NFL Week One Overreactions, Tigers Fail To Cover, Marc Gasol Back to Memphis | 3-Point Stance

3-Point Stance: NFL Week One Overreactions, Tigers Fail To Cover, Marc Gasol Back to Memphis

Grind City Media’s 3-Point Stance segment is a Skype-styled conversation between 2 friends, with 2 perspectives, on 3 topics from the weekend centered on sports, entertainment and pop-culture presented by MTN Dew. On Episode 88, Jon Roser and Meghan Triplett discuss:

(0:00) Intros
(0:11) NFL Week 1
With the first week of the 2021 NFL season in the books, what are your biggest overreactions from this weekends’ games between the 49ers nearly blowing a 21pt lead, the demolition of the Tennessee Titans, the dismal Atlanta Falcons, and others?

(4:58) College Football Week 2
TSU fell to Jackson State in the Southern Heritage Classic over the weekend while the Memphis Tigers found themselves in a shootout in Jonesboro. What was your favorite moment from college football this weekend?

(8:26) Marc Gasol
It was reported last Friday Marc Gasol was coming home to Memphis in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick and cash ($250,000) after the Grizzlies completed a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers. What is your one-word reaction to the news of the trade?

CFB Championship Game is set, Ravens-Titans Odds, Marc Gasol's Memphis Return | 3-Point Stance

3-Point Stance: CFB Championship Game is set, Ravens-Titans Odds, Marc Gasol’s Memphis Return

Grind City Media’s 3-Point Stance segment is a Skype-styled conversation between 2 friends, with 2 perspectives, on 3 topics from the weekend centered on sports, entertainment and pop-culture presented by MTN Dew. On Episode 57, Jon Roser and Devin Walker discuss:

0:00 Intros

0:30 Alabama vs Ohio State
With Ohio State’s surprise clobbering of Clemson and Alabama’s predictable handling of Notre Dame, the 2021 College Football National Championship game is set between Alabama and Ohio State. If Justin Fields can muster up another huge performance, will it be enough to take on juggernaut Alabama?

4:40 Ravens vs Titans
As the NFL Playoffs are set to begin this week, what are your predictions for Lamar Jackson and Baltimore Ravens odds to upset the Tennessee Titans?

6:55 Marc Gasol’s Return
Grizzlies legend and NBA Champion Marc Gasol made his return to FedExForum for the first time since being traded to the Toronto Raptors in 2019. What was it like having Marc back in a different jersey and were your favorite memories with him on the Grizz.

Lakers reporter Allie Clifton talks Marc Gasol, Lakers-Grizzlies mini-series | Talkin' Grizz

Talkin’ Grizz: Lakers reporter Allie Clifton talks Marc Gasol, Lakers-Grizzlies mini-series

On today’s edition of Talkin’ Grizz, Kelcey Wright Johnson is joined by Allie Clifton, the studio host for Spectrum SportsNet covering the LA Lakers. Kelcey and Allie talk about Marc Gasol’s return to FedExForum and how team’s can capitalize on this year’s NBA schedule.

Chiefs The Frontrunners, Memphis Tigers Basketball Preview, Marc Gasol to Lakers | 3-Point Stance

3-Point Stance: Chiefs The Frontrunners, Memphis Tigers Basketball Preview, Marc Gasol to Lakers

Grind City Media’s 3-Point Stance segment is a Skype-styled conversation between 2 friends, with 2 perspectives, on 3 topics from the weekend centered on sports, entertainment and pop-culture presented by MTN Dew. On Episode 51, Meghan Triplett and Jon Roser discuss:

0:00 Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes pulled out another W in the clutch last night over a very talented Las Vegas Raiders (6-4) team. Is it safe to say that the Kansas City Chiefs (9-1) are the best team in the NFL?

4:00 Tigers Basketball
With college basketball’s return quickly approaching, what are you looking forward to seeing most from this young Tigers team in Coach Penny Hardaway’s third season?

7:30 Marc Gasol
It’s been reported that NBA Champion and Grizzlies legend Marc Gasol is signing a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers coming full-circle with the rejoining the team he was initially drafted to. What are your thoughts on this pickup?

