NBA AM: Are The Grizzlies Trading Randolph?
Randolph Too?: There has been some speculation that the Memphis Grizzlies, who have recently traded away five players over the last month in efforts to streamline their costs and strengthen their future, may not be finished dealing.
The Grizzlies have collected seven traded player exceptions in their various transactions over the last year ranging from $7.48 million down to $762,000, making them a popular dance partner for teams looking to shed contract dollars or unwanted players.
It’s also led to a lot of chatter about the status of Zach Randolph, who has started to voice frustrations over how he’s being used in the new Grizzlies’ offense, which after the Rudy Gay trade to Toronto was supposed to involve more plays through the post, but has now evolved into a pick-and-roll scheme that does not fit the personnel.
Some have labeled the Grizzlies as “shopping” Randolph, however, sources dialed into the Grizzlies say there is “zero” substance to that notion and that there is no interest in a deal involving Randolph.
Like all things at the NBA trade deadline, the right offer can always change the situation and with Randolph increasingly unhappy with how he’s being used there is no telling when he might blow up in the media and force the Grizzlies’ hand.
The Grizzlies have lost two straight games and have slid into fifth place in the West. They clearly do not appear to be on the same page since the Gay transaction.
Head coach Lionel Hollins has clearly been sniping at his front office in his comments to the press and the players who normally were super supportive of Hollins have started to question his process.
Hollins is in the final year of his contract and is openly acting like someone who will be elsewhere next year. It’s having a major impact on how the Grizzlies are playing.
Sources close to the situation caution not to read too much into the frustrations of a two-game losing streak, but when you factor in how leaky the Memphis process has been the whole way around, completely dismissing Randolph as a coveted trade asset would be naive. However, the Grizzlies continue to deny that Randolph is anyone they are willing to move, but it’s clear they are still active in the marketplace and the right incoming offer can always change a team’s thinking, especially if the skid continues.
Still Ballin’: Before the Orlando Magic and LA Clippers tipped off last night, Clippers forward Grant exchanged some pleasantries and marveled that he was still playing the game after all of the injuries he endured at the mid-way point of his career. Hill used to joke with Orlando reporters that all of the missed games would simply add years to his career. When reminded of those comments Hill quipped “even I didn’t believe that”, however Hill is still chugging along on his final quest for a NBA championship.
Hill talked with HOOPSWORLD about his final run with the Clippers and what he hopes he can achieve in LA.
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Replacing Gasol?: Lakers big man Pau Gasol is expected to miss at least six weeks to a partial right plantar fascia tear. Said another way, Gasol is expected to be out until mid to late March; compound that with the day-to-day status of center Dwight Howard and his partially torn labrum and the Lakers frontcourt becomes incredibly thin.
The Lakers did receive a $1.7 million disabled player exception from the NBA last week to help replace Jordan Hill, who will miss the entire season due to hip surgery.
The Lakers have been reluctant to use the exception mainly because of the chaotic situation already in place and the belief that adding a fresh body to the circus isn’t believed to be helpful. That stance may change with the front court being so depleted, however, Lakers sources say adding a new body still seems more unlikely in the short term.
The thought process in LA seems to go like this: Mike D’Antoni doesn’t want to play post-basketball to begin with, so adding more post players doesn’t fit the philosophy. There is also a sense that it would take too much time to integrate a new guy sitting on the sofa right now and that the Lakers don’t have the time or the cushion in the win-loss column to try and fit a new body into the mix with so few games to spare.
There is also the sense that the trade deadline could yield a better option than a player sitting outside the league right now, or that come March when teams begin waive or buyout veterans on ending deals that more attractive options may surface.
Everyone that’s out there now wants guarantees from the Lakers and it seems that’s just not what they are willing to do.
For now the Lakers seem content with rolling out Antawn Jamison and rookie Robert Sacre as their reserve big men, with Howard playing some kind of starter’s role once he is able.
The Lakers have surveyed the landscape and continue to look at options, but if you expected reinforcements by way of the free agent pool, it doesn’t look like the Lakers have interest in anyone they can sign.
Magic Trades?: If you are holding your breath waiting for an Orlando Magic trade, you might want to cheat and take a breath because that deal you are waiting for doesn’t appear to be on the radar.
The Magic are as active and engaged as anyone in the league mainly because they hold a $17.8 million traded player exception and have expressed a willingness to use some of it to help broker a complex deal.
The Magic turned away the chance to grab Rudy Gay from the Memphis Grizzlies, so don’t expect them to make a splashy salary grab even though they have the ability to do so. What’s more likely is Orlando plays facilitator in a deal and collects some draft picks or rookie scale player in exchange for their part in a deal.
A major transaction involving pending free agent J.J. Redick does not appear to be coming, despite dozens of teams trying to pry him out of Orlando. Sources close to the process say Redick has expressed a desire to sign a new deal in Orlando or at least work through a sign-and-trade in exchange for not being dealt at the deadline and the Magic seem open to that.
There continues to be a sense that this Magic squad isn’t going to change much at the deadline and that any serious transactions are more likely in the offseason.
As with all situations at the trade deadline, the right phone call or offer could change the stance of the team, but if the trade deadline were today the Magic aren’t part of a deal when the dust settles and that’s not for a lack of trying.
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