The Trades That Didn't Happen?



Commercial Appeal beat writer Ron Tillery delivered a doozy of a blog post today about trade offers that didn't come to fruition.

This is juicy enough to go through one by one and take a look at:

The Grizzlies had agreed in principle to acquire power forward Zach Randolph Thursday night but Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling later nixed the trade, according to two NBA sources.

During the NBA draft, executives from both teams hammered out a package with Randolph and Darko Milicic as the key pieces. Griz guard Greg Buckner would also have been included in the transaction.

The Griz ended up dealing Milicic to the New York Knicks for swingman Quentin Richardson after they waited on a final answer from the Clippers and received a curious no.


And aside from Randolph's off-the-court, character issues, the deal could have been costly for the Griz.

The 6-9 beefy scorer and rebounder is owed more than $33 million over the next two seasons. With Milicic entering the final year of a deal that pays $7.5 this season, the Griz would have absorbed more than $22 million in additional costs when the final math was completed on the deal.

Okay, in all honesty this is the only one of the bunch of which I have independent knowledge. I got tipped to some kind of Randolph deal last night and was able to confirm that there was a trade offer involving Randolph that the Clippers turned down. At the time I assumed it was a last-ditch effort to get Blake Griffin, because I couldn't imagine any other Randolph-to-the-Grizzlies scenario that the Clippers would reject.

I didn't get the full (as far as I know, anyway) details until today, but at that time I was away from my computer and by the time I had a chance to blog, Chris Vernon had already posted it. The version I heard is the one Vernon reports, that the deal was Marko Jaric and Greg Buckner for Randolph, not Darko Milicic. And that the Clippers nixed it because they wanted Milicic and refused to take back Jaric, who started his NBA career with the Clippers.

That is the nixed deal as I understand it, which I find curious from both ends: If the Grizzlies really wanted Randolph, would they really not have done the deal with Darko? (Or was the agreement with the Knicks already set in stone by then?) And the Clippers not wanting to save $20 million and get rid of Randolph? Strange but true: This deal was on the table and the Clippers were the team that said no.

I'm glad it didn't happen — I think Randolph is poison — but am also encouraged by what it suggests: The Heisley is willing to spend right now if he can be convinced it will matter. I will explore this notion in much more detail in my big post-draft offseason preview sometime later this weekend.

For now, let's take a quick look at the rest of Tillery's reported trade talks:

The Phoenix Suns, who tried to move Amare Stoudamire to Memphis at last season's trade deadline, was at it again. This time, the Suns wanted Rudy Gay and the No. 2 overall pick for Stoudemire.

This seems plausible to me as it's similar to the kinds of Stoudamire discussions before the trade deadline. That the Grizzlies didn't do it is, I assume, because the deal would not come with a contract extension. Without that in place, that is too much to risk on a potential one-year rental.

Boston tried to entice the Grizzlies twice. The Celtics offered Brian Scalabrine, Tony Allen and a choice of J.R. Giddens or Bill Walker for the Grizzlies' 36th pick and cash considerations.

Small-time stuff that the team would have been right to turn down.

The Celtics' best offer for the Grizzlies' No. 2 pick only included center Kendrick Perkins.

This had been previously reported. I find it plausible that the Celtics offered it and that the Griz turned it down.

Miami offered Michael Beasley for the second pick, and served up Mario Chalmers for the 27th selection.

Okay, here's where we have a problem. I think Tillery has been a very cautious and accurate reporter, but I'm very skeptical about these Miami deals. After giving up multiple assets to obtain Chalmers last year and seeing him have such a strong rookie season, I can't imagine Miami wanting to give him up for the #27 pick in a weak draft. (Possible exception: If they were targeting Dajuan Blair?) Further, given the Grizzlies need for a back-up point guard, why would they turn this down? They've claimed there was no promise to DeMarre Carroll at #27, but that would be the only explanation. Again, I'm skeptical about this.

As for Beasley: The Grizzlies tried hard to get Beasley a year ago and still have a gaping hole at power forward. Given the team's obvious willingness to deal the #2 pick for the right return, I can't imagine the Grizzlies would have turned down Beasley for the pick straight up. This would make more sense if the Heat were asking for more than just the pick. I'll be interested to see how Miami reacts to this when it hits the Hoops Hype rumors page tomorrow.

One of Houston's overtures for the second pick included Tracy McGrady. Another Rockets attempt to move up involved former Griz Shane Battier and Carl Landry as well as other pieces. But Houston also wanted Gay.

Memphis declined.

There were previous reports about Houston offers, one including McGrady and Aaron Brooks and one involving Brooks and Battier. I can certainly believe Houston making those offers and the Grizzlies turning them down. Battier and Landry for the #2 and Rudy Gay? Would Darryl Morey — who has gone public with his respect for Chris Wallace — really make that kind of laughable offer? I dunno.

The Grizzlies could have picked up San Antonio forward Fabricio Oberto for their 27th pick. Memphis tried to acquire the No. 5 overall pick from Washington by packaging the 27th and 36th selections. The Wizards balked because the Griz wouldn't accept Etan Thomas and Mike James.

This all sounds plausible.

Cleveland (via Daniel Gibson and JJ Hickson), Charlotte (via Emeka Okafor and Nazr Mohammed), Dallas (via Josh Howard) and Oklahoma City (via Nick Collison) also made attempts to grab the No. 2 pick.

Again, I have no independent knowledge of any of this except for the Randolph deal, but I can certainly believe the Grizzlies turning down all these deals assuming they were offered.

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