the West’s version of the Atlanta Hawks – a team that’s always good enough to reach the postseason, but never good enough to do anything. If they keep the roster they have now, that’s probably what will happen. What we learned from the Clippers series is that the lack of a true star really hurts this team. They have plenty of quality players, but no one you can say with absolute certainty that you want taking the last shot. Rudy Gay tried to assume that role, but while he put up solid stats, he never seemed like someone you can count on to hit big shots. In fact, I can’t even count all the jumpers he missed during the series. Every time he took one, I cringed because I knew that unless Marc or Z-Bo could grab the board, it would be yet another failed one shot possession.

So, if the Grizzlies want to assert themselves as a legit contender, they’re going to have to make some moves, but where to make them? There’s already been talk of O.J. leaving, and it’ll certainly be hard to keep him and Marreese Speights. If I had to choose between them, I’d probably take Speights. He got better as the season progressed, and he kept things afloat when Z-Bo went down. Additionally, the team seemed to actually play better with him in the starting lineup, and when he actually got minutes in the Clippers series, he produced (albeit not without some foul trouble). O.J. Mayo could thrive on another team and become an all-star, or he could morph into one of Bill Simmons’ irrational confidence guys – players who always think they’re the best guy on the floor, and can heat up at any moment. He has the potential to be either of those things, but given the choice between that, and a legitimate big man who seems to help team chemistry, I’d go with the ladder every time.

But then, there’s the big problem: what to do with Zach Randolph. I’ve read many Z-Bo trade proposals in the comments sections, and it’s certainly a topic I’ve spent my share of time pondering. The case against trading Z-Bo is that he could easily return to his 2010-11 level next season, and if the Grizzlies trade him now, they probably don’t get fair market value for him, since no one is sure what they would get from him. Imagine Z-Bo turning around another franchise, while the mediocre players we get for him do nothing. It’s a frightening thought.

The case for trading Z-Bo is that he could decline further, and if he struggles next season, the Grizzlies probably wouldn’t be able to get anything for him. There’s the fear that he could become another albatross contract like Rashard Lewis. The thing is, I don’t really see that happening. Even with Z-Bo not all the way back, he still made some legitimate contributions in the Clippers series, tipping in countless offensive boards. It’s tempting to say “let’s get rid of the guy while we still can,” but when I think of all he’s done for this franchise, I just can’t sign off on that. Not when he can be a beast if he’s at 100%, and when he probably has a few really good years left.

So, what to do? I might suggest trading Rudy Gay, but his contract might be too brutal for others teams to take on. If the Grizzlies are willing to accept less than his value, I could see them doing it. Yeah, I don’t think they’ll get fair market value for Gay or Z-Bo, but if I had to keep one, I’d keep Z-Bo, because when both players are 100 percent, he gives the team more. What I would suggest is this: keep Speights, keep Z-Bo, and keep what is one of the league’s stronger front courts. Z-Bo and Gasol can both do more damage then they did in the Clippers series, and everyone knows it. Conley has to stay because he’s the only legit point guard the team has, and he’s often the glue that holds them together. I love Tony Allen, but you could probably talk me into sacrificing his killer D for someone who provides more offense. Do we trade Allen so we can keep Mayo? Or do we bring in another shooting guard who can drain three pointers. There seems to be more questions than answers.

This will be an interesting offseason, as the Grizzlies front office tries to take the next step into giving this team a shot at a title. There’s several paths they can take, and they all involve a considerable amount of uncertainty. Whatever the Grizzlies do, however, it will certainly lead to some spirited debates in the 3SOB realms.

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29 Responses to Where Do We Go Now?

  1. alexw1020No Gravatar says:

    “There seems to be more questions than answers.”

    That pretty much sums up the entire off-season for us in my eyes. I’m one of those guys that gets attached to players when they’re on my favorite team, and basketball is easily the strongest bond for me because there’s only twelve players per team. It’s hard for me to imagine trading any of the Grizzlies that have turned in the best two years in franchise history, but I guess I’d send Rudy packing if I had to choose one. We came within a triple OT win of making the WCF last year without him, and it seems like we are more capable of playing our brand of basketball when the offense runs through Z-Bo and Marc. I’d hate to see any of these guys go from top to bottom, but Rudy is my odd man out at this point…

    …or we can just consider this series an anamoly and hold the team together with another shot next year. You have to remember that of our four losses, we got beat in OT once and by a single point twice. People I talk to act as if LA should’ve won in five, but I feel that the Grizzlies were truly the better team.

  2. TerryNo Gravatar says:

    I think trading either Zach or Rudy would be a bad reactionary move to a bad series against a team that seemed to want it more than we did, especially in 4th quarter. We are basically in same position we were in last off-season. We still need an answer at back up PG and we still need a shooter or two. The decision to be made is do we resign Mo or Arthur, I don’t see us keeping both. With a loaded draft and a fair number of decent role player free agents this year I think we have to stay course and keep our core players in tact. We are still the same team that took OKC to 7 games last year. The lock out and injuries took a big toll this year and I expect we will be back and ready for next season.

