Why do I read Geoff Calkins? What causes me to do something so stupid? There’s a greater chance that I’d get more out of watching Oprah every day than reading Calkins articles. His columns have one of the three following effects on me: there’s a 33 percent chance he writes something sappy that I could care less about (the Rick Reilly column), there’s a 33 percent chance he writes about football or college basketball which are alright, and there’s a 33 percent chance he writes about the Grizzlies which make me angry beyond normalcy. Seriously, I get angry, not just a little mad, or perturbed, or annoyed. It causes me legitimate anger. Why do I do this? Why can’t I just look away? I suppose it’s the same reason that this video has 6.5 million + views on youtube.
The latest Calkins stinkbomb can be found here. Calkins talks about how the Grizzlies trading Mike Conley would be similar to the Celtics trading Chauncey Billups in the late ‘90s. Wow, the Celtics traded Billups, they must be idiots! What the hell were they thinking, is the Calkins line of thinking. They were thinking what several other teams thought as well, that Billups wasn’t that good. Not only did Boston trade him, but Denver didn’t want him, Orlando flat out released him, and Minnesota didn’t resign him. The guy didn’t become an All-Star until he had been in the league about 10 seasons. If the Grizzlies trade Conley and he becomes an All-Star 8 years from now, I think I can live with that. Calkins fails to mention all of these facts, naturally. Then again, the guy thought that Darius Miles was a Portland lottery pick, so he might not even be aware that Chauncey Billups was anything other than an All-Star.
Calkins then says, “They traded him (Billups) for an older point guard and beads.” Yeah, by older point guard, he meant 27-year-old (ancient!) Kenny Anderson, who had a decent career (and an All-Star appearance) at that point.
Next Calkins brings up the Celtics trading rookie Joe Johnson for Rodney Rodgers. While this trade appears lopsided, the Celtics were willing to trade a 20-year-old rookie who was averaging 6.3 ppg for a veteran big-man who could provide immediate help. Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace even admitted that he had regrets about the trade, but that they were making a playoff push and needed immediate help.
Trades like this happen all the time, where a team making a playoff push trades future assets for immediate help. (See Roy Williams being traded to the Cowboys for a recent example).
As a matter of fact, read this quote from coverage of a Chris Wallace press conference, "What stuck out about Wallace for many at Monday’s press conference was his frank nature. He admitted that in retrospect, trading Joe Johnson instead of Kedrick Brown was 'a mistake', but that the players they got in return helped the Celtics reach the Eastern Conference Finals that year. It’s a fact many fans who have been critical of the hire forget."
Johnson didn’t become an All-Star until his 6th season in the league, after another team, Phoenix, let him go as well. Calkins doesn’t mention any of this, because, once again, it doesn’t back up his point, which is, uh…I don’t know.
Calkins then says that Conley’s trade value is about as low as it could be at this point. The Grizzlies would be trading a lottery pick (Conley) for a young point guard who has actually performed better (Ramon Sessions) and a lottery pick (Joe Alexander). I wouldn’t say his value is that low. I think it might be a little lower if Conley tore his ACL in tonight’s game, don’t you think Geoff?
Next, Calkins says that pointing the blame at Grizzlies Coach Marc Iavaroni for Conley and Rudy Gay’s poor performance isn’t what needs to be done. He says the finger needs to be pointed at the Grizzlies owner, Michael Heisley, because he won’t pay what it takes to get a top level coach. While I can’t find exact coaching salary numbers, I do know that Marc Iavaroni was one of the most coveted assistant coaches out there when the Grizzlies hired him. Now Iavaroni isn’t making the same amount as the top tier coaches, but he wasn’t hired for cheap either, especially given he was hired as a rookie coach. It’s not like Heisley can just throw some money around and get Phil Jackson, Jerry Sloan or Gregg Popovich in here. What does Calkins want exactly?
Calkins point, I think, is that the Grizzlies shouldn’t trade Conley because Chauncey Billups became an All-Star about 10 years after the Celtics traded him, and Joe Johnson became an All-Star about 5 years after the Celtics traded him. So if the Grizz trade Conley, he could become an All-Star sometime in the next 5-10 years, and that would be terrible. And I guess his secondary point is that Conley isn’t playing well right now because the team is dysfunctional and that isn’t really Conley’s fault (even though Conley is part of said team) and that isn’t the coach’s fault (even though he’s in charge of said team). Make sense? Of course not, it’s Geoff Calkins!
I recommend that Geoff Calkins be banned from writing about the Grizzlies and instead The Commercial Appeal should send a monkey and a laptop to cover the Grizzlies. This way, there's a .001% chance that something intelligent might come out it, which is better than Calkins chances. Plus, there's a 1000% chance it won't make me mad. How do we make this happen?