NBA Trade Rumors: Can Memphis Grizzlies Land Shane Battier in 11th Hour Deal?

Stephen PattersonCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2011

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 20:  Shane Battier #31 of the Houston Rockets in action against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on December 20, 2010 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Memphis Grizzlies are reportedly close to re-acquiring Shane Battier from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Hasheem Thabeet.

Chris Vernon, who has a radio show on 730 AM Fox Sports Memphis, tweeted last night that the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies have been in negotiations over a potential trade involving Hasheem Thabeet and Shane Battier.

While Houston is interested in acquiring Thabeet to help strengthen their frontcourt rotation, they reportedly want more than just him in the potential trade for Battier.

I wrote an article last week about a potential deal I stumbled across while using ESPN's Trade Machine where Memphis would send Thabeet, O.J. Mayo and DeMarre Carroll to Houston for Battier and Courtney Lee.

Even though the trade currently being discussed between the two teams likely won't involve Mayo and Lee, I still think this would be an excellent trade for the Grizzlies and one they should do everything possible to make a reality.

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Battier played in Memphis from 2001 to '06 before being sent to the Rockets in a draft day trade that netted the Grizzlies their current franchise player, Rudy Gay.

He was one of the most popular players in the franchise's history while he was with the Grizzlies and I would expect the fans would overwhelmingly welcome his return.

The Grizzlies are in need of some immediate help at the small forward position to fill the void left while Gay is still out injured and acquiring Battier would definitely fill that opening.

He would also provide another veteran presence for the younger players on the roster to learn from and look to for pointers as they battle for a postseason spot down the stretch.

Battier was a key member of the Grizzlies teams that made three straight trips to the postseason from 2004 to '06.

While the Grizzlies don't own their first round pick in this upcoming draft, I think it would be worth it for them to package their first round pick for 2012 with Thabeet to get this deal done if needed.

According to another tweet by Verner, there is a surprising amount of teams showing interest in Thabeet; however, I doubt any of the deals would net Memphis with a player of Battier's skill level and veteran leadership.

A separate report from the Memphis Commercial Appeal said the Grizzlies aren't entertaining offers for Zach Randolph, which means the team is still focused on making a return to the playoffs this season as owner Michael Heisley previously promised.

With the recent trades of Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams, the last few playoff spots in the Western Conference became wide open and the Grizzlies could be primed to snatch one with the acquisition of Battier.

Memphis already brought back Jason Williams for the remainder of the season. He was another key member of the Grizzlies' playoff teams, so why shouldn't they bring back another veteran fan favorite in Battier to help take them back to the postseason?