Nobody would think the 26-13 Memphis Grizzlies would be willing to trade their team, especially while being fourth in a tough Western Conference. The rumors are swirling that small forward Rudy Gay was on the trading block and now rumors are strong that it's power forward Zach Randolph who's on the trading black instead.
According to Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy, the Houston Rockets are taking a serious look at acquiring Randolph from the Grizzlies.
The move wouldn't just affect both teams involved, but the top Western Conference teams. The Rockets are in the eighth spot while the Grizzlies are fourth and this move could potentially switch those two teams.
The Rockets have two young superstars in Jeremy Lin and James Harden carrying them to second in the league in scoring (104.5ppg). The problem with the Rockets is they're playing a fast game every game, too fast for them to keep up with opponents. Sometimes they get hot and shoot well, other times they tend to just throw up shots and don't have a rebounding presence nor one for defending.
They rank 30th in points allowed (103.5), so if you compare their points forced along with their points allowed per game, it's not too surprising why they're only at 21-21 record wise.
If the Rockets can convince the Grizzlies to give them Randolph, it might be a blow to some teams in the conference. The San Antonio Spurs have finally found a lineup to counter the Grizzlies' tough frontcourt of Randolph and Marc Gasol, but they'll probably have a harder time guarding the Rockets with Randolph wearing a Rockets jersey. Houston will have three point shooters around him in the paint and he's a player who'll fight for position every possession unlike the bigs they have currently. It's not only the offensive end, but also defense and rebounding. Randolph is averaging 11.8rpg and he'd automatically be the best rebounder just edging out Omer Asik.
With Randolph on the team, the Spurs would drastically have to change their defense against Houston. The Rockets would have the players to go small and still maintain some defense with Carlos Delfino possibly switching to the power forward position. He's also very good at slowing the game down, something the Spurs don't want to do against teams. The Spurs are a team that wants to run since their older core can't handle carrying the team without motion or in a one-on-one situation. They'd be facing a Houston team that would be somewhat identical to an older version of the Spurs. When the team was called "boring" through their championship years, they could still run against smaller or scoring teams. It wasn't their first choice, but they could adapt and the Rockets would be in a similar position.
If a deal goes through, it would be hard to think that Houston couldn't easily grab the fourth seed with the Grizzlies giving up a big part of their team and the rest hobbling or struggling. They would be just under the San Antonio Spurs and could easily give the number one seed a run for their money. The Spurs might have a greater chance against them early, but we saw how the Spurs couldn't seem to get over the hump late in the Conference Finals last year. For Spurs fans, this might be a trade they hope doesn't go through.