What have the Memphis Grizzlies done to themselves? For a team that was once looked upon to be where the Golden State Warriors are, they sure have fallen on hard times. Was it the lack of production from a draft pick? Did Father Time catch up to the vets or was it something else? As a person on the outside looking in– all I can say is that there was a mismanagement of funds. The Grizzlies thought this was MLB and were just handing out big salary contracts to almost everyone. There was a core of Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. This team was supposed to own the West but then it came crashing down.
The cause for this is simple– money.
While each player wanted to be paid like an elite player– not everyone deserved to be. Gasol is a defensive ace but was he really worth $22M per? His 2016 averages of 20 points and six rebounds would suggest he wasn’t. Then you have Randolph. While in Portland, Randolph was seen as a lost cause. There were too many mistakes but the moment he got to Memphis– it all changed for him. He was now regarded as one of the best power forwards in the game. But his time in Memphis passed as his age crept up and he moved on to the Sacramento Kings.
Then the Grizzlies started to feel themselves with two of the worst contracts in NBA history. They decided to sign Chandler Parsons to an extension with an annual salary of $23M per. In what world is Parsons with $23M? A few days later, they topped that nightmare with another as they signed PG Mike Conley Jr to a deal that would pay him $28M. Now, neither of these players are face of a franchise guy but the Grizzlies are paying them to be just that.
It would seem that 2016 was the year it all fell apart. With three players making over $20M each there was no room for the Grizzlies to seek help.
Now, Randolph is gone and so is Vince Carter. While their departures will not make a dent in the Grizzlies pockets, it will do so where it counts most– in the wins/loss column. Gasol is not getting any younger and the Grizz have added his name in trade offers this offseason. If Marc goes that will leave just Parsons and Conley as the bookends. While Conley numbers are decent, they are not top 5. Parsons can’t stay on the court long enough for him and his teammates to build any chemistry and now the team is left without any real scorers.
All is not lost for the future. Conley and Parsons can still become valuable players but it’s time the Grizz do make a trade for Gasol while they still can. His contract is too large and with the Grizzlies having no real offensive firepower coming from their starters or the bench they may be forced to make a deal for players who can help Conley and Parsons.