Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Memphis Grizzlies: Transactions, News, Notes

Memphis has gained more talent than they've given up this off-season but I'm not sure they're any closer to contending for anything grander than the fourth seed in the West. Then again, Jerry West traded for Rudy Gay who, though he inspires doubts regarding his willingness/ability to take over basketball games, has the talent to supplant Pau Gasol as the best player in Memphis while still on his first contract. Gay may or may not ever live up to the expectations placed upon him, but he doesn't appear to have much of a chance of turning into a bust, either. In a worst-case scenario, he's an adequate replacement for Shane Battier. That the Rockets threw in Stromile Swift, who will replace Lorenzen Wright, makes the trade a clear win for Memphis.

If Swift can match the production he provided during his first engagement with the Grizzlies (or even better, validate his reputation as a rebounder), then Mike Fratello will be able to deploy the various, limited talents of Jake Tsakalidis, Brian Cardinal, Hakim Warrick, Lawrence Roberts, and Alexander Johnson as a decent collection of frontcourt reserves. All, save Cardinal, are fairly intriguing prospects but only Tsakalidis, in limited minutes last season, has capitalized on his potential to any degree thus far in his professional career.

Adding Kyle Lowry (another safe draft pick who could become a quality starter in the NBA, but will likely never be worse than a good back-up) and re-signing Chucky Atkins should prevent the citizens of Memphis from seeing any more of Antonio Burks on the court despite the departure of Bobby Jackson and concerns over the health of Damon Stoudamire's knee. If Mike Fratello can similarly keep Dahntay Jones in street-clothes or at least off the court, Memphis should safely maintain their spot in the play-offs.

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