Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace defended his organization’s handling of a wild trade fiasco.
David Cobb, The Commercial Appeal
Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace publicly expressed his dismay on Saturday over Friday’s night’s trade fiasco centering on a case of mistaken last names.
A proposed three-team deal that would have brought Wizards wing Kelly Oubre to Memphis died in a sea of confusion over which player named Brooks – Dillon or MarShon – the Grizzlies would ship to Phoenix as part of the deal.
Wallace called the situation “unfathomable.”
“I’ve never experienced this before, and we were very clear about who was in this deal and Dillon Brooks never was intended to be a part of this, was not from our standpoint,” Wallace said. “And we made this very clear, it was not Dillon Brooks. And I let Dillon know that after the game, too, that don’t believe what you’re reading and hearing tonight. You were not a part of this trade and you’re not going to be a part of it.”
Washington was brokering the deal, and the Grizzlies thought they were shipping MarShon Brooks and Wayne Selden to the Suns in exchange for Oubre from the Wizards.
Trevor Ariza was to be sent to Washington from Phoenix.
But the other teams in the deal thought the Grizzlies would be trading Wayne Selden and Dillon Brooks.
“Individuals from one or both of those teams leaked the deal while we were playing last night,” Wallace said, “and that forced me to do something I’ve never done in 30-plus years working in this league with seven teams, is to drag two players out of a locker room and tell them they’ve been traded and then eventually have to come back and tell them, ‘Oh no, you haven’t been traded.’”
Phoenix and Washington reached a deal on Saturday without the Grizzlies, who were not interested in parting with Dillon Brooks.
Dillon Brooks is a second-year wing making $1.4 million this season and slated to make $1.6 million next season. A second-round draft pick in 2017, Dillon Brooks started 74 games last season and emerged as a bright spot during an otherwise bleak season.
Before suffering a grade two MCL sprain in bizarre fashion last month, Dillon Brooks was averaging 6.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game off the bench for the Grizzlies. He is expected to return by the end of the month.
Wallace praised Dillon Brooks on Saturday, rattling off his resume and the reasons the Grizzlies are keeping him.
“He has a long list of attributes that we really prize, and he was playing very well prior to that freak injury a couple of weeks ago. And also, we have him under contract beyond this year. So you add all that up, tremendous amount of pluses on his side and we’re very optimistic about where his career is going to go.”
So what about MarShon Brooks and Wayne Selden now? Wallace said the two players were told after last night’s loss to Miami that they were being traded, only to have that news reversed a few minutes later.
“They were very professional about the whole thing, but obviously MarShon and Wayne are also human, too,” Wallace said. “You don’t like to be thinking you’re going one place and then have to come back, and switch gears later on. I understand that. But as I told them, this is the NBA of 2018 and players get traded all the time and unfortunately we had this distraction tonight and they’ll move on and put this behind us.
“And I think they will because they’ve helped us win a lot of games this year and we expect them to be very productive players for us moving forward.”
And for the other teams involved in Friday night’s fiasco? Any hard feelings?
“This is a business. We’ll all see each other again,” Wallace said. “I don’t carry grudges, but I’m not happy about what happened last night at the same time.
“We were put in a very difficult position with our own players, a situation we took great pains not to get into. We were forced to talk to them right after a loss in the locker room. That’s not ideal, right? This should have all stayed in house. It wasn’t, and that started the avalanche of going downhill at that point.”
Reach Grizzlies beat writer David Cobb at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DavidWCobb.
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