As I scrolled through my Twitter timeline Tuesday afternoon, I ran across an interesting tweet. It was written by a Grizz fan who was in full panic mode.
“This is the worst trade in the history of the NBA!”
I thought the fan’s overreaction was funny, but I also felt his pain. As a self-proclaimed “SuperFan” of the Memphis Grizzlies, there have been plenty of times that I thought the sky was falling. And between the recent trade news and uncertainty about the future roster of the team, I think it’s safe to say that #GrizzNation is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
You probably already know the facts by now. Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby (along with a first round draft pick) were traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday for power forward Jon Leuer. The trade successfully put the Grizzlies back under the luxury tax threshold for this season. Grizz also signed former Dayton star, Chris Johnson to a ten-day contract and are expected to add at least one more player to the roster very soon.
There has already been plenty written about why this trade was done. Commercial Appeal sports columnist Geoff Calkins called it a salary dump. Coach Lionel Hollins called it a business decision. (Which is NBA front office speak for….salary dump.) There’s no way around it; this was indeed a financial move.
But is it as bad as it sounds? In my opinion, that all depends on how much you trust the Grizzlies new owners and management. The reality is that the front office is facing a tough road ahead. One that involves trying to give the team it’s best possible shot at a deep playoff run while also dealing with the financial challenges that former Grizzlies owner, Michael Heisley left behind.
It was just six weeks ago that the new front office announced they had hired Stu Lash as director of player personnel and basketball development. They also hired NBA writer and advanced analytics expert, John Hollinger as the new vp of basketball operations. ESPN.com sited sources close to the situation as saying Hollinger would be a “prominent voice in the team’s front office beyond providing statistical analysis.”
As you may or may not know, my main form of communication with Grizz fans is through the social networking site, Twitter. (@KateeForbis) When Hollinger was hired, I heard everything from “He is exactly what this organization needs.” to “He is inexperienced and going to ruin this team.”
The truth is I don’t blame Grizz fans for being in panic mode. We have trust issues! And can anyone really blame us? Look at our history! The timeline for nearly a decade was one of hopes dashed, dreams crushed and multiple draft pick nightmares. Okay, I may be over exaggerating. But my point is we are an emotionally damaged fan base. And now the city that “believed” is having it’s faith tested again.
I believe we are at a crossroads, Grizz fans. Will we trust the process and believe that our organization has the teams best interest at heart? Will we trust them when they say their desire is to win an NBA championship in Memphis? For some of you, the answer will be “no.” and that is your choice. As for me, I have decided to have a little faith and see what happens. If I’m wrong, at least I can honestly say I gave it my best shot.
For the Memphis Grizzlies, change is inevitable. Whether the changes happen today or in six months, (or both) it is something we have to come to terms with as fans. This trade appears to be the first necessary evil. If I am thinking rationally, I can’t imagine someone as intelligent as John Hollinger suddenly becoming a moron overnight. I have to believe there is a plan, however fluid that plan may be. I will be the first to say this situation is not ideal. But if any city can rise above the obstacles, it’s Memphis. If any team can grit and grind through the changes, it’s the Grizzlies. And if any fan base can believe in a team, despite the odds, it’s GrizzNation.