MikeCheck: Four months after deadline deal, decisive moments loom for Raptors, Grizzlies

TORONTO – One win away from his first NBA championship, Marc Gasol casually swished a jumper from the top of the key at the end of Toronto’s practice, walked across the crowded court and submerged himself into a sea of reporters along the baseline for his media session.

The Raptors carry a commanding 3-1 series lead into Game 5 of the Finals tonight against Golden State. With a victory, Toronto will knock off the two-time defending NBA champions and capture the first title in franchise history. So, yes, they’re on the cusp of one of Canada’s biggest sporting achievements.

But, no, the gravity of the moment isn’t overwhelming this team.

“Nothing else matters at this point,” Gasol insists. “How we got here doesn’t matter. It’s all about what we do and doing it the right way over and over right now. We’ve put ourselves in (good) position, playing the right way. This is probably going to be the hardest game we’ve had to play all year.”

Meanwhile, 978 miles to the south, Gasol’s former team is also approaching a pivotal moment that could set the tone for the next several seasons in Memphis. In many ways, the final verdict of the Feb. 7 trade deadline deal that altered the course for both the Raptors and Grizzlies could be determined this week for the two 7-footers who anchored the transaction.

With Gasol within reach of an NBA title and Jonas Valanciunas closing in on Thursday’s contract option decision in Memphis, the trade four months ago can prove to be a win-win for both organizations. Coming off the most productive stretch of his seven-year career after landing in Memphis, Valanciunas can opt into the final year and $17.6 million left on his contract for next season. Or, the Lithuanian center can notify the Grizzlies that he intends to opt out of the last year on his deal and enter free agency July 1.

How we got here doesn’t matter. It’s all about what we do and doing it the right way over and over right now … This is probably going to be the hardest game we’ve had to play all year.

Marc Gasol

Valanciunas has given mixed signals in terms of his intentions. Immediately after the season, he was optimistic about returning to the Grizzlies – either by opting into the final season on his contract or opting out and signing a longer deal to stay. But circumstances in Memphis changed when coach J.B. Bickerstaff was dismissed after the season in April and the Grizzlies landed the No. 2 overall pick in May’s draft lottery for the June 20 NBA Draft.

Valanciunas apparently indicated in Europe-based media reports that he would like to see who the Grizzlies hire as their next coach before he determines his status. The Grizzlies had been conducting follow-up interviews and meetings with top candidates in recent days, but it’s unclear if Memphis is on course to finalize a hiring prior to Valanciunas’ option deadline on Thursday.

What’s evident is that the team’s recently restructured front-office staff has shown keen interest in leading assistant coaches from playoff teams who have strong track records with player development. To that end, Grizzlies executive vice president of basketball operations Zach Kleiman has said the organization is thrilled with the prospect of building around the No. 2 pick and NBA All-Rookie First Team forward Jaren Jackson Jr., the fourth pick in last year’s draft.

Ja Morant answers questions from the media

Ja Morant is interviewed during Day One of the 2019 NBA Draft Combine on May 16, 2019 at the Quest MultiSport Complex in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Jeff Haynes via Getty Images.

On Monday, the Grizzlies wrapped up a two-day visit in Memphis with presumptive No. 2 pick Ja Morant, the Murray State point guard who became the first player in NCAA history to average at least 20 points and 10 assists last season. Morant recently underwent a minor knee scope procedure and is not participating in extensive workouts with top lottery teams during the process leading to next week’s draft.

With Duke’s Zion Williamson expected to go No. 1 overall to New Orleans, Morant has been slotted to land in Memphis by almost every reputable national scouting report and mock draft. Morant was not scheduled to meet with the media during his Memphis visit, but has repeatedly said he’d embrace whichever team selected him in the draft. This marks at least the second time in less than a month the Grizzlies’ top brass has had an exclusive window to meet with Morant.

After emerging from his session with the Grizzlies at last month’s NBA Draft Combine, Morant said he was aware of reports that Memphis has zeroed in on him as their pick. But he also insisted he was not told directly by the Grizzlies at that time that any definitive decision had been made.

“Regardless where I go, I’m going to be the same Ja as I was before the lottery,” Morant said at the time. “I’m going to continue to work, and whichever team drafts me has obviously seen a lot in me, and I’ll be happy to go there. I’m just going to come in and try to make an immediate impact. Not just on the court, but off the court as well – being a positive role model to look up to.”

