Memphis Grizzlies: Small Market Blues

By Thomas Jones
Nelson Chenault – US Presswire

It seems like two years ago the Memphis Grizzlies were one of the young teams on the rise. Their foundation of Mike Conley, Rudy Gay, and Marc Gasol showed promise and improvement especially once they added Zach Randolph to the mix. A few deep playoff runs later and now new ownership is looking to shed salary. Shedding salary means trading players from your core. No, the current ownership didn’t dish out those contracts that have the Grizzlies over the salary cap but, does winning count in the NBA anymore?

Often times we see organizations favor profits or product. The bottom line is making money. Winning doesn’t always get that franchise out of the red. Winning should be at the forefront of the Grizzlies ownership, though. Staying below the cap is imperative to small market teams seeing as they don’t garner the revenue that larger market teams do but there is still a fine line.

Randolph is reportedly on the block. Trading him would be a grave mistake for the Grizzlies and would set them back further than trading away Gay. Randolph is part of the most important part of the team. Paired with Gasol, they are the anchors. Wins and losses depends on the productivity of those two. Randolph brings a toughness necessary once the playoffs start. He also happens to be a double machine at the power forward position.

Shipping Gay out of town is something different. Old ownership knew they were over paying Gay, but did so anyway feeling he was part of the foundation. Gay hasn’t quite lived up to his contract and tends to fade in the post season. Trading away Gay does run the risk of tearing apart team chemistry as you remove a foundation piece while attempting to incorporate another player who will play a major role months into the season.

The Grizzlies new ownership is in a tough spot. It would be wise of them to figure out what they want to do quickly and just do it. The ego of the athlete is very fragile. Having trade rumors hanging can derail the mental of those mentioned therefore sabotaging the season just as an actual trade would. Putting money over winning can backfire for this team. Winning is what put those fans who pay ticket prices in the stands. Lose them, you definitely won’t have to worry about being over the salary cap.


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