The Memphis Grizzlies have made it to the postseason five consecutive seasons in a row. Included in those appearances, is a trip to the Western Conference Finals in which they got swept by the San Antonio Spurs 4-0. The Grizzlies almost have all that is needed for a team to contend for a world title year in and year out. As of right now the Grizzlies are missing one critical piece to their roster. That piece is a superstar that can change the outcome of a ball game with a blank of an eye.
The reason the Grizzlies could not capitalize on their 2-1 lead against the Warriors is because they did not have a player with the likes of LeBron James or Kevin Durant to close out the series. The Grizzlies have built a contending team around Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, and Mike Conley though the trio was never quite healthy enough to reach the NBA Finals despite Gasol and Conley’s persistent growth. Gasol and Randolph may be the supreme interior duo; however it may be time for a change.
The Grizzlies need to part ways with power forward Zach Randolph and make an attempt to lure prized free agent LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trail Blazers. Aldridge would be a huge upgrade from Randolph in regards to playing the power forward position. The one thing that all of those teams had that the Grizzlies lost to in the playoffs is that they had players that can close out ball games.
Zach Randolph is the heart and soul of the Grizzlies ball club, but he is not the one to lean on if you need to put up 38 points in a crucial game seven matchup if needed. Another aspect of Aldridge’s game is that he can play the center position if needed; however, that will not be the case because the Grizzlies have Marc Gasol. It has been reported that Gasol will resign with the Grizzlies, but will entertain offers from other teams.
As of right now, no concrete decision has been made. There may be a roadblock in the Grizzlies possible pursuit of Aldridge. Rumor has it that the 6’11 power forward out of the University of Texas is the number one free agent prospect on the San Antonio Spurs radar. The fact that Aldridge is a Texas native adds another factor to the Spurs being the prime candidate to land the coveted free agent.
If the Grizzlies can somehow add LaMarcus Aldridge to the lineup, the front office would probably ask Marc Gasol to accept less money to return to the team. Making lots of money, or the sacrifice to win a championship, would come into place for Gasol if the decision to sign Aldridge comes to pass. In seasons past, we have seen superstars such as Dwayne Wade take less money to win championships. As of right now we do not know if the same intentions will apply to Gasol.
ESPN’S Bradford Doolittle compares the Grizzlies’ current situation to that of the Dallas Mavericks, who would put up 50 or even 60 wins in the regular season but struggled to show up in the postseason. Finally, after patience and making some adjustments to their roster, the Mavs finally took home the title in 2011. Does the same strategy apply to the Grizzlies? We’ll find out soon enough.
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