Beyond the looming decisions on Valanciunas’ contract this week and the likely formality of selecting Morant next week, the Grizzlies are also deliberating options regarding the future of veteran point guard Mike Conley. Both Conley and team officials have been relatively quiet this offseason about potential next steps. The Grizzlies initially expressed interest in trading Conley and Gasol at the February deadline, but ultimately kept the franchise’s career leader in scoring and assists through the end of the season.

Regardless [of] where I go, I’m going to be the same Ja as I was before the lottery. I’m going to continue to work, and whichever team drafts me has obviously seen a lot in me, and I’ll be happy to go there.

Ja Morant

Conley, who has spent his entire 12-year career in Memphis, said after the season he’d prefer to play for a team contending for a deep playoff run and not one entering a rebuild at this stage. Conley has two years remaining on the five-year, $153 million contract that was the richest in NBA history at time he signed to stay with Memphis in 2016.

So plenty of moving pieces remain from the major trade that propelled Gasol into the Finals and the Grizzlies into an immediate future with compelling options. And while much of Memphis is pulling for Toronto, several of the Raptors have not forgotten the contributions of former teammates who were also part of the trade between the two teams.

Jonas Valanciunas attends Game One of Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffs

Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the Memphis Grizzlies attends a game between the Orlando Magic and the Toronto Raptors during Game One of Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on April 13, 2019 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo by Ron Turenne via Getty Images.

Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet have all kept in touch with Valanciunas, Delon Wright and C.J. Miles since the trade and mentioned how vital they were in helping the Raptors develop.

Valanciunas and Lowry entered the season as the longest-tenured Raptors before the trade, having spent six years together. Valanciunas also went back to Toronto after the Grizzlies’ season ended to attend the Raptors’ first-round playoff series. Wright was Toronto’s first-round pick in 2015 and spent time in the development pipeline with Siakam and VanVleet, who have become breakout role players throughout this postseason. And Miles was the steady veteran who displayed leadership and a strong voice in Toronto’s locker room along the way.

“They’re definitely a part of what we created, that blueprint,” Siakam told Grind City Media of Valanciunas, Wright and Miles. “They’ve definitely been a part of that foundation of what Toronto basketball is about. And outside of that, we always keep in contact and remain good friends and I’m sure they’re happy to see us at this level. I talk to Delon most of the time. The connection is always there. And at the end of the day, beyond basketball we’re friends.”

VanVleet echoed that sentiment.

“They contributed to the culture here, to the growth of the young guns for sure and the bench, the way it’s all evolved,” said VanVleet, who plans to share a family vacation later this summer with Miles. “We owe those guys a lot. Their imprints are in this franchise forever and they contributed to this thing just as much as the rest of us.”

They’ve definitely been a part of that foundation of what Toronto basketball is about. And outside of that, we always keep in contact and remain good friends … At the end of the day, beyond basketball we’re friends.

Pascal Siakam

Wright, Valanciunas and Miles each had their best games of the season after they were traded to Memphis. Miles has already opted into the final year of his contract to stay with Memphis and Wright can become a restricted free agent next month, with Memphis in position to match any outside offer.

CJ Miles and Delon Wright

CJ Miles #6 and Delon Wright #2 of the Memphis Grizzlies react to a play during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on March 5, 2019 at FedExForum in Memphis, TN. Photo by Joe Murphy via Getty Images.

While Wright was encouraged by his late-season play – he finished with three triple-doubles in his last four games for Memphis – he also wonders what might have been had he maintained a role in Toronto. Still, tonight will play out like most nights when the Finals are on. Wright will gather with a few friends in Los Angeles around a big-screen TV somewhere for Game 5. He’ll laugh, reminisce and root for the Raptors to win.

“It’s bittersweet because we were just with them a couple of months ago and now they’re in the Finals,” Wright said. “Ever since I’ve been there, I felt like we were so close, but we just couldn’t get past LeBron James. And now they’re where we’ve been trying to reach all of those seasons. But it’s been fun to watch. They’re there and so close to winning it all. I’m just happy for them.”

So much has happened since the Feb. 7 trade deadline for both teams.

One squad is eager to move one step toward a title in the NBA Finals.

The other is finally eager to step decisively forward into a bright future.

