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Memphis Grizzlies center Hasheem Thabeet is reportedly available, could the Pistons pull off a trade?

David Aldridge of NBA.com had this interesting note in his most recent column:

But one mame that is eminently available is Memphis’s Hasheem Thabeet, who isn’t one of the ’10 free agent signees but is getting shopped hard by the Grizzlies, who have their center of the future in Marc Gasol. So the Grizz are looking to cut bait with the second pick in the ’09 Draft, Video who’s already had an NBA D-League stint, as soon as possible.

Hmm … maybe you can trade him for Tyreke Evans? I kid, I kid Chris Wallace.

But Thabeet would undoubtedly be an intriguing pickup for the Pistons.

Trade

Pistons receive:

  • Hasheem Thabeet

Grizzlies receive:

Salaries

Data from ShamSports.com

Pistons receive:

Player 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15
Hasheem Thabeet $4,793,280 $6,471,183 $8,444,893 $0 $0
Total $4,793,280 $6,471,183 $8,444,893 $0 $0

Grizzlies receive:

Player 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15
Chris Wilcox $3,000,000 $0 $0 $0 $0
DaJuan Summers $762,195 $1,059,293 $0 $0 $0
Total $3,762,195 $1,059,293 $0 $0 $0
  • Player option/ early termination
  • Team option

Pistons’ perspective

Thabeet, of course, was the No. 2 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, taken one spot after Blake Griffin and ahead of players like Evans, the Rookie of the Year, Steph Curry and Brandon Jennings. He hasn’t played much in Memphis because, frankly, he’s not polished offensively, his footwork isn’t great all the time, he can be a bit … uh … soft and Memphis has great frontcourt players in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol absorbing most of the minutes at those spots.

But his positive attributes, especially from the Pistons’ perspective? Thabeet is really big and still young. He also blocks shots and rebounds. For his career, he’s averaging 9.3 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per-36 minutes. He would immediately be a defensive upgrade over Jason Maxiell or Chris Wilcox or Charlie Villanueva because he can protect the rim, and he’d also be a potential long-term building block. Thabeet could be a great compliment to Greg Monroe up front, since Monroe is not a shot-blocking presence at this point in his career. The best part is Thabeet would have a full season to sit behind Ben Wallace, get beat up a little in practice and learn from one of the best defensive big men of this era.

So, the question is not about fit. Thabeet would obviously be a fit. But do the Pistons have what it takes to pry him from Memphis?

Grizzlies’ perspective

I think it’s pretty obvious what the Grizzlies want in return: to be free from the nearly $10 million in salary Thabeet is owed for the rest of this season and next season. Memphis has to find enough room to re-sign Marc Gasol, possibly Zach Randolph and figure out whether they are going to extend O.J. Mayo or trade him. They also have smaller decisions to make on players like Sam Young, a promising second round pick last year, and Demarre Carroll, who both are in line for possible extensions.

The Grizzlies have a lot of salary already committed to Rudy Gay and Mike Conley, they’d be silly not to try and lock up Gasol and it’s pretty clear Randolph has been a good fit with the franchise, so bringing him back makes some sense too. Thabeet’s money would be better used in that capacity than in being invested in a seldom-used project center sitting on the bench.

Wilcox and Summers give Memphis two contracts they can shed at season’s end, and allows them to save about $1 million this year in salary. Plus, they get a second round pick that could be pretty decent considering the Pistons currently look like a team that won’t win many games.

I have no idea what the market for Thabeet is. On the one hand, he was the second pick in the draft just over a year ago. On the other, he’s been pretty bad and is the highest draft pick ever assigned to the D-League. Maybe Memphis is hoping to get a first round pick for him, in which case it would be a bad move for the Pistons, even if they had lottery protections on it. But if the Grizz just want salary relief, the Pistons can definitely make a trade happen and see if Thabeet can become a competent NBA player given consistent minutes.

31 Comments

  • Dec 14, 201011:34 am
    by brgulker

    Reply

    Man, that’s a pretty big risk Thabeet has been a  pretty big bust thus far, and that’s a lot of money to risk on a bust.
     
