In a move that cleared a lot of salary, the Timberwolves shipped O.J. Mayo, Antoine Walker, Marko Jaric, and Greg Buckner to the Memphis Grizzlies.
In a move that added a lot of salary, the Memphis Grizzlies shipped Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Jason Collins, and Brian Cardinal to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Who won the trade? Memphis. But it wasn’t much of a victory.
First of all, O.J. Mayo is the prize of the trade. His rookie scale contract combined with his talent and potential mean he’s going to be a pretty good investment for the next four seasons. So, in that light, Memphis is the big winner of this deal.
However – Memphis had to take on some pretty ugly contracts to make this deal. Antoine Walker’s contract (nearly $9 million a year for three more years) is a joke. Marko Jaric’s contract is pretty pricey ($6 million plus for the next three seasons), and it’s hard to imagine he’ll be getting much run in Memphis behind Lowry, Conley, Crittenton, and Mayo. Of course, it’s likely that Memphis is planning to move one or more of their guards. Miami is interested in Mayo, and this deal might just be a prelude to an even bigger deal with Miami. Maybe Miami swaps Beasley for Mayo and some contract shuffling…
Minnesota did OK. They dumped Antoine Walker’s HUGE contract off on Memphis, and all they had to do is take back Brian Cardinal’s deal. That’s a win. Kevin Love, while lacking athleticism, is a solid passer and can contribute off the bench at a minimum. Minnesota also got Mike Miller in the deal – an elite shooter that can provide some leadership. Of course, just like Mayo in Memphis, Miller actually playing in Minnesota seems far from certain.
It’s important to recognize that Mike Miller is a very attractive piece for a championship contender, and since Minnesota is in rebuilding mode, Miller can be had for nothing more than draft picks and an expiring contract.
It seems a little to premature to make a true judgment about this deal. It’s a near certainty that Memphis will trade one or more of their young point guards in the next couple of weeks. The Nuggets, for instance, had expressed an interest in Kyle Lowry. However, my guess is by the time the sun rises O.J. Mayo will be playing in Miami and Beasley will be teaming up with Rudy Gay and Mike Conley in Memphis.
Why else would Memphis take on all this salary? If there’s one thing we know for sure, Memphis HATES salary. Just ask Mitch Kupchak about that one…