Moore: What the Hell Happened with the Failed Suns, Wizards, Grizzlies Trade?

Dec 15, 2018 11:48 AM EST
Credit:

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kelly Oubre, Dillon Brooks, Trevor Ariza

  • On Friday night, word leaked of a three-team NBA trade between the Phoenix Suns, Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies.
  • The Suns' Trevor Ariza and the Wizards' Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers were in the deal, but there was confusion over whether the Grizzlies were dealing Dillon Brooks or MarShon Brooks.
  • Who lying? Who's telling the truth? And what does it all mean? Matt Moore covers all of the details.

UPDATE: The Suns and Wizards agreed to send Trevor Ariza to Phoenix for Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers on Saturday morning.

Allow me to crib myself from Twitter … ain’t no such thing as halfway Brooks.

The Phoenix Suns tried to get off of the Trevor Ariza contract Friday night.

The Memphis Grizzlies tried to upgrade their bench on the cheap Friday night.

The Washington Wizards tried to clear up a sore spot in the locker room and add a veteran to try and fix their season Friday night.

None of it happened.

It appeared the Suns, Wizards, and Grizzlies had a deal. Austin Rivers, Wayne Selden and … a third player we’ll get to in a second would go to Phoenix. Trevor Ariza and two Grizzlies second-rounders would go to the Wizards. Kelly Oubre would go Memphis.

And then reports started to conflict.

A Suns reporter adamantly maintained that Dillon Brooks was headed to Phoenix. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Daily Memphian’s Chris Herrington reported it was MarShon Brooks. One player is a bit player who has spent seasons in Europe. The other is a valuable young guard with the ability to play multiple guard positions and a key part of Memphis’ future.

There was … some miscommunication.

The result is a failed trade and the impacts will be deeper than you’d imagine for a deal that didn’t involve a single star.

For the Suns…

Ariza has to go, that’s the top priority. You can’t mess with a veteran player of Ariza’s stature like this, even if he wasn’t going to a good situation. Phoenix wants to get off his contract and needs a point guard. Some sort of deal will be done.

For the Wizards…

The damage here is the greatest. There has been tension between Austin Rivers and Bradley Beal going back to high school, but they cleared the air this summer. However, this team needed a change, and now they’re stuck with each other. No one was happy already, and now it’s even more awkward.

For the Grizzlies…

It’s not that big of a deal. They were giving up, in their minds, two marginal end-of-bench players and two second-rounders to essentially “rent” Oubre for the remainder of his deal. (Oubre will be a restricted free agent this summer.)

Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Austin Rivers

But what the hell actually happened?

The Suns leaked that their owner, Robert Sarver — who you may remember from such hits as “sold off the pick that was Rajon Rondo for cash” and “tried to threaten to move the team this week in the midst of one of the worst runs in NBA history” — had spoken directly to Robert Pera, owner of the Grizzlies and that medical info on Dillon Brooks had been shared.

This seemed to be confirmed by the Wizards, who told the Washington Post that Phoenix and Memphis had been talking about a deal about Dillon Brooks and that their understanding was it was Dillon Brooks the whole time and that “Memphis got cold feet.”

This is all remarkbale. Just wild. This kind of airing of dirty laundry is exceptional. It never happens. So much so that Memphis felt the need to actually publicly come out with a statement. Here’s Chris Wallace of the Memphis Grizzlies in a public statement to ESPN about a trade that didn’t even happen.

OK, so Phoenix says Memphis definitely had talked to them about Dillon Brooks, and Washington says it believed the same. Memphis denies the whole thing, publicly. What do we know, and what do we have reason to believe?

The Memphis Angle

All right, for starters, some reporting.

League sources confirmed to The Action Network after this whole trainwreck had come to a halt that there was indeed a miscommunication with Washington and, like Wallace said publicly, that Pera had never spoken with Sarver, and the Grizzlies had never included Dillon Brooks in any deal.

A source went on to confirm that Memphis has refused to include Brooks in even exploratory conversations in potential deals with multiple other teams over the past year, which was confirmed by at least one other outside executive.