  3. TerryNo Gravatar says:

    “With a loaded draft and a fair number of decent role player free agents this year to choose from”
    Is what I was trying to say.

  4. OinkyNo Gravatar says:

    Sign and Trade – Mayo (and how ever many 1st’s it takes) for Eric Gordon.

  5. GrizzFanNo Gravatar says:

    If the Grizzlies wouldn’t have had a bad draft two years ago you would be looking at a dominate team. If they would have picked a good guard over thabeet they would be unstoppable but thats the what if game. They shouldn’t have traded Vasquez, he is a guy that can get points. If you ever watched him in college everyone knows he can shoot and score and doesn’t turn the ball over. It was a stupid trade. I think the best thing to do is keep Hudson because he can become a great scorer off the bench. Get rid of O.J. because he didn’t show up at all and get rid of Speights. Speights is a good player but you can’t trust him out on the court, I would take Arthur everyday over him. They need to KEEP Arthur, in the playoffs last year he averaged 10 points off the bench. He is too good to let go. His only problem is he never can stay healthy. Grizzlies need to trade a player for a pick this offseason to try and move up and take a guard. Don’t take a C/PF. C/PF coming out of college are always unproven, take a Guard that can handle the ball and score, that is all we need.

  6. GrizzFanNo Gravatar says:

    I think the Rudy trade is dumb. Everyone says oh well the Grizzlies were better with out Gay. That is BS. Before he got hurt he was becoming a great player and the team was doing great. If he would have never got hurt I think he would have became our superstar. I think that injury got in his head and messed him up. I think he needs to work on his low post game more and shooting more. Trading Zbo away is stupid. The thing about Zbo is that he uses position and a quick jump to get rebounds and score on putbacks. He will bounce back this offseason. I’m looking forward to next year.

  7. BradNo Gravatar says:

    Keep Speights. Lester Hudson brings scoring at the 2. He is hungry unlike anyone else on the roster right now. He is dying to prove himself. Speights and Hudson can provide scoring off the bench. I think Speights’ jumper is more consistent than DA’s, and DA had a chemistry with Vasquez he may not find with anyone else. I worry DA could be a bust in future years, where Speights is a real scorer. Got to get backup help at point. Not sure where feom. And I think you have to do SOMETHING about the Cunningham/Pondexter situation. Not sure what, but it’s a toss-up, which one of them you want around.

  8. GrizzliesDieHardNo Gravatar says:

    Rudy is a very good player, and very selfish player. I would hate to watch his antics over th next three seasons. He is simply un-Memphis like. We need to ship Gay and free up some space to make a good deal or sign a good free agent.

  9. GrizzliesDieHardNo Gravatar says:

    Lionel Hollins is an idiot. He would never give a guy like Lester Hudson consistent minutes.

  10. foot n my mouthNo Gravatar says:

    How about trading the grizzlies for a bag of rocks! See you next year losers! CLIP-SET!

  11. GrizzFanNo Gravatar says:

    I know this has nothing to do with the article. But what happened to that rule about players arguing with the refs. I thought their was a rule that they made last year or this year that if you argued with a ref about anything you got a tech. I guess they don’t do this rule anymore because Chris Paul would be leading the league in Techs.

  12. JeremyNo Gravatar says:

    All of these could have been avoided by drafting James Hardin instead of hasheem thaneet ..its really thy simple

  13. Anthony MorrisonNo Gravatar says:

    If we had Mo Williams and the Clips had OJ, we would be gearing up for round two. Like many of you mentioned, we need a guard who can handle AND shoot. Chris Wallace will find that guy. As good as we have become, that player should be able to see that he is the missing piece.

  14. presidentjoeNo Gravatar says:

    I think they have 3 needs to be addressed:
    1. A quality 2 guard starter. TA is a backup.
    2. A backup pg that can produce
    3. Another quality big man.

    Keep Arthur. Trade mayo for m. Beasely of Minn.
    Draft d. Waitors of Syracuse as 2 guard.
    Trade mo for a decent pg.
    To be bold trade Rudy. He has been here for 6 years and still not sure if he is the go to guy even after signing him for 80 mill.

  15. Lee Eric SmithNo Gravatar says:

    I’m gonna say pump the brakes on breaking up the team.

    Truth is that last year, the team did will with Rudy Gay injured. This year, they did well with Zach Randolph injured. And therefore, we STILL haven’t REALLY seen what this team can do when both guys are healthy at the same time.

    Take that back: We saw flashes of it before Rudy went down. But in the rush to break up this team, let’s remember that a couple of bounces of the ball here or there, and this team would have beaten the Clippers in 5 games. Pretty sure San Antonio would have carved us up this year, but still.

