The most reasoned national take I've seen on last season's Pau Gasol trade — and on the current status of the Grizzlies — comes today from the excellent Lakers fan blog Forum Blue and Gold:
First, I want to review the Gasol trade with the benefit of a little hindsight. Memphis got absolutely blasted at the time. I’m sure many still believe that’s right, but I think the trade is much more of a win-win than Memphis gets credit for. The Grizzlies accomplished several things in trading Pau: (1) long term financial relief — they cut Gasol’s $60M remaining contract and have the league’s lowest payroll this year (a must given their revenue issues); (2) cap flexibility — they’ll be over $20 million under the cap this summer (whether they spend it is another story); (3) lose games to get a better draft pick — if they kept Pau they would have won several more games and not been in a position to draft Mayo, their #1 building block; and (4) acquire young, cheap talent and draft picks — they landed a center of the future in Marc Gasol, Darrel Arthur (with the Lakers pick), and have one more pick to come (Crittenton didn’t work out). Many say that Chicago was offering more with some kind of Nocioni + Gordon/Hinrich package, and maybe that’s true (I question whether Reinsdorf was truly willing to pony up and take on the long term salary), but would Memphis really be in a better position locked into those longer contracts and no man’s land status (too good to rebuild and too bad to contend)? I say, give me Marc Gasol, a few draft picks, the shot at Mayo, and all the cap flexibility.
I'd only add two corrections to this analysis:
1. With Crittenton flipped to the Wizards to get back the pick lost in the Navarro deal, the value received from that portion of the Gasol deal is still yet to be determined.
2. Most insider accounts of discussions with the Bulls — including, but not restricted to, Michael Heisley's on-the-record comments following his introduction of Lionel Hollins as head coach earlier this season — have suggested the the Bulls offer centered on an Andres Nocioni/Joakim Noah package, not Ben Gordon or Kirk Hinrich, and that the Bulls were unwilling to expand to trade to include Brian Cardinal.
Some have complained about Heisley not taking the Bulls offer, but since I consider Marc Gasol a more significant player than Joakim Noah and also considers Andres Nocioni unworthy of his current contract, I think the Lakers deal was better for the Grizzlies.
There's more good stuff from Forum Blue and Gold on the Grizzlies roster after that quote, so I encourage Griz fans to follow the link and check it out.
The Grizzlies are in Los Angeles to play the Lakers at 8:30 tonight.