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Memphis Grizzlies. All opinions expressed by Michael Wallace are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Memphis Grizzlies or its Basketball Operations staff, owners, parent companies, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Memphis Grizzlies and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

MikeCheck: Boosted by Memphis and ‘Core Four’ brothers, Gasol relishes first taste of NBA Finals

MEMPHIS – On the verge of making the first NBA Finals appearance of his 11-year NBA career up in Toronto, Marc Gasol wanted to make at least two things very clear about his journey.

First, the 34-year-old center wouldn’t change one step he’s taken on the path that got him there. And secondly, he’s got plenty of room along this Finals ride for folks in Memphis who still support him as well as those in Toronto he’s hoping to help lift to the NBA championship.

“I still run into a lot of people from Memphis, all around the NBA,” Gasol told Grind City Media. “I feel like they’re with me every game. I feel their love, their support, their pushing. I know they still cheer for me. They let me know they cheer for me. And there’s a part of them with me in every game I play.”

The next game Gasol plays will be the biggest to date of his career when the Raptors face the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday in Toronto. And much of Memphis essentially will be right there with him. While Memphis has recently ranked among the nation’s top-five TV viewership markets for the postseason and NBA Finals ratings, expect even more of a spike with Gasol literally at the center of the action.

Toronto Raptors center Marc Gasol #33 takes questions prior to Game One of the 2019 NBA Finals

Memphis Grizzlies players, from left, Mike Conley #11, Zach Randolph #50, Tony Allen #9 and Marc Gasol #33 walk to the sideline for a timeout while playing the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2013 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2013 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Photo by Joe Murphy / NBAE via Getty Images.

As a three-time NBA All-Star and 2013 Defensive Player of the Year, Gasol is the most decorated player in Grizzlies franchise history. He partnered with current Memphis point guard Mike Conley and former Grizz icons Zach Randolph and Tony Allen as the ‘Core Four’ that grit ‘n’ grinded to seven straight playoff appearances in the most successful run in franchise history.

That group peaked in 2013 with the franchise’s lone trip to the Western Conference finals, where the Grizzlies were swept by then-burgeoning star Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs. A year later, San Antonio would win its fifth NBA title in a span of 15 seasons as one of the NBA’s rare dynasties. Ironically, both Gasol and Leonard are now teammates tasked with dethroning the league’s current dynasty in the Warriors, a three-time champion and the first team in 50 years to play in five straight NBA Finals.

“You’ve got to grind it out always,” Gasol said of the obstacles the tough-minded Raptors continue to face, even evoking a familiar moniker that described his former team’s DNA. “I kept telling these guys, there’s a little bit of grit and grind in that (Toronto) locker room now.”

After the Raptors closed out a six-game series win over the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, Gasol told reporters that he’s symbolically carrying former teammates, namely Conley, Randolph and Allen, with him onto the next challenge in the Finals. Conley immediately responded on social media to congratulate Gasol. The message from Gasol also resonated strongly with Allen, who appreciated the sentiment and responded both during and after his weekly appearance on Grind City Media’s Chris Vernon Show.

I feel like they’re with me every game. I feel their love, their support, their pushing. I know they still cheer for me. They let me know they cheer for me. And there’s a part of them with me in every game I play.

Marc Gasol

Allen reached the NBA Finals twice with Boston, including winning a title in 2008, before joining the Grizzlies. Conley and Randolph have yet to make it past the conference finals, so Allen could definitely feel the sincerity in Gasol’s words.

“He’s my brother, and it just feels like my brother is speaking to us a long way from home,” Allen said of Gasol. “It’s one of those situations where it’s like your brother goes off to college and he graduates – it’s one of those types of feelings. You just get excited and happy for the moment.”

Allen is among the ‘Core Four’ teammates who regularly texts Gasol during the playoffs. The Raptors’ postseason path began with Gasol successfully defending All-Star Nikola Vucevic in a five-game series win over Orlando in the first round and then a hard-fought battle with Joel Embiid that ended with Gasol compassionately consoling the Sixers’ All-NBA center after Game 7.

And then came the resilient performances against the Bucks, who held a 2-0 series lead before Leonard took over with dominant play and Gasol contributed his best outing with 16 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks in a Game 3 win to spark the rally. Gasol then followed 17 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two blocks in Game 4 to help even the series for the Raptors, who eventually won four straight.

