The Grizzlies almost traded Jarnell Stokes to the Knicks to open a roster spot before the start of the regular season, according to The Commercial Appeal. Instead, Memphis included him in Tuesday’s trade with Miami, the earliest November swap since 2008, which sent Stokes and Beno Udrih to the Heat for Mario Chalmers and James Ennis. People within the Grizzlies organization believe that the shooting and playmaking ability Chalmers has gives the team an opportunity to see how he functions sharing the court with Mike Conley in two point guard sets that would have Conley playing off the ball, the Commercial Appeal report says.
“We just felt that this was a chance to get a guy in Mario Chalmers who is an upgrade as a 3-point shooter, particularly in the playoffs. And you get a little younger,” Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace said. “He’s been in the top 10 in steals percentage. He’s not afraid to step up and take the big shot. It’s an opportunity we had to take. It’s also an opportunity to take a look at a young, athletic guy in James Ennis.”
See more on the trade:
- Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal doesn’t see Chalmers as a shooting upgrade over Udrih, but Chalmers is a better defender a theoretically a better fit with the Grizzlies bench, Herrington opines.
- The Heat were reportedly seeking the involvement of a third team before the trade became official, and the Sixers were in play to fill that role, but the sides couldn’t work out a way to make it work, USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt tweets. A Heat spokesperson denied that a search for a third team held up the trade call with the league, and team president Pat Riley said he wasn’t looking to channel Udrih and Stokes to another team, as Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald notes (Twitter link). Coach Erik Spoelstra answered affirmatively when asked if Udrih and Stokes will be staying with the team, Navarro tweets. “We’re not actively pursuing anything else other than what we have today,” Riley said, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.
- The move wasn’t primarily about finances, Riley insisted, adding that he doesn’t think the Heat would ever trade a player they thought could help them win a title merely to save money, as Navarro chronicles.