Scott gave his take earlier today on which team he'd prefer to be at present, and as we've been doing in this series, we now turn it over to the opponent for their take. In this case, it's Tom Lorenzo from SB Nation's Memphis Grizzlies' blog, Straight Outta Vancouver!
This was certainly interesting because in a way, while we're not truly connected in the sense of any rivalry, geographical location or player/personnel exchanges, seeing as both the Grizzlies and the Raptors entered the NBA back in 1995 there still seems to be some connection between the two franchises. You've had your moments, we've had ours. And we're both still looking for that one run, that title, but we're still young enough to where it's not as if we need to start wearing the "failed franchise" tag.
As for who I'd rather be, I think I'd still stick with the Grizzlies, especially if you're making the "win now" argument. Our team over the next five seasons is already built for a title run. Marc Gasol, our lone All-Star this season, has developed among the most efficient and effective big men in the game. Mike Conley also really developed his game this season, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay continue to be borderline All-Stars. All four of those guys are signed at least through the 2014-15 season. Now, is that a title contending core? It's a start. What you put around them can turn this team from simply being a tough playoff out to being a title contender. I mean, had we been able to add a shooter or two to this year's team.... Well, that's another story.
Market-wise, there aren't many teams who can make the argument that their market is smaller than ours -- man that doesn't sound flattering at all. But that's not to say I envy the Toronto market, in the same way one would Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, etc.
As for flexibility, I think Toronto is probably positioned better. You guys have young assets and cash to spend. The best we can offer anyone is the mid-level exception, the 25th pick in this year's draft, Rudy Gay and the $55 million he has left on his contract or a sign-and-trade deal for O.J. Mayo. The Toronto assets are much more desirable. We do have Marc Gasol, who is a highly desirable asset, and Tony Allen, who probably is among the top assets in the NBA -- because he's one of the game's top perimeter defenders and has one year and $3 million left on his contract -- but both of those guys are pretty much untouchable. So, we're at a standstill with the assets we are willing to give up, which, again, aren't all that appealing.
Overall, though, I think I'd stick with the Memphis Grizzlies, for the simple fact that I know we're going to compete over the next 3-4 years as currently constructed. I have no doubt that the Raptors are well on their way toward joining the ranks of playoff-contending teams in the East, but we're there, and for that I would rather an established team like the Grizzlies with its core (Conley-Gasol-Randolph-Gay) over the Raptors.