Saturday, May 14, 2011

OJ Mayo and the Busted Trade

The Memphis Grizzlies are counting their blessings right now, and not just because they're one win away from reaching the Western Conference Finals for the first time in their history.  Instead, it's because of a move that wasn't made at the trade deadline.  It's a non-trade that is making all the difference in the Grizzlies deep run.

At the trade deadline the Indiana Pacers were looking for some offensive flair to bolster a line up of otherwise young but solid players.  The Memphis Grizzlies were looking to acquire assets since they didn't think they could make a deep run.  The two decided they were solid trade partners and the discussions started.

Josh McRoberts
Finally a deal was struck between the two teams.  The Grizzlies would send the Pacers young Guard OJ Mayo, once considered to be the next big thing.  Mayo was buried on the bench in Memphis and he'd get time starting in Indiana.  In return the Grizzlies would receive forward Josh McRoberts and the Pacers first round pick.

Things were going forward but come midnight and the trade deadline, no one had filed paperwork.  Somewhere along the lines someone dropped the ball.  Both sides add some form of blame to the other side.  Either way, both parties stayed put with their respective teams.

While both teams would go on to make the playoffs, the Pacers missed that one guy who would put them over the top.  Meanwhile the Grizzlies have run the 8th seed to the verge of the Western Conference Finals.  In large part to OJ Mayo.

In the first round against the Spurs he was average, scoring roughly 9 points per game.  The second round has been his awakening for the playoffs.  In four out of the six games played thus far he's been responsible for 16 points.  His output has been so steady that he was inserted into the starting line up and his presence allowed Zach Randolph to explode for 30 points in the 93-85 Grizzlies victory that extended the series to a deciding Game 7 Sunday at 3:30.

Should the trade had gone down who knows where both teams would be.  Perhaps the Grizzlies would be but a footnote, hoping to build on their first round exit to the Spurs.  Maybe the Pacers would be the team that's pushing the likes of the Celtics, Heat, or Bulls to the brink of being eliminated earlier than expected. 

Like the existence of , the world may never know what would have happened had this trade been completed.  Instead we know that is happening: Thanks to a trade that didn't work out the Memphis Grizzlies have a chance at history.  All thanks to perhaps one of the best trades to never happen.
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