Toronto Raptors center Marc Gasol #33 takes questions prior to Game One of the 2019 NBA Finals

Toronto Raptors center Marc Gasol #33 takes questions as the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors host open practice and media day on the eve of the NBA Finals in Toronto. May 29, 2019. Photo by Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images.

“After a tough Game 2 personally, you wanted to come out and get rid of the bad taste you had that pretty much sticks to your stomach for 48 hours,” Gasol said during a postgame appearance on TNT midway through the Raptors-Bucks series. “You look back on tape and you say, ‘Well, I should have been aggressive here and I wasn’t.’ And the times I was aggressive, I was misreading the situation. I was rushing some shots. I’m trying to find my place on the floor, but first I have to look at the basket and what my team needs. That’s what the team needs. You can be selfish by being too unselfish at times.  I’m a team guy, obviously. When a team needs me to be aggressive, I have to be aggressive.”

Allen has seen Gasol struggle with that balance throughout his time with the Grizzlies. But he’s also monitored recent games and has seen Gasol gradually regain some defensive timing and instincts that once defined his peak as the Grizzlies’ interior anchor. Gasol is averaging 8.6 points and shooting 40 percent on threes in the playoffs. His defensive presence and intelligence have made a significant difference. Per 100 possessions, the Raptors are a plus+5 with Gasol on the court in the playoffs and a minus-2 when he’s off the floor. He’s averaged 31.2 minutes over 18 playoff games.

“I definitely text him everything that I see as far as the game goes,” Allen said of Gasol. “So it’s good that he’s said (we’re right there with him). Because I see some of the things that me and him used to talk about in Memphis defensively. And to see him over there with one of the greatest defenders in the world in Kawhi Leonard as well as Serge Ibaka and Danny Green, I’m just excited to see that defensive mindset and that camaraderie that they have on the defensive end.”

Whereas Leonard arrived last summer in a blockbuster trade from the Spurs, Gasol departed Memphis at the Feb. 7 trade deadline in exchange for Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright and C.J. Miles. Key players in both trades had promising or productive seasons, but the Raptors’ gamble to go all in for a shot at the NBA title has cashed in. They have a chance to win it all. And if all goes well, Gasol would finally add a NBA title to those two EuroBasket championships and the FIBA World Cup he won internationally as a star member of Spanish national teams since 2006.

It’s one of those situations where it’s like your brother goes off to college and he graduates – it’s one of those types of feelings. You just get excited and happy for the moment.

Tony Allen

Gasol hasn’t forgotten anyone or anything that’s helped put him in position to move from a Grizzlies team transitioning between eras to a Raptors squad in full win-now mode. Both Leonard and Gasol have options this summer to test free agency. As it stands, Toronto enters the Finals with the NBA’s fourth-highest payroll, and Gasol holds the team’s second-highest salary at $24.1 million this season. His $25.6 million option for the 2019-2020 season is the last year of the deal he originally signed with Memphis in 2015.

Gasol hasn’t given any indication of his future plans, but he’s well aware of both his place in the offseason business pecking order behind Leonard as well as his current role on the court in the Finals alongside Toronto’s catalyst. That said, the Warriors’ penchant for going small and speeding up the pace could also impact the extent of Gasol’s role in the series. For instance, the Raptors may use the quicker and more athletic Ibaka at center instead of the more cerebral and methodical Gasol in stages.

Marc Gasol and rapper, Drake, celebrate after Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals

Marc Gasol #33 of the Toronto Raptors and rapper, Drake, celebrate after a game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors after Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals on May 25, 2019 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images.

The Raptors have faced this dilemma along the way since Gasol arrived from Memphis.

And for Gasol, the solution is always very simple: Whatever it takes to win.

That was the case in Game 56 of the regular season when he got to Toronto.

It’s the case entering Game 1 of the first NBA Finals of his career.

“Every game goes its own way, has its own wrinkles,” Gasol said. “You’ve got to be ready for whatever is thrown at you. It’s one possession at a time. You can’t overthink it. Take the shots when they’re there, attack the paint, when it’s not there move the ball, help out and do your job defensively. It’s not complicated. And that’s been what’s worked for us throughout the playoffs.”