    I’d be more interested in seeing if we could pry ZBo or Gasol off their hands. I’ve heard mixed reports that they can’t afford to keep both …

  • Dec 14, 201011:44 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @brgulker:

    It’s all in the phrasing. I like to say “project” rather than “bust.”

    Yeah, he’s expensive. But even if his offense always sucks, and I’m pretty sure it will, there’s no doubt he will block shots. Full disclosue: I’m not a huge Thabeet fan. But right now, I am a fan of taking a risk for the sake of doing something, and there are worse risks out there than Thabeet. He supposedly works reasonably hard (he worked with Mutombo in the offseason, which can’t hurt) and has a decent attitude. And to be fair, he has barely played due to the fact that Randolph and Gasol are so good, not necessarily because Memphis thinks he’ll never amount to anything.

    ZBo or Gasol would be nice for sure, but I don’t think the Pistons have enough to get either guy in a trade, unless Memphis just wants to do a straight salary dump in Randolph’s case (which could be possible I guess) or unless Detroit wants to part with Monroe (can’t see that happening). Memphis doesn’t need help on the wings with Gay locked up, Henry looking like he’s going to be really good and Mayo, Young and Carroll on the bench. Outside of Monroe or expiring contracts, there’s no one the Pistons have I could see the Grizzlies being legitimately interested in.

  • Dec 14, 201011:46 am
    by nuetes

    Reply

    uh, no thanks. well, i mean first off we have to decide what Monroe is. is he the center of the future? are we still in the market for a center or should we be looking for a PF to compliment Monroe? is any big man an improvement? PF is undoubtedly our weakest position. we have been reluctant to put Monroe and Wallace on the court together for the most part. is that telling of anything?

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by PistonPowered Feed and Patrick Hayes, Detroit Pistons. Detroit Pistons said: TrueHoop.com – Memphis Grizzlies center Hasheem Thabeet is reportedly available, could the Pistons pull of a trade?: http://bit.ly/dL7cjm [...]

  • Dec 14, 201011:52 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    I don’t think the difference between PF and C in the NBA exists. They don’t play Monroe and Wallace together because Kuester has been married to his lame substitution patterns that essentially play the entire second unit together and the entire first unit together.

    Monroe is a post player. The Pistons need more and better post players to compliment him, it matters little if they’re defined as centers or PFs. Thabeet might be able to help or he might not. He’s still young with upside, and his best attribute, ability to block shots, is something the Pistons clearly lack.

  • Dec 14, 201012:04 pm
    by brgulker

    Reply

    @Patrick
     
    I think you’re right. Tay + pick/Daye/Monroe might do it for Randolph. Not sure that’s worth it.

  • Dec 14, 201012:08 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @brgulker:

    Also, you have to factor in that Zach said earlier this year that he wants “Pau Gasol money” …

  • Dec 14, 20101:31 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    eh. problems are two-fold. one, are they willing to part with him for “nothing?” my guess is “ho.” two, the pistons are not going anywhere this year, probably not next year either, and by the time they might actually be on a path towards respectability, there’s the matter of a GIANT team option that we’re almost certain not to exercise anyways. i don’t see this happening.

  • Dec 14, 20101:31 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    haha fun typo. ho = no. obv.

  • Dec 14, 20102:04 pm
    by Odeh

    Reply

    Thabeet is not worth it.  Jason Thompson makes less money has more playing time experience and has similar upside if we want to go with the “project route”.  But with either one of these guys we will barely be improved.  They would be just another piece to the puzzle when frankly we need much more than that.

  • Dec 14, 20102:14 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @Odeh:
    “Jason Thompson makes less money has more playing time experience and has similar upside if we want to go with the “project route”. ”
    That is 100 percent true. He’s also less available and would cost more in return to pry him from Sacramento.

  • Dec 14, 20102:18 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @Laser:
    It’s rare that a team ever exercises that option on any rookie deal. You either extend him to a more modest deal if he’s worth it or you let him become a free agent.
    I still can’t be convinced that this would be a major gamble. The Pistons would be giving up nothing of consequence for a guy who was a No. 2 pick a year ago.
    Yeah, Memphis would have to agree to it, but I think it’s pretty clear they don’t want salary in return.

