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[Commerical Appeal] Griz roster gets a makeover

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Yaowaming, Jun 29, 2006.

  1. Yaowaming

    Yaowaming Contributing Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Likes Received:

    Griz roster gets a makeover

    Battier traded to Rockets for No. 8 pick Gay, Swift
    By Ronald Tillery
    June 29, 2006

    Independence Day is about a week away.
    But Grizzlies president Jerry West delivered on his draft-day promise.

    He lit a firecracker or two under the franchise and ended Wednesday night with a bang.
    Before using their 24th pick in the NBA draft to select Villanova point guard Kyle Lowry, the Grizzlies traded forward Shane Battier to Houston, and re-acquired forward/center Stromile Swift and the draft rights to the eighth pick, Rudy Gay.

    NBA rules prohibit the Grizzlies from discussing the deal until it is finalized July 12. Insiders said the trade was contingent on Gay's availability at No. 8. The Griz were also hoping to grab Connecticut's Marcus Williams at No 24. But they chose Lowry when Williams went 22nd to New Jersey.

    Capping an aggressive night, the Griz landed beefy forward Alexander Johnson of Florida State in the second round. Memphis acquired Johnson (taken No. 45 in second round) from Portland in exchange for a 2008 second-round pick.

    Indiana selected Johnson and traded his rights to Portland before the deal with Memphis.

    Overall, the Griz got younger, more athletic and tougher.

    Consider this Phase One of an offseason plan to satisfy fan outcry for improving the Grizzlies' style of play.

    "We've had an exciting night," said an exuberant West. "We've added an athletic component to our game."

    Speculation swirled in NBA circles for weeks that West would move Battier in order to satisfy certain needs. West didn't flinch Wednesday night, and swapped Battier for the rights to a player some considered among the top two players in the draft.

    The deal -- agreed to in principle -- became more intriguing with the Swift reunion. Swift quickly became a disappointment with the Rockets, who made him their big-name free agent last summer.

    Part of Swift's Houston problems had to do with his talent not fitting the system. West, though, never soured on Swift. The Grizzlies simply didn't want to pay Swift the $10 million per season he sought in a new deal.

    Now, they get the athletic, high-flying shot-blocker for a reasonable price after a one-year hiatus following five seasons with the Griz.

    "We feel like we've died and gone to heaven," an insider said shortly after the draft concluded. "We've taken care of a lot of needs."

    It was certainly a bittersweet night for diehard Battier fans given the reverence for his work ethic, character and community involvement.

    Battier didn't immediately return phone messages.

    The sixth overall pick in 2001, Battier averaged 10.5 points and 4.8 rebounds for the Griz over five seasons. He was instrumental in helping the franchise make a smooth transition from Vancouver.

    It is fair to say, though, that Gay comes with more upside and offensive potential.

    In Gay, the Griz get a player commonly compared to Scottie Pippen. He's a high flyer who finishes well around the rim as part of a complete offensive arsenal. Gay also is considered a strong rebounder and uses his 7-3 wingspan to defend passing lanes well, too.

    The addition of Lowry likely means the end of local product Antonio Burks' time in Memphis. Burks, an unrestricted free agent along with Lorenzen Wright, Chucky Atkins and Bobby Jackson, struggled offensively and fell out of favor because of questionable work ethic.

    Lowry is energetic, speedy and strong. He plays under control despite weak shooting.

    "This is a tough kid," West said. "In the NBA, toughness isn't about punching somebody in the mouth. Toughness is going out and liking to compete."

    Johnson is an explosive leaper with enough size and a mid-range shooting touch that will allow the Griz to play All Star Pau Gasol at center more. He'll give the Griz more of a power game.

    At the end of the day, to say Griz brass was pleased is an understatement.

    "We think," West said, "we can play at a different level."
  2. Clutch

    Clutch Administrator
    Staff Member

    Feb 13, 1999
    Likes Received:
    How ironic, since we feel like we've died too.
  3. Rockets34Legend

    Rockets34Legend Contributing Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    Likes Received:
    ....and gone straight to Rocket hell.
  4. RocketFire

    RocketFire Member

    Nov 6, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Okay this is how it probably went...

    West: Hey CD, I heard you guys are looking at Shane battier

    CD: Oh YAAAA! You got a trade in mind.

    West: How about #8 for Shane. Great value for 8

    CD: Oh YAAA! We want to win NOWWWW

    West: Oh but the salary won't match. How about Swift for shane.

    CD: Oh YAAA! We don't like Swift.

    West: Ok Swift and 8 for shane

    CD: Oh YAAAA!

    CD running...........

    CD: Hey jeffy, jeffy. Look what i have found... OH YAAA

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