Now, there’s one more gigantic step to go. And Memphis will be largely taking it with these Raptors, who boast two national imports with deep ties to the Bluff City. It’s where Gasol has been grinding since prep school. And where Drake garnered his performance grit on childhood visits to his dad, who was a Memphis-based musician.

These northern and southern cities are separated by 978 miles and the US-Canadian border.

For this NBA Finals matchup, they’ll be connected on the court by No. 33.

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Memphis Grizzlies. All opinions expressed by Michael Wallace are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Memphis Grizzlies or its Basketball Operations staff, owners, parent companies, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Memphis Grizzlies and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

#IMHO: Greatest Grizzlies Player of All Time

#IMHO: Greatest Grizzlies Player of All Time

Grind City Media’s Lang Whitaker and Michael Wallace debate who they think deserves the title of the greatest Grizzlies player of all-time.

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#IMHO: NBA Trade Deadline Winners and Losers

#IMHO: NBA Trade Deadline Winners and Losers

Grind City Media’s Lang Whitaker and Jon Roser discuss the Marc Gasol trade to the Raptors and who were the biggest winners and losers in Thursday’s trade deadline.

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#IMHO: Trade Deadline Madness

Grind City Media’s Lang Whitaker and Michael Wallace have been covering the NBA since shorts were short and socks were long, but their opinions about the League don’t always mesh. #IMHO is their weekly chance to weigh in on the most pertinent news from around the NBA. What’s lit? What’s lame? Find out each week right here.


From: Lang Whitaker


Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2019 9:25 AM


To: Michael Wallace


Subject: #IMHO

It never fails: As soon as you publish an article, everything goes haywire. Last week, just moments after we got IMHO posted on the interwebs, word broke that maybe Kristaps Porzingis wasn’t all that happy in New York. Within what seemed like an hour, all of a sudden Porzingis had been traded to the Mavericks.

I was living in New York when the Knicks drafted Porzingis, and while Knicks fans had their doubts about him at the time, he met everyone’s highest hopes. It was fun watching him grow and embrace the city, and getting to see the city embrace him back.

What I don’t understand is why the Knicks didn’t fully embrace him back. I get it that Porzingis suffered an injury and his future looks to be, at worst, maybe a touch cloudy, but shipping him off to Dallas for what will essentially be cap space seems like a rash move, especially when free agency is still months away.

Over the last two decades, we’ve watched the Knicks over and over again not have the patience to fully commit to building something from the ground up. Is this another example of that? Or is this the Knicks clearing the decks to bring in a couple of big catches in free agency?

Kristaps Porzingis


From: Michael Wallace


Sent: Wednesday, February 6, 2019 10:41 AM


To: Lang Whitaker


Subject: RE: #IMHO

The Knicks haven’t built anything from the ground up in seemingly forever. They played the cap space game in the summer of 2010, when they targeted LeBron James – and missed. They’re doubling down this time by creating a record amount of cap space to sign two free agents to major max deals, this time targeting Kevin Durant with Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker.

Porzingis never seemed to buy into this current Knicks front office or coaching staff as he rehabbed from the torn ACL that’s kept him out the past year. When he blew off the exit interviews last year, that much was starting to become clear. At worst, the Knicks will have swapped Porzingis for Dennis Smith Jr., one lottery pick for another, and also gained enough cap space to fill out the roster with decent pieces. At best, New York may end up hitting the NBA lottery (landing potential No. 1 pick Zion Williamson, plus two max free agents – and Dennis Smith Jr.).

But Lang, here’s the larger issue. We’ve got teams now tearing down potential playoff squads today to punt on the postseason, essentially, in favor of chasing salary cap space for the summer pursuit of top free agents. That’s basically what the Clippers just did by dealing their best player, Tobias Harris, to Philly while in playoff position. I get why the struggling Knicks did what they did. They’re going nowhere this season. But are the Clippers making a bit of a mistake doing this now, especially with Harris becoming a free agent this summer anyway? Or do the future draft picks for a player on an expiring contract make the Clippers look brilliant?

Tobias Harris


From: Lang Whitaker


Sent: Thursday, February 7, 2019 2:15 PM


To: Michael Wallace


Subject: RE: #IMHO

Well Mike, seems to me that the Clippers made a lot of…*RECORD SCRATCH SOUND*

THE GRIZZ TRADED MARC GASOL!

