By: Christian Dudley (@ChristianDudley)
With similar results post-firing of the Memphis Grizzlies' Head Coach, will the next big move be a trade of the team's All-Star center?
The Memphis Grizzlies received a visit from the Miami Heat on Monday evening. It was a reunion of sorts for backup point guard Mario Chalmers with his former team, in which he won two championship rings, but it could have been a great reunion for David Fizdale -- now the Grizzlies' latest figure to have the "former" description placed in front of the title "Head Coach."
Too soon, we know.
At the time, Memphis had dropped eight games in row. Following that eighth loss, Marc Gasol had been benched in the fourth quarter and was fuming in his postgame interview. The next day, David Fizdale got the boot.
Three losses followed until the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 4th by a score of 95-92.
It was a very short celebration.
The Grizzlies have not won since. In fact, they did not even compete with the Miami Heat on Monday. Memphis was on the short end of a 25-point blowout loss on their own home floor. Miami was a sub-0.500 team until last night.
Not only was it the Grizzlies' fourth consecutive loss, but it was their 15th loss in their last 16 games. Memphis now stands at 8-19 overall after beginning the 2017-18 season with a league-best 6-1 record. This squad has yet to defeat an Eastern Conference opponent in seven tries.
A third of the Grizzlies' season is finished and it will only become more difficult to climb the Western Conference standings. If the postseason began today, Memphis would be the 14th seed -- one victory greater than the last-place Dallas Mavericks.
It is incredibly difficult to imagine Memphis catching the eighth seed or higher, though they are just 5.0 games behind eighth-place Utah.
In what seems to be a lost season, the coaching change clearly did not solve much if anything at all. This Grizzly squad continues to lose -- and in bad fashion.
It is also difficult to imagine the Memphis Grizzlies not making a second drastic move. If they do pull the trigger on another big decision this season, it will almost assuredly involve the trading of Marc Gasol or the firing of their General Manager. With as quickly as things have gone downhill in recent weeks, we could even see both events happen within the same season. It would not be surprising in the slightest.
Wallace has run his course in Memphis and it is time -- beyond time -- for a change in the Front Office. It is a new era of Grizzlies basketball, plus, if the Grizz do decide to deal Big Spain, they need to have a better decision-maker at the helm when negotiating a transaction involving the three-time NBA All-Star center.
The Memphis Grizzlies -- if they deal No. 33 -- need to get the most bang for their buck. Gasol's trade value is the highest it will be as he is already nearing 33 years of age. With each loss, Marc's value continues to diminish.
Marc Gasol is having one of the least efficient seasons of his 10-year NBA career. He is shooting the lowest field goal percentage of his career at 42.2%. He continues to play further away from the basket and is not corralling the amount of boards this team needs to secure wins, especially with the absence of Zach Randolph from the roster. This is the first time Big Spain has averaged three turnovers per contest.
Though Gasol has not been what Grizz Nation was hoping when Randolph and Tony Allen made their departures, plus with Mike Conley sidelined due to injury. Marc has received the biggest opportunity of his career to show he is a true NBA superstar, but he is showing he is best suited as a second option.
Off the court, Marc Gasol has been pointing fingers and deflecting blame from his name. He has been quick to call out his teammates for a lack of effort, but lackadaisical play has been glaring by Gasol many times in 2017-18. It was evident weeks ago, so will he find motivation in his play anytime soon? Perhaps it will take a healthy Mike Conley to inspire No. 33, but will it be too late in the season to make a real push toward a playoff position?
To trade Gasol now will strengthen the franchise's future, especially when considering the ongoing youth development. This will open many additional minutes for Deyonta Davis, Jarell Martin, and Ivan Rabb. Assuming the Grizzlies could notch future Draft pick(s) and/or young prospects in return, a rebuild could be underway.
Right now, Memphis is stuck in an awkward position which stands between the "Grit-'N'-Grind" era and a full rebuilding stage. It is time to take the leap into the team's future.
This will be a long season, so hang in there, Grizz Nation. This team needs the fans more than ever before.