Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies Talking Trade?
From the beginning, the Houston Rockets’ primary target this offseason was Memphis Grizzlies restricted free agent center Marc Gasol. However, also from the beginning the Grizzlies have made it their primary intention to keep Gasol in town long-term.
The Rockets have tried a number of scenarios that might land other centers, making a run at Nene, trying to land Pau Gasol in a three-way trade with the New Orleans Hornets and Los Angeles Lakers, and even, in a moment of apparent desperation, talking with Samuel Dalembert. They even tried to get Tyson Chandler’s attention, to no avail.
So now the Rockets appear set to go back to the original plan.
The Grizzlies have put it out there that they will match any offer to Marc Gasol, in an apparent attempt to prevent having to pony up a maximum contract, but the Rockets are now threatening to foil the Grizzlies’ plan. Earlier today it was reported that the Rockets were preparing to make a maximum offer to Gasol, but they aren’t quite to that point yet. What they are now offering the Grizzlies is a possible sign-and-trade for Gasol.
The center of such a trade from Houston’s end would likely be the same package they were offering the Hornets, with Kevin Martin and Luis Scola as the primary pieces heading out. The Rockets also have four point guards on the roster after claiming Jeremy Lin off waivers earlier today, and they have a plethora of young power forwards to offer up, as well.
At the end of the day, the Grizzlies don’t need Houston. They can wait for Houston’s offer sheet and then they would have three days to match. Grizzlies management has been saying all the right things, that they will spend the money and keep together the core group that played so brilliantly in last year’s playoffs. With Gasol back and Rudy Gay healthy there is every reason to believe they could be the West’s best team in 2011-12.
The Rockets are merely testing the Grizzlies’ resolve to spend the money.
Houston is quickly running out of options at center, and without one (or with a second-tier player like Dalembert), it will be an incredibly long 66 games.
UPDATE: Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Memphis will simply match Houston’s offer sheet. Great move by Memphis . . .Houston still very much on the outside looking in on free agency.