    I like O.J., but I do think he should move on. Like Pau Gasol, my gut says he’s done just about all he can do in a Grizzlies uniform. I would hope he’d prosper wherever he goes.

    And finally, while I think Hollins made some disastrous decisions against the Clippers, all talk of trading him should cease (unless he’s lost the players). The players would go to war for him, and the best thing to happen to this franchise is the consistency Lionel Hollins brings as a coach — as opposed to the disposable coach rotation we had during the Fratello/Barone/Iavaroni years.

    We have a winning team that just didn’t win a fairly evenly matched team. You don’t blow that up.

  16. GrizzdocNo Gravatar says:

    I agree. Let OJ go.

    For a backup PG, I am really hoping that they look into Andre Miller who is a free agent out of Denver. He is a savvy, heady veteran who would do us a world of good. Doesn’t anyone share my enthusiasm over getting him? Lee–get Wallace on that!

    I also think that talk of a Gay trade is premature. I agree with Lee, we haven’t seen what this team will do with a healthy ZBo, Gay, and Gasol over the course of an entire season. Remember time and again that this was the first EVER playoff experience for Gay; he will learn from this and get better because of it.

    No way in hell would I trade ZBo. He is the heart and soul of this team. Once he gets healthy for next yr, we have to ride on his back like we did last season. Run the offense through him and Gasol, and let our big men get back on the same page with nifty passing and feeding to the open jump shooter ie Gay.

    Yes we will need another 3 pt threat, but I honestly don’t know where to go for that, unless we can somehow manage to get Ray Allen cheaply.

    But no–don’t break up this team. We had a great season that ended poorly. We were a 27 pt 4th quarter blown lead away from finishing the series in 5 gms. Let’s take a step back and keep things in perspective.

    • lugeneparkerNo Gravatar says:

      I Agree. Keep the team intact. Wish good luck to O.J. where ever he goes. Plenty of 3pt shooters coming up this summer. My no. 1 choice, Steve Novak from New York, He was killin it from downtown this year. 2nd choice, Nick Young from the Clippers, unless L.A. throws him a ridiculous amount of money. There will be a few quality PG available during the summer. Pick up one of them.

  17. IggyNo Gravatar says:

    The Griz were a playoff team last season without Rudy Gay for much of the season. And they were a playoff team this season without Zach Randolph for much of the season. Logic would suggest that the Griz need to hold onto one but not necessarily both in order to make the playoffs next season. Further, I’ve yet to see a path forward in terms of improving the team without moving one of them. The Griz have $62 million already spent for next season, and holes to fill at almost every backup position. And the Griz have $58.5 million already spent for the following season. The math of improving this team without making a change in personnel just doesn’t add up.

  18. DaBlueBearsNo Gravatar says:

    Sign and trade OJ for… Tyreke Evans! Or let OJ walk and sign Jason Terry to a mid level.

  19. ReginaldNo Gravatar says:

    Well, we know OJ isn’t coming back for $7 mil. I don’t think Heisley will pay $7 mil for a backup who isn’t that consistent. OJ always had the potential and the star quality but he’s not a backup PG. At his size, he should be a great PG but he doesn’t have the handles and ability to set up others for scores. Gotta let him walk and it hurts to say that. Arthur is a RFA I believe as well. I say bring Arthur and Speights back. Keep Tony and ZBo b/c you need guys like that on your team. Don’t trade Rudy b/c he does have the big player mentality and you’re not going to find another wing player that does what he does. The team isn’t bad. Coach had a brain freeze for a few weeks with adjustments so you might wanna add a veteran to the staff but other than that, I say bring the team back and get a training camp with Rudy and ZBo together. Pray for good health next season so we don’t have to get used to playing w/o one of big weapons and see what happens in the post season.

  20. WendellNo Gravatar says:

    When did O.J. become a back-up? He went from scoring 19 and 18 ppg in his first 2 years in the league to a back-up shooting guard. Really?? All because he had the desire to play point guard from the beginning and Coach already had chosen Mike as his lead guard. Mike’s demeanor as the lead suggested that he is not a leader but a follower. For some reason he was given the time (4yrs) to develop into a descent pg.
    O. J. tried to lead a leaderless team when he and “Superstar” Rudy Gay were getting into arguments on the court about how something needed to be done or where to be on the court. I see none of this from Mike at all, when one of his teammates in in the wrong place on the court, they continue to be in the wrong place on the court. I think O.J. should have been alpha dog but, we already had a pre chosen alpha dog in “non- leading man” Rudy Gay. O.J. is not part of the core. Why is he not part of the core, you basically move up in the draft to get him? He is the 2nd highest draft pick in Memphis Grizzly history. Yet he wasn’t given 4 yrs. at pg.
    Questions, is the front office listening to Coach Hollins? They sign to a 2 year deal after a good 2 game stretch? Pondexter to a 2 year deal because coach wants it? Or even trade Grevis for Q? Really?? Sign Rudy, Mark, and Zac to unmanageable contracts in a small market, Priceless. Not to mention over paying all three.
    This is how you become the “ATL Hawks West”. I am being led astray a Grizz fan, I hope not, but it kind of feels like it.

