Pau!!! Right In Da Kisser!
This story got lost in the back pages of Memphis’ local paper so I figured I’d send it further into the abyss by blogging it here. In a recent interview with Commercial Appeal’s Grizzlies beat writer Ron Tillery, former Grizzlies All-Star and current Laker forward Pau Gasol minced no words when expressing what he felt about the prospects of the Memphis team before and after his controversial departure.
“No matter what, the Grizzlies aren’t going to be able to put themselves in position to win a championship. I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. I think it’s just the way it is. We just couldn’t do it. We had Jerry West as a GM. If you can’t do it with Jerry West, I don’t think there’s many ways you can. We had Hubie (Brown) and Mike Fratello — good coaches. It wasn’t enough. I don’t think the Grizzlies will ever have enough to be at that highest level. There’s a lot needed.”
Spoken like a true winner. People question the decision to dump this guy and clear his salary from the books but if this were your company would you continue to pay a guy top dollar to give 100% and lead your workers with this type of pessimism rattling around in his bushy dome?
Here are current owner Michael Heisley’s hindsight thoughts on the deal:
“Honestly we were not going anywhere with Pau, and there was a tremendous sentiment against him in Memphis,” Heisley said. “I traded Mike Bibby to Sacramento. I traded Jason Williams to Miami. When it works out I’m very happy for them. But we made the trade because we had to take on a new direction and start rebuilding this team.”
I agree with Pau on one thing, there is a lot needed (save for the PA Announcer. He’s awesome!). But if the best player on the team believes winning a championship is impossible then it probably is…with him. I’m of the belief that anything is possible in today’s NBA. Just ask the San Antonio Spurs or the Miami Heat. A trade here, a draft pick there and you can find yourself sittin’ very pretty.
*That photo was taken the moment Gasol realized he was not a franchise player.