Memphis Withdraws Offer to Hakim Warrick; Iverson Incoming?
If I then informed you that that same team, according to ESPN, had decided to rescind a qualifying offer for a player who had been not only productive off the bench, but could play multiple positions for the depth-challenged team, who was a popular teammate among a young locker room, who always brought a good work ethic, and who they could have released a month earlier into free agency waters, you'd have to wonder if this team was possibly run by deranged clowns, potentially hailing from outer space.
But if I then told you that the team was the Memphis Grizzlies, you'd just nod your head and say, "Of course."
On the surface, the Grizzlies decision to rescind their qualifying offer to restricted free agent Hakim Warrick makes tons of sense. They now have Zach Randolph, in all his 20 and 10 glory. They have Marc Gasol and Hasheem Thabeet. What do they need with an undersized four who's only a year younger and has struggled to get minutes on a very below average team?
But then, on the surface, the Grizzlies should barely be in business at this point. Yet here they are, shedding payroll to make room for a big name free agent who may or may not be signed.
Warrick for all of his tweenerhood was a hard worker, and a guy that you could rely on to know where he was at on both ends of the floor. He was known as a high energy guy who came to play every game, a total professional, and at 27, still has some tiny room for growth.
The argument could be made that Warrick would tend to get lost on possessions, but that was often the result of either poor coaching on a play or personnel basis, or a misguided effort by Warrick to try and do too much. Of course, if we're going to talk about trying to do too much, I will have to refer the court to Exhibit A in the infamous case, Randolph v. How To Play Good Basketball, Ever.
What's worse is how little Warrick would have cost them. $3 million for a team that's so far under the cap, they could do something crazy. Like trade for Zach Randolph, again. Warrick will now hit them up for $6.2 million in cap space this year, unless they formally renounce his rights or land a sign and trade, which isn't too likely considering they just bottomed out his value in the market.
For Warrick, though, this could end up pretty well. There are a number of teams that would benefit from Warrick's length and athleticism, as well as his work ethic. The Dallas Mavericks, having lost out on both Brandon Bass and Marcin Gortat, for example. Warrick's not going to light it up, but he can certainly be a contributer for the right team.
And what will the Grizzlies do with their $3 million in actual money they save on this deal? Stein's report leans heavily in the direction of The Answer, Allen Iverson, currently exiled from contenders like he was Napoleon and the NBA Playoffs were the rest of freaking Europe. Because really, when you're a team with a retread head coach and a young, impressionable squad who's biggest star at the moment is a player who the Los Angeles Clippers decided they were too good for? You want to bring in another head case who's almost certainly going to be overpaid and who has said he wants a strong coach.
In the Memphis Grizzlies' War on Fans, tonight was not a deciding victory for the boys in blue, but they've definitely flanked their opponent and are headed for engagement.