The Memphis Grizzlies are coming off of another impressive season in which they finished with a winning record and a playoff berth. Although the season did end in disappointing fashion, with a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Grizzlies are still an uber talented team that possess multiple options at both ends of the floor.
In today's editions of the HQ's running series "Who'd You Rather Be?" Scott Campsall examines the Memphis Grizzlies and how they compare to the hometown Raptors.
However, given their inability to enter that upper echelon of teams in the competitive Western Conference, the pressure is officially on to challenge for a title within the next few season.
Does this put the Grizzlies in a more or less favorable position that the one the Raptors are currently in? We will find out in today’s edition of "Who Would You Rather Be"
This may be the first time in our running series that the Raptors actually have an advantage in this category. Memphis has never been known as a particularly large market, and have never been a big free agent destination.They have built the majority of their team through the draft and the trade market, without having to draw any big name free agents—a model that the Raptors should pay attention to when looking to build a winner in their own regard.
I think the difference in terms of marketability between these two cities is the fact that that Toronto is actually quite a large media market, which makes the world of difference for players once they actually get to Toronto. I am not so sure the same can be said for Memphis.
This is almost as one-sided as it gets in this series. The Grizzlies have an All-Star center in Marc Gasol, a former All-Star in Zach Randolph and another potential All-Star talent in Rudy Gay all in their starting lineup. They also have a very solid point guard in Mike Conley and one of the best sixth men in the league in O.J Mayo. I don’t really think I need to go any farther than that to declare the Grizzlies the winner of this category.
This is perhaps the most interesting of all our categories with regards to this current debate.
On one side you have Chris Wallace, the General Manager of the Memphis Grizzlies. Wallace has been widely regarded as one of the worst GM’s for many years—talk that came to a head with the infamous Pau Gasol trade, a move that actually turned out to be a decent one for the Grizzlies. However, recently Wallace has been able to assemble a perennial playoff team that on it’s good days, has all the looks of a title contender.
On the other side you have Bryan Colangelo, a GM who had been widely regarded as one of the best for many years before failing to properly build around Chris Bosh. Now, Colangelo and the Raptors are in quite the rut, and until B.C shows that he can help the Dinos climb out of that rut, then he can’t possibly get the nod over the GM of a playoff team.
One of the biggest things that the Raptors have going for them—as we have accounted many times during this series—is their financial flexibility.
Unfortunately for the Grizzlies this is not something that they have in common with the Raptors. The Grizzlies will have somewhere around $62 Million in salaries committed to their roster for the 2012-2013 season. The Grizzlies have Mark Gasol, Rudy Gay and Mike Conley all locked into expensive deals through the 2014-2015 season in addition to Zach Randolph, who has a player option for the 2013-2014 season and O.J Mayo who will be a restricted free agent this offseason and could commend a hefty salary on the open market.
In short, barring some sort of salary-slashing trade the Grizzlies will be capped out for the foreseeable future. This gives the Dinos a much more favorable financial situation as it currently stands.
Although the Dinos do have significantly more financial flexibility than the Grizzlies have, and play in a better market, neither of those facts count for much if the Raptors are unable to build a winner with that flexibility in that market.
It is for that reason that the Grizzlies are in a much better position as a franchise. They have the talent in place to compete for the playoffs year after year and also a number of tradable pieces at their disposal should they attempt to make a move to improve their fortunes.