  • Dec 14, 20102:56 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    not worth it.
    thabeet is a soft stiff with below-average to mediocre hands, which is one of his biggest problems.
    watch him play and you’ll see guys – even guards – snatching balls away from him all of the time.  he’s not quite kwame brown, in terms or bad hands, but it is a problem that helps to explain why he has not progressed as much as he should have.  it causes him to rush his offense because he doesn’t trust his hands and he loses rebounds because he just can’t hold onto the ball in traffic.
    if he had decent hands he would be a perfect fit with monroe.  monroe needs to play with a big guy who can make the easy, simple catch so that they can run that simple high/low stuff that the lakers run with gasol and bynum or gasol and odom.  put a big guy with good hands next to monroe, and monroe will get the guy 8-10 points a game with his passing.
    thabeet will just fumble those passes away.

  • Dec 14, 20103:08 pm
    by Hassan Shah

    Reply

    I dunno, for all the negativity surrounding this idea, I’m not opposed to it.  Like Patrick pointed out, he’d be learning behind Wallace all year and he gets a chance to show what he’s made of on a team not really going anywhere this year or next year.  If you look at Wallace, he made a career out of strictly playing defense, not saying Thabeet can do the same but maybe he just needs some confidence in his offensive game, same thing happened to Shannon Brown or Aaron Afflalo.  If he ends up being bad, just terminate the contract when the team option arises.
    It all depends on what Memphis wants in return, they’re clearly not looking to add salary and I’d be hard-pressed supporting a deal that includes much more than what’s outlined in the post.

  • Dec 14, 20103:10 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    Frankie D just doesn’t want to give up his boy, future All-Star DaJuan Summers. Or is it future League MVP DaJuan Summers?

  • Dec 14, 20103:12 pm
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    get Randolph. Only Monroe and Daye are untouchable. Everybody else is in play.

  • Dec 14, 20103:23 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @PCB:
    If Daye and Monroe are untouchable, then you’re not getting Randolph.

  • Dec 14, 20104:13 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    @phayes,
    funny.
    a slight kernel of truth, but my hesitation is more about thabeet.
    if there was a trade for …say… deandre jordan instead of thabeet, i’d say do a deal with summers.
    i’d even give him up for a real project like ajinca, the guy with dallas, who i think at least has a chance to be a decent backup.
    i just think the salary that thabeet commands is pretty high for a guy with such a high potential to go full bust.
    and i truly think his hands are one of those problems that are extremely tough to overcome.  ever.
    btw, summers will win the rodney rogers lookalike award, once he starts getting PT.

  • Dec 14, 20104:46 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @frankie d:
    Rogers used to rebound a little bit. Summers hasn’t even done that in limited minutes. I agree that he has physical tools. He just isn’t that good.
    And you’re right, Deandre Jordan would be fantastic, but like someone suggested earlier with Jason Thompson as a target, the price would be higher. Jordan, like Thompson, has more value right now. Thabeet, on the other hand, would not require givig up much of value to take a look at. Maybe he sucks. But it’s essentially a one-and-a-half year investment to look at last year’s No. 2 pick who has barely played in the NBA.

  • [...] • The Grizzlies are reportedly open to moving Hasheem Thabeet. Should the Pistons go after him? [...]

  • Dec 14, 20105:22 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    @phayes,
    jordan becomes an unrestricted free agent after this year.
    the clippers are going to have a tough choice to make: exactly how much money to pay a guy who has to be projected as a backup for the next few years as long as kamen is there.
    i’d rather take the money thabeet is owed on his contract and use it to throw a very nice offer at jordan next summer.  i might even overpay a little bit, as a gamble on a guy who might solve a big problem for the pistons.  or possibly trade for him this year, if the clippers see that they won’t be able to sign him and therefore trade him in order to get something for him.

  • Dec 14, 20105:26 pm
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    If the deal was only to be giving up Wilcox and Summers then i would consider it but there is no chance in hell i am giving up that second round pick. It is a proven fact that Dumars gets more value out of his second round picks then anywhere in the draft. Speaking of second round picks, does anyone know how Terrico White is coming along with his broken foot? Its embarrassing to think how crowed the back court/wing positions are at the moment and we still have Terrico and Jerebko to come back to crowd things even more.

