Thursday, July 2, 2009

Trade Center: NBA

The Deal: The Memphis Grizzlies acquire F/C Zach Randolph from the Los Angeles Clippers for SG Quentin Richardson.

Grizzlies: This was an interesting deal for the Grizzlies. They rebuilt their front court with a strong draft. And were already two deep at each position. Rookie Hasheem Thabeet will team up with 2nd year man, Marc Gasol to handle the center position. Gasol may also get some time at the 4 if Thabeet shows he can handle the starting job. At power forward the Grizzlies have 2nd year man Darrell Arthur, who ended up being a steal for the Grizzlies last season. He has shown that he deserves serious minutes, and should have a bright future. In addition the Grizzlies have a pair of rookies in DeMarre Carroll and Sam Young (who can play the 2-4) to help Arthur out. This doesn't even include restricted free agent PF Hakim Warrick or SF Rudy Gay. Warrick, has been a top scorer off the bench, and will likely be on the move.

Now this is not to say the Grizzlies didn't get a good (yet overpaid) player in Zach Randolph. Randolph has averaged at least 17.5 points and 8 rebounds in every season since 2003-2004. He should present an upgrade to the front court, but he does weaken their back court depth. Richardson (who was just acquired draft night) was the Grizzlies top back up guard.

The Grizzlies also tied up some salary cap money with this deal as well. Which leaves me to wonder if a trade is in the works for the Grizzlies. Warrick is now likely to be part of a sign and trade deal. But even without Warrick that leaves the Grizzlies with 7 players for 3 positions. Randolph, Gay, Gasol and Thabeet seem safe. Arthur or one of the rookies could get moved to add back court depth.

Clippers: Los Angeles made a smart trade here. While they'll miss Randolph's production, his departure opens the way for rookie Blake Griffin. The Clippers still have Marcus Camby to back up the 4 and 5 positions. Los Angeles got a solid wing player back in Quentin Richardson. Richardson will be a back-up, but should provide a threat from the 3-point line. The Clippers also gained some much needed salary cap relief in the deal as well.

Winner: Overall both teams did well in this deal, but the Clippers came out ahead. Randolph can be a volatile personality, and him having to share time with Griffin could have only led to problems. The cap relief for the Clippers is a big factor as well. They can now be active in the free agent market next off season. The Grizzlies weren't a true loser in this deal. They added a quality front court man, and still have extra cap room. If the Grizzlies can add a young SG, by trading one of their excess forwards, they could be in the play-off hunt next season.

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