    • WendellNo Gravatar says:

      2 Corrections…
      They sign Pargo to a 2 year deal after a good 2 game stretch?
      I am being led astray as a Grizz fan, I hope not, but it kind of feels like it.

  21. ACNo Gravatar says:

    Next season we will be paying Zach, Marc, Rudy, and Mike a combined $54 million ($59 mill in 2013/14). That group just bought us a 1st round exit. Not a lot of wiggle room there for a small market team.

  22. WendellNo Gravatar says:

    Even if we sign and trade O.J. one of the mega contractors will have to go. Whatever the front office does with the current roster, if someone is traded they need to pick up a couple of second rounders. 1st Round if Draymond Green SF/PF (not the traditional SF, but a fundamentalist with good size 6’ 6” 235) is still there at #25 grab him fast. 2nd Round take Robert Sacre C (a mix between Joakim Hoah and Carlos Boozer with good size 6’ 11” 260) and Maalik Wayns PG (reminds me of a quick Kyle Lowry with good size 6’ 1” 205).

  23. Grizz2202No Gravatar says:

    I don’t understand what games you guys are watching. I don’t know what’s wrong with your TV sets. I don’t understand why you don’t read the box score. Why is OJ so good in y’all’s eyes?

    Are you not watching him put up pull-up 3’s with no one under the basket to rebound after only 6 seconds have elapsed off the shot clock (that’s a bad decision).

    Are you not watching him fumble the ball like Tiki Barber? Constantly, over and over? In big-time moments when we need a bucket, and it goes off his foot, between his legs, etc.?

    Have you not already heard that one of the assistant coaches from USC said he was an abysmal PG (BECAUSE HE DOESN’T HAVE A HANDLE)?

    Ok, so how ’bout this. Let’s take a look at his +/- numbers for the stat guys out there. Here are the +/- numbers for all seven games of the Clips series for OJ:

    game 1 L: -5
    game 2 W: +9
    game 3 L: -6
    game 4 L: +4
    game 5 W: +12
    game 6 W: -10
    game 7 L: -24

    Really? Really. -24 in that last game (you know, the game that would win the series, game 7). 4 out of 7 games he had a minus number (you know, we have to win 4 out of 7 games to win a series). He didn’t score more than 6 points in the last two games. And he plays what? Oh yeah, SHOOTING Guard!

    He’s bad. He’s a bad player. He has the basketball IQ of George Muresan. His decision making skills are bad. He dumps the ball off when he should shoot. He lays it in when he should dunk. He gives the ball up on a wide open breakaway and gets it stolen, or bounces it off our players’ hands because he’s 1 foot from the basket and should be shooting anyway. He takes one-on-four 3 pointers with 19 seconds on the shotclock and no one nearby to rebound.

    He’s bad, guys. Let him go. He can make bad decisions for the next team.

  24. RfoxNo Gravatar says:

    probably late to the party here but if you look at the player efficiency ratings for the Grizz all the starters are ‘above average’ to ‘good’. However, none are great. Last year Zach was great and if they had had Gay (typically second most efficient offensively) that team is a finalist.

    Given the chance to run the team I think I might take one more run with this core group IF (big IF) I could get Ray Allen and Lamar Odom as free agents and keep D. Arthur.

    I’d be willing to let Mayo go in that case – he’s a very borderline offensive player and while he is a scrapper or Speights (although his offense from the perimeter is a nice complement to Arthur on the second team).

    But the other choice to me seems to be to try and get someone to make the leap. I think we know the ceiling for the players at this point. and it is a good team that fights hard and can’t get over the hump in a division filled with very good teams (and I’m assuming that Deron Williams winds up in Dallas to make things worse). I think I’d trade Zach over Rudy based on age and weight, the emergence of Gasol as a low post scorer and lastly the person I’d try to get: Tyreke Evans.

    Tyreke is on the outs in Sacramento but still has mammoth upside, he fills the need at the 2, can move to the 3 with the second unit and provide a low post scorer or can take the PG role because he has sufficient handle to do that job. He can get to the rim and has at least some shot from outside (but that needs work).

    that move has the potential to take a so-so position and have it become all-star level and that’s what we need

    if we dealt Zach/mayo for Evans, picked up Odom as a reclamation project and/or Ray Allen that team has versatility, champisonship experience and upside. and I think it might actually be feasible though it obviously depends on the market and prices for Odom and Allen.

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