The NBA trade deadline passed about 15 minutes before I sent this to you, and after sitting out last season’s trade deadline market, this season the Grizz were hyperactive, moving out several rotation players (including Shelvin Mack, Garrett Temple, JaMychal Green) in a group headlined by Marc Gasol, one of the franchise cornerstones and a guy who had only ever played in the NBA with the Grizzlies.

Now Marc is gone. What does that mean for this city and, more importantly, the Grizzlies franchise?

Marc Gasol, Shelvin Mack, and Garrett Temple


From: Michael Wallace


Sent: Thursday, February 7, 2019 4:04 PM


To: Lang Whitaker


Subject: #IMHO

Either the room or my head is still spinning as I try to process what the final hour leading into the trade deadline was like for the Grizzlies. It never feels right to trade the best player in franchise history. But the Grizzlies and Marc Gasol had grown apart and needed a split. Make no mistake about it, Gasol will still call Memphis home and will forever have a place in the organization. And the Grizzlies will soon hang Marc’s No. 33 to the FedExForum rafters as soon as he’s done playing.

But it was time both moved in new directions. The Grizzlies landed some pieces in Jonas Valanciunas and Delon Wright who could be rotation players moving forward. And C.J. Miles is a 3-point shooting veteran who can help in the interim. But Marc’s legacy will always loom large over this franchise. Counting Pau, a Gasol has been on the Grizzlies’ roster every seasons since they arrived from Vancouver.

Lang, now that the NBA trade deadline is behind us, what was the best move made among them all? I say Tobias Harris to the Sixers, because it stands to be the most impactful of them all THIS season. Harris was a borderline All-Star, and he now gives the Sixers one of the best starting groups in the East. The arms race will be fun to watch down the stretch as we head to the playoffs.

Marc Gasol


From: Lang Whitaker


Sent: Thursday, February 7, 2019 4:19 PM


To: Michael Wallace


Subject: #IMHO

As much as I dislike losing Marc, I love the trade that the Raptors made, and while I know Milwaukee also got better by adding Mirotic, I think adding Marc makes Toronto the favorite in the Eastern Conference this season.

And as sad as it is to see Marc leave, I’m glad he’ll be on a team that will have the chance to compete for a title. Marc will always be beloved here in Memphis. He was such a part of this community, and it feels like everyone has a Marc Gasol story, of running into him at the supermarket or seeing him grabbing dinner with his family. Here’s one of my Marc stories:

Last week at the end of the Grizzlies win over the Pacers, my six-year-old son and I headed down to the courtside studio where Alexis Morgan and I tape the Grind City Rewind following each home game. We got there a little early, and I realized we were standing along the tunnel where the players run off the court on their way to the locker room, so I had my son line up at the rope barrier alongside all the other fans so he could high-five the players.

Several guys ran off and delivered fives, from Garrett Temple to Bruno Caboclo, and then came Marc, who stopped along the way and signed a few autographs and even hugged a couple of fans. My son kind of got caught in the shuffle of all the people around, and Marc didn’t notice him as he headed on back to the locker room. And then for some reason, Marc spun around and jogged back from the locker room to where all the fans were standing, and he ran right up to my son and handed him his towel. My son immediately clutched that towel to his face and fell asleep holding it that night on our drive home.

Marc didn’t do it because it was my son – he couldn’t even see me in the background – Marc just did it because that’s the kind of person he is. And that’s the kind of person he’ll continue to be, only this time north of the border.

Speaking on behalf of a city full of people who love and respect you, you will be missed.

Thank you. For everything.

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Memphis Grizzlies. All opinions expressed by Lang Whitaker and Michael Wallace are solely their own and do not reflect the opinions of the Memphis Grizzlies or its Basketball Operations staff, owners, parent companies, partners or sponsors. Their sources are not known to the Memphis Grizzlies and they have no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

MEMvMIN: Grind City Rewind - 2.5.19

MEMvMIN: Grind City Rewind – 2.5.19

Grind City Media’s Lang Whitaker and Alexis Morgan break down the Grizzlies 108-106 home victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves at FedExForum on Tuesday, February 5.

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