The business of sports reared its ugly head today, this time it was Sam Young who was traded to the 76ers in a deal that saw the Grizzlies get below the luxury tax threshold. With that happening, Memphis now has an available roster spot and rumor has it that they are interested in Gilbert Arenas.
Arenas is a free agent after the Orlando Magic used the amnesty clause on him at the beginning of the season, and he is still looking for work. The 30 year old guard is a 3 time All-Star who averages 21.2 points and 5.4 assists for his career. He would be the backup point guard, a position that the Grizzlies have struggled at all season, and add more scoring off of the bench.
But is the risk worth the reward? Coach Hollins is doing a great job with the players he has and unfortunately for Arenas his services are not needed on this particular team.
Here are the five reasons why the Grizzlies should not sign Gilbert Arenas:
1. It will throw off team chemistry
This is not a knock on Arenas, but it is just a fact. It takes players and their teammates time to get acclimated to one another. This is made more evident in a shortened season, where every game matters that much more. Memphis has good chemistry now and having to integrate Arenas, or any player, may throw that fragile chemistry off.
2. Arenas is an aging guard whose best years are behind him
While 30 may not be that old for an athlete, Arenas’ skills appear to be leaving him. Averaging 21.2 points for your career is pretty good for any NBA player, but when you look at his numbers since the ‘06-‘07 season you see a major drop off in production. It maybe because of the MCL injury in 2007 and the season long suspension in 2010 following his locker room altercation with Javaris Crittenton where guns were involved, but his last four seasons he only averages 16.3 points per game. That is about six points per game lower than his average for the first six seasons of his career where he averaged 22 points per game.
3. OJ Mayo has emerged as a more than capable back up point guard
Since the Grizzlies traded Greivis Vasquez at the start of the season, they have struggled to find consistency from young guards Jeremy Pargo and Josh Selby. Due to their inconsistency Mayo has been doing most of the backup point guard work. He runs the offense well enough to give Conley some much needed rest, while still being the scorer the Grizzlies need off of the bench to stretch the defense. With Mayo playing as well as he is playing at the backup point guard position it does not make since to sign Arenas. Why add Arenas when Mayo is doing what Arenas will be asked to do?
4. The Grizzlies are not better with Arenas on the roster
Adding a 3 time All-Star with the ability to score like Arenas has most teams in the NBA salivating, but Memphis already has scorers and defined roles. With the core four of Mike Conley, Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol, and Zach Randolph (when he returns from his injury) the offense is always going to be able to pound the paint and score buckets. And when Z-Bo returns from injury Marreese Speights will be another scorer along with Mayo off of the bench. Arenas does not shoot the three particularly well as he is a career 35% three point shooter, and over the past four seasons he is only shooting 30%from behind the arch. So he will not stretch the court any more than Mayo, Conley, or Gay. With Arenas’ recent decline in production I just do not see how he will make the Grizzlies any better.
5. If Memphis adds Arenas it might be the Allen Iverson situation all over again
And nobody wants that. The two situations are eerily similar. Both players were once prolific scorers, who had some off the court issues, and a reputation for being more confident in their skills than others were. Remember when Iverson was not pleased with is role coming off of the bench? How will Gilbert react when he is not getting the minutes or the shine that he is accustomed to getting? It does not make sense to possibly put your franchise through another situation like the Iverson debacle when everything is going smoothly. As of today, the Grizzlies are the fifth seed in the Western Conference without one of their best players. They are on the verge of getting Z-Bo back, and there is no reason to risk it all on the acquisition of Arenas.
C.J. Hurt covers the Grizzlies for MemphiSport. Follow him @churtj09 for live tweets from FedExForum.
Other recent Grizzlies articles:
- 5 Good Things To Come From The 2008 Gasol Trade
- America’s Favorite Cookie Honored In This Week’s Grizzlies 3-pointer
- Twitter Fancap: Lakers Outlast Grizzlies