Grizzlies suddenly struggling — and not happy post-trades

ATLANTA — At the outset, they were saying all the right things in the post-game interviews. However, once the cameras and microphones were turned off, shouted expletives and sighs of frustration persisted throughout the Grizzlies’ locker room following their 103-92 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.

It is easy to sympathize with the players. After all, it was only two months ago that Memphis owned a 14-3 record and looked well on its way toward a deep playoff run.

Now, the Grizzlies look confused, uncertain, and downtrodden.

Call it their post-trade blues.

For the players, the worst part about this downward spiral is that it was completely self-inflicted by the front office and ownership. There was no devastating injury that shook the team’s confidence. Instead, the roster had been overhauled to save money.

On January 22nd, the Grizzlies dealt role players Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby along with a future first round pick to Cleveland for Jon Leuer. The move made little basketball sense. (Speights alone is significantly more valuable than Leuer.) In the eyes of Memphis ownership, however, saving six million dollars in salary and getting under the luxury tax line was worth compromising the team’s depth.

Then, just eight days after depleting their depth, the front office shipped out their leading scorer in Rudy Gay and backup center Hamed Haddadi for Ed Davis, Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye in another trade that was completely driven financially.

When the dust cleared, the Grizzlies had traded five players and had brought in four in just two weeks. On the court, the trades have certainly affected the team’s play.

At just 1-3 since the Gay trade, morale has clearly been shaken. “It has been tough for us to stay confident,” admitted Mike Conley. “We understand that getting acclimated takes time but time seems to be working against us as the season is winding down. We have to turn it around quickly because we don’t have an offseason to get guys acclimated.”

Getting players acclimated has proven to be only a part of Memphis’ problem. What concerns Tony Allen more is his team’s apparent lack of motivation.
After losing to Atlanta, Allen said, “I don’t think guys had the mindset to come out, seek and destroy. Coach blames the loss on our poor start but, personally, I think they just outworked us. They outworked all 12 of us. It seemed like we had no emotion in the game. There was no griminess to it. There was no grittiness to it. Once they made plays, it was like we put our heads down.”

Zach Randolph agreed that the team lacked the fight necessary to succeed.


  1. Pera Levien says

    It is amateur hour in Memphis right now.

    It is like a scene from Major League, except the team was doing relatively well.

    1. Make it clear to team that the top players aren’t wanted, in spite of their fast start.
    2. Lose 1 trade to the Cavs and destroy bench depth.
    3. Lose 2nd trade to Raptors and lose a top player.
    4. Continue to claim more players will be moved.

    and, the kicker….
    5. RAISE TICKET PRICES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. oinky says

    TA – you forgot about OJ 2 years ago buddy. This team has no fast break ability, that is what is killing them right now.

  3. Josh says

    I understand the national astonishment that Rudy Gay was traded since he was on Sportscenter most nights. But it’s obvious when I read someone who hasn’t watched the Grizzlies all season. November was great, but clearly an outlier. This team was 17-14 from December 1st until the Rudy trade. They also ranked last in the NBA in offense. Last. And the offense actually hasn’t been worse since the trade, the defense has. I’m not claiming mid season trades are great for your chemistry, but the issues for this team didn’t start in February, they started in December. Since then, the team has been the equivalent of an 8 seed with MAJOR issues on offense. So let’s stop acting like they blew up the ’97 Bulls.


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