Earlier, we talked about the Spurs' demise. But there's another story in this series, one that is slowly starting to emerge. Maybe, just maybe, Chris Wallace, Michael Heisley and the rest of the Grizzlies management that we've joked about over the years is actually competent.
Specifically, we might need to rethink the Pau Gasol trade a bit. The seemingly lopsided trade provided Memphis cap space in the form of Kwame Brown's expiring contract, two late-round draft picks and Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies used most of the cap space to absorb Zach Randolph's contract two years ago, then used the picks to acquire Darrell Arthur and Greivis Vasquez. On Monday, those four players combined to score 43 points on 17-27 shooting in a Game 4 rout of the Spurs. In other games in this series, the four players have scored even more. Not bad for a seemingly lopsided trade.
The truth is that Wallace, Heisley and the others are neither geniuses or frauds. Heisley is pretty terrible at PR and jerked around rookie Xavier Henry over a couple hundred thousand dollars last summer, but this is the second time as the Grizzlies owner that he has willingly opened his pocketbook to support a winner, despite the possibility he will lose a lot of his money. Wallace made his share of mistakes, gave Rudy Gay, Mike Conley and Randolph too much money and may have been the guy who decided to draft Hasheem Thabeet in 2009 (we'll never know where Wallace's autonomy stops and Heisley's begins), but he also signed Tony Allen cheaply, executed the Gasol trade and found a spectacular coach in Lionel Hollins. They're both like anyone else: good at some things, bad at others.
We were wrong to ridicule them earlier. Now, let's not swing too far in the other direction and unconditionally praise them.