As you’ve probably heard by now, the Memphis Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers completed the first significant deal of the ’12/13 NBA trade season earlier today. In a move made primarily to save the Grizzlies approximately $6 million in salary (which they needed to do to get under the cap), backup center Marreese Speights, three-point specialist Wayne Ellington, and second-year prospect/ROY vote getter/reigning Summer League MVP Josh Selby were sent to the Cavs in exchange for Jon Leuer, a jump-shooting power forward who has only appeared in nine games this season. In addition to the three players, the Grizzlies shipped their 2015 first-round draft pick (top five protected) to Cleveland.
Reactions to the trade seem to be mixed. Some who support the Grizzlies are relieved that the team is now under the cap — meaning that they ought not feel pressured to trade Rudy Gay or Zach Randolph anymore; at least not for now — while others are perturbed by the new ownership group’s desperation to save money. Personally, I feel like the Grizzlies gave up an awful lot to dump $6 million in salary, but ultimately I think people are missing the point. Allow me to explain.
At the time of this trade the Grizzlies were already carrying the league minimum of 13 players. Now they’ve gone and swapped three players for one, so they’re going to have to sign some people. Being that this deal was made to save money, these people are going to have to be willing to work for a minimum salary. Two such people are Bill Walker and Delonte West, who, according to reports, will soon become the newest members of the Grizzlies.
Delonte West. Tony Allen. Zach Randolph. The three of them, on one NBA basketball team. Think about that for a moment.
Financial motives considered, I can’t be mad at Robert Pera for making this move. In fact, I salute him. Basically, he did the first thing any hardcore NBA fan would do if they had a billion dollars — buy a team and assemble the most fascinatingly-charismatic trio of loveable oddballs in all the league.
Pera, you are my hero. Tony Wroten, you’re on donut duty.