(First off, I'd like to say how proud I am of our team for showing up and dominating the Summer League the way they did. Though the other teams were often over matched by our superior young talent, I feel like our guys played hard and set themselves on the right track to see a lot of action during the pre-season and hopefully into October)
I want to start this post by saying that this is PURE speculation. I have not heard rumors or rumblings about a potential deal going down. But I gotta admit, I've got a HUGE man crush on Xavier Henry and after watching some footage of him and Wall playing together for the Olympic Team (which I have looked for on youtube but can't find) I am convinced that they could be one of the most dynamic back courts in the NBA.
I have voiced my discontent, just as many of you have, over our inability to add a perimeter player who plays defense and can stroke the 3 so far this off season. Free agency was full of these type of tweener players but EG and company chose to stand pat, which I agreed with. Most of those guys received inflated contracts because of all the teams vying for their services, so it was smart not to get into a bidding war for guys that probably won't help our team in the long run.
The draft is where we had our chance and I feel like we let a golden opportunity slip through our hands by not doing more to break into the lottery. I feel like we have a chance (though it may be close to nada) to now make a move and truly go all in to a rebuild/ youth movement.
So the jist of this article is that Grizzlies are currently un-willing to pay Henry the extra 400-600K or 20% accelerated contract that he should be getting because he was the 12th pick. I got that approximate number by factoring the 20% into the 2009 12th picks (Gerald Henderson) contract.
Looking at the Grizzlies roster the only contracts that will be on their books after this season are those of Greivis Vasquez, Rudy gay, Hasheem Thabeet, O.J. Mayo, Sam Young and DeMarre Carroll. Next year's off season is going to be huge for them because if they want to keep this young core together, they'll have to shell out hefty contracts to Gasol and Mayo. I'm not sure if Mayo has a player option, but if he can I'm sure he'd opt out of his current deal.
They still have not filled their hole at point guard. Mike Conley Jr. is clearly a bust for where he was drafted, and I'm sure they'll want to move on from that experiment. Luckily for them we have a log jam of pg's.
I propose trading Gilbert Arenas (4 yrs/ $17,730,694 for 10-11), Nick Young (1y/ $2,630,503), conditional 1st rounder (top 5 protected?) for Zach Randolph (1yr/ $17,666,666), Xavier Henry and his projected 3 year deal with a yearly average of about $2.1 million, and a 2nd round pick in either 2011 or 2012.
Looking at ESPN's Trade Machine, if Henry signs his deal, this would work out perfectly.
Why would the Griz pull the trigger on this deal?
They don't have first round pick next year since they gave it up to Utah in the Ronnie Brewer deal, and considering how many expiring deals they have coming up, they'll surely want to acquire a couple of picks to help fill out their roster.
Most importantly for them, this trade would take them out of rebuilding. With the possible departures of Tony Parker (this year or next via FA) and the inevitable decline of Jason Kidd, the Grizzlies would have the best point guard in their division. The Grizzlies have been running a system similar to the one we ran at the end of last season which includes two inter changeable guards in their back court. That could be because of Conley's inability to hold down the point, or maybe Mayo's versatility, but regardless it wouldn't be different from what they had. Arenas and Mayo would their two starting guards. Both of them have been highly criticized through their careers for not being able to play nice with other guards. This move would give Gil a fresh start and a chance to prove he can lead a team as the point, which I believe would make him very willing to share the ball so he can continue to prove his detractors wrong as he's done his entire career.
Add that to Rudy Gay as their budding all-star and a very promising Marc Gasol and they have a perennial play-off contender. It seems as if they've been in rebuilding mode ever since they made the move to Memphis. Arenas would finally make them competitive.
This move would give them their first franchise superstar since Gasol departed through that ridiculous trade to LA a few years ago. It would also make Michael Heisley a ton of money through ticket sales, merchandise sales and more national exposure.
Though he's got red flags, Gilbert is still an elite NBA player. As far as other PG's available, Chris Paul would be the only other comparable player looking for a trade, but a trade for him would likely command many more future assets, as well as possibly two of their core 3 guys. Chris Paul would be put right back into the situation he's currently in, and he'd likely do everything in his power to block such a deal so that would be a dead end anyways.
There's no chance they pull in Tony Parker via free agency in 2011, and after that there is a huge drop off talent wise with the other FA point guards. Arenas is an attainable star that they could have for relatively cheap price.
In addition, they get an experienced wing with range and some serious ups for next year, and if he proves to be the inconsistent Nick Young that we all love, they'll be ok because he comes off the books after the season.
Why would the Wiz pull the trigger?
I know it seems like we're giving up a ton here. Our former franchise player who if there were no politics considered, would command a hell of a lot more through a trade. Ted Leonsis has expressed his desire to build through the draft so giving up a future first rounder would also be a possible road block. But if you consider the potential benefits this deal has a ton of upside.
First of, it'd get rid of Gil's contract. That alone would be huge. It would mean more flexibility as far as adding talent through volume to our roster. That $17 million could go a long way to adding 2-3 young contributors that could serve a multitude of roles to our team. We could also use it to trade for other expiring deals while picking up more draft picks in the process.
