Memphis throws in the Towel

Drew BartonAnalyst IFebruary 1, 2008

When ESPN discussed a trade wherein Portland would give up Travis Outlaw, Channing Frye, and Jarrett Jack to acquire Devin Harris from Dallas, there was a lot of antipathy for the deal.

It was giving up too much, and the general feeling was that the rumor was generated by people trying to help Jason Kidd escape New Jersey.

The Blazers have no competitive interest in helping other teams or players at the cost of making themselves worse—and make no mistake, removing Outlaw would hurt Portland a great deal apart from the ramifications of shaking up 30 percent of their regular line-up.

Memphis, however, has steadily regressed.

This season has been a huge disappointment for them. They are not playing for the present any longer but are looking towards the future.

So they traded one of their best players for a whole lot of questions.

Kwame Brown has been a disappointment everywhere he has gone. He is still young and the right coach might develop his untapped potential into a truly fearsome force.

It seems more likely he is the second coming of Shawn Bradley—a guy who appears so talented that team after team acquires him, tries him out, and gives up on him.

For Brown's sake I hope the coaching staff in Memphis gets through to him and he blossoms, but I suspect he will be a role player for them as he has been everywhere else.

Javaris Crittendon and Aaron McKie...yawn.

Clearly the value the Grizzlies expect in return for Pau Gasol and their 2008 second-round pick is in the first-round picks from the Lakers in 2008 and 2010.

I am sure at this point someone will point out that Memphis benefits by unloading the max contract of Gasol, and Brown's contract is up after this year.

Okay, so who are they getting in position to make a run at?

There are not a lot of high-profile free agents. So in effect, they are trading something for nothing to save a few bucks.

Hardly fan-inspiring action.

Gasol might not be a dominant player but take a look at what he can do for a team.

Gasol is a consistent inside force. His game will mesh nicely with Kobe Bryant's while Andrew Bynum is out with injury.

This will make Laker's whipping boy Lamar Odom expendable or give them a lethal threat off the bench to anchor their second unit.

I even heard talk of a monstrous, albeit slow, front line of Bynum, Gausol, and Odom.

Any way you slice it the answer comes up the same. The Lakers win big in this trade.

With Gasol in the line-up the Lakers will continue their strong run this year. That makes the 2008 draft pick a mid-to-late pick, and in 2010 Bynum will still be there, Jordan Farmar will likely continue his improvement, and that pick will be a late first-round pick.

What was Memphis thinking?

I see very little downside to this trade from the Laker's standpoint. They unload what has been essentially dead weight and a couple low picks to acquire an All-Star. If Gasol clicks with their line-up, they instantly become title contenders.

Memphis, meanwhile, unloads one of their best players and basically moves up a few spots in the 2008 draft and gets a late pick in 2010. Brown is nowhere near the player that Gasol is.

What were they thinking? Is their front office filled with Laker fans? Did they think "Ah, we are already a bad team, let's just get worse and save a few bucks"?

Please, somebody, help me understand how this trade is beneficial to the Grizzlies?

Call this one an easy win for the Lakers, and a bad thing for the future of the Grizzlies.