  • Dec 14, 20105:48 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    definitely not a major gamble, but it’s hard to see the upside. i mean, just about anything would be worth a try right now, but i don’t see much benefit for either side. that’s all.

  • Dec 14, 20105:53 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    laser,
    that’s my point.  and if i’m going to pay 5 million to a project big man next year, i’d rather take that gamble on deandre jordan. i’d lure him away from the clippers as a free agent and take my chances with him.  i think he’s shown a bit more in his limited chances, even though the jury is still out on him.

  • Dec 14, 20106:14 pm
    by Tmos

    Reply

    Instead of Summers, how about making it for Wilcox and Prince?

  • Dec 14, 20106:16 pm
    by Tmos

    Reply

    Plus, I don’t mind if Thabeet isn’t polished offensively.  We have some offensive weapons, but even those we can live w/o.  We are Detroit.  Bring home the BIG D.  Toughness, hard play.  Defense, rebounds, blocks, steals, hustle plays…  That’s how we won in ’88-’89, ’89-’90 and ’03-’04.

  • Dec 14, 20108:47 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @frankie D:

    Here’s the thing though … as you say, Jordan, although he might have more promise than Thabeet, is still a project player. So using the mid-level exception or most of it on him would likely require at minimum, a four-year deal. Young centers with upside will easily get that.

    So let’s say conservatively, you can get Jordan for 4 years/18ish million (and I would guess he will get more than that). Now, you have a young center who could get really could or could suck in a bigger role, but the financial commitment is greater. If he works out, it’s a bargain. If he doesn’t, you’re paying him for four years instead of paying Thabeet for a year and a half to see what he is.

    I agree that Thabeet is a train wreck on offense. But if he blocks shots — and even in limited minutes, he’s blocked shots at a very high rate — he can fill a definite void on the roster.

    Talent-wise, Jordan might be a better gamble, but he’s still an unknown commodity and he’s likely a more expensive one.

  • Dec 14, 20108:52 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @laser:

    The upside is the shot-blocking. He’s blocked shots in limited minutes. He’s been bad in a lot of other facets, but at a minimum, he can be a presence on defense in the paint for limited minutes. That’s probably more of a contribution than Wilcox/Summers will make on this team. (No knock on Summers Frankie, but he stands zero chance of playing with the roster as-is).

    I don’t know if it’s necessarily worth the risk, but the Pistons certainly don’t have much shot-blocking. Thabeet is young enough to become a serviceable player, and if he’s not worth keeping around, he’s either a $6 million expiring deal next year or they just don’t re-sign him.

  • Dec 14, 20108:53 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @gmehl:

    Thabeet might be a bust, but I can’t see Memphis dealing him and not getting a future second rounder. Detroit has two second round picks next year and a pretty crowded roster unless they make some moves, so I don’t know how likely it would be that two second round picks would make the team next season anyway.

  • Dec 14, 20108:55 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @Tmos:

    If Prince is included, the salaries won’t match. Detroit would have to take back another $8 or $9 million in salary to make that work, and it’s unlikely the Pistons would want to do that, unless Memphis was willing to talk about including Zach Randolph in the deal, in which case the Pistons would have to give up much more than Prince/Wilcox/2nd rounder.

  • Dec 14, 201010:27 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    @phayes,
    jordan is definitely a gamble.
    no doubt about it.   he’s probably going to get a contract offer that he doesn’t deserve next summer because a team is going to be willing to gamble on him, and the price will probably be relatively expensive for a young guy who hasn’t really proven much.
    is he worth that kind of gamble?
    very, very hard to say, but if i’m joe d, i probably would take it cause the upside is so great.  if he pans out, your frontcourt is set for the next decade – with jordan and monroe and JJ and daye -  and if he doesn’t pan out, you have a very expensive backup center.
    on the other hand, why not get both?  essentially redo your center/power forward spot with a couple of young guys.  do a memphis trade for thabeet and sign  jordan while dumping maxiell for whatever you could get in order to get rid of the salary.
    one can dream…

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