Zach Randolph is coming off an all-star appearance so his stock has to be the highest it's been in a while. If we kept him, it'd allow us to feature him and Blatche in our front court which would give us two very skilled big guys that can spread the floor and help deflect some attention away from John Wall. Randolph is great in the half court and would alleviate Wall from having to make something happen on every play. Though that would be nice, I doubt our FO would be game. Randolph's presence would take important minutes away from some of our young talent like McGee, Booker, Yi, Seraphin and Hamady N'Diaye. So buy him out and let him go where he pleases, and be happy that your not paying Gilbert that same amount yearly for the next half decade.
Now, here's a look at some of Xavier Henry's Strengths according to draftexpress.com
- Commitment to playing defense and defensive fundamentals with a 7 foot wing span
- 3 pt range and 3 pt shooting percentage
- Intelligence, Passing Ability
- Athleticism, Size for position, NBA body
You guys want a perfect compliment to Wall? Henry is it. I am not sold on Lester Hudson or Cartier Martin as legitimate NBA players. Getting the first pick came with a lot of luck, but it also comes with responsibility. It is the franchises duty to responsibly surround our #1 pick with the best talent possible. Picking guys off of D- league rosters isn't going to cut it.
Providing John with a fellow highly recruited 19 year-old could prove invaluable. A good example of this from teams in the League would be Jeff Green and Kevin Durant. I'm not saying that Durant wouldn't have been the star he is without Green, but I don't think it'd be unreasonable to suggest it certainly helped. Whether it's on or off the court, having a go to guy like that could help relieve some of the rigors that come with being a young star and potentially help Wall become and even better player. Isn't that the whole point?Long term we want to get the maximum potential out of John.
This logic would work both ways, as Wall's presance could help take pressure off of Henry and allow him to develop. Just look back at the OKC model, Jeff Green has been in the starting lineup since his rookie year and he only continues to improve. Having Durant by his side has elevated his game and confidence to a level that may not have been reached without KD. Again it's hard to say that he couldn't have gotten there by himself, but it's clear that they have benefited from playing with each other.
Now I ask you, what seems like a better situation for JW2? Having a couple of un-proven inexperienced prospects who've yet to get significant playing time in the league, and a former franchise star breathing down your neck, waiting for you to slip up so he can reclaim his throne in the city that he once owned OR a sharp shooting, defensive minded stud who has had successful experiences playing with Wall and who would likely give us a long term answer to our hole at shooting guard.
If I were Henry I'd be the happiest person in the world if this happened. Looking at the situation from his point of view, Memphis has a crowd on the perimeter. Rudy Gay has solidified himself as their SF of the present and the future. He's 23 years old and starting to enter his prime as a player. Any one sitting behind him should not expect to see consistent minutes barring a serious injury. O.J. Mayo has a lot of potential at shooting guard. He came into the league with a lot of hype and big time expectation. They've experimented with him at the point but he has been the most effective when he plays the off guard position. Factor in Vasquez as a combo guard who's off to a great start with his summer league campaign, as well as Tony Allen who they just signed to a 3 year deal and there aren't a whole lot of minutes left over for Henry.
In DC he would be able to compete for a starting spot this year. At the very least he would be a huge upgrade depth wise to the current shooting guards on our roster. He can also play the 3, which is in my opinion the thinnest position on our roster. But this kid seems like he's ready to play now and though I wouldn't expect to start every game as he did with the Jay hawks last year, I do believe he would be a starter by the all-star break.
IMO, Arenas is our biggest road block when it comes to rebuilding. It doesn't make any sense and I believe it could be a potential formula for disaster. But unfortunately for us, outside of unloading him to NY for Eddy Curry's Expiring deal, our options with Gil seem very limited.
Looking ahead to the 2011 draft, if we landed a pick in the top 5, we would be able to keep the pick because it would be protected, and Memphis would then receive our 2012 first rounder possibly unprotected. As we've learned from this years draft, the lottery is unpredictable. But considering the additions we've made it is likely that we could be picking anywhere from the 6-12 spots. Just like the 2010 draft, there is a large drop off in talent after the first 5 picks. Why not speed up the process and essentially bring in that mid-lottery prospect this year and give him another year to grow and improve next to John Wall. I know you guys want us to be the OKC Thunder of the East, and this would be the perfect chance to make that happen.
Our potential line up would look like this:
- PG: John Wall, Kirk Hinrich, Jerome Randle (or other TC invite)
- SG: Xavier Henry(Kirk to start the year), Lester Hudson (FA Pick Up)
- SF: Al Thorton, Yi Jianlian, Cartier Martin
- PF: Andray Blatche, Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin
- C: Javale McGee, Hilton Armstrong, Hamady Ndiaye
EG has gone on record saying that he wants to add a veteran big man and wing player through free agency. I believe we'll play FA by ear and add someone who can play both the 2 and 3, and whose started some games in the NBA in case we gotta plug them in for the year. Hudson and Martin remain possibilities, but I hope EG would address this with more experience. Armstrong is far from a lock to make this team, if he under performs during TC or pre-season, we could bring in someone like Oberto to give us a veteran presence in our very young front court.
All in all though, that roster would provide us with the platform to grow and add a few pieces if necessary for the next few years before we starting competing for the Eastern title and hopefully a championship. It would be any GM's dream to have a team so full of young, inexpensive talent and cap space to do what he pleases. As long as we remain committed to developing our talent and steer clear of any silly FA signings (Etan Thomas), we could be looking at a potential dynasty in our Nations Capital.
(sorry about the fonts, they got messed up when I was trying to put pictures into the post)