Both the Grizzlies and Nets played their final games on Sunday. Memphis was swept by the West’s top seed, Phoenix. New Jersey was swept by the East’s top seed, Miami. Neither team looked particularly strong, either.
Memphis may have a totally new look next year. For the most part, these guys were with the team as they moved to Tennessee from Canada. They are the only NBA stars the city of Memphis knows. However, there will most likely be some changes. The team had it’s bad moments this past season. Coach Hubie Brown retires due to health problems mid-season. Announcer Don Poier passed away. There were player revolts, fans booing, problems with local media and uncertainty hovering over them.
You may not realize it...but Memphis had the FIFTH largest payroll in the NBA this past season. Only the Knicks [inflated contracts], Blazers [inflated contracts], Sixers [Iverson and Webber] and Mavericks [Mark Cuban] had higher payrolls. The Grizz had an unheard of 16 guys that made a least $1M last year. They have 9 guys making at least $5M [no one makes more than $7.7M].
The team has an $8M option on Bonzi Wells, their highest paid player. I’m pretty sure that’s a no. He’s been a problem since Jerry West traded for him last season...even getting benched for this Sunday’s game. Bo Outlaw’s $6.5M salary [who in the heck signed that deal?] is off the books. Stromile Swift is a free agent...and will most likely look elsewhere. Shane Battier is most likely gone as well. So...that’s a ton of cap space, right? Nope. Paul Gasol’s salary jumps from $4.3M this year to $10.9M next year. The team still will have SEVEN guys making at least $5.5M next year. And with the Wolves, Lakers, Clippers and Warriors just missing the playoffs...Memphis has a tough fight ahead to stay in their "Golden Grizzly Era".
The New Jersey Nets are in the process of moving. Soon, they will leave behind the swamp lands for the big city of Brooklyn. What shape will they take?
They like big men Krstic and Collins....but they need a little more scoring and athleticism at that spot...since they dealt away Kenyon Martin. They also need a shooter...since the dealt Kerry Kittles away to the Clippers last off-season. They will really have to search to find guys to fill these rolls...as they don’t really seem to be big spenders...even though they’ll have cap room. They’ll really have to look at the draft for possibilities here.
They also could lose Brian Scalabrine, Travis Best, Clifford Robinson, Rodney Buford and Jabari Smith. Don’t think that Jason Kidd couldn’t really be dealt, either. The Lakers may dabble Odom and some change [and maybe Butler] for Kidd. There will be other suitors as well. But with money tied up in Jefferson and now Carter....Kidd could finally be moved.
NEXT TO BE VOTED OFF? The Sixers and Kings can both be eliminated Tuesday night.