In a predictable, logical and thoroughly underwhelming move, the Memphis Grizzlies made the second trade of deadline week, sending reserve forward Sam Young to the Philadelphia 76ers in return for nothing more than the draft rights to Ricky Sanchez, whom you’ve probably never heard of.
Memphis had two things to do this deadline: buy some players, and sell some players. Their good but not elite team needed to acquire an extra ball handler, and much improve its three point shooting, while also somehow dodging the luxury tax threshold they currently reside just over.
This trade only alleviates one of those three needs. Apparently, Gilbert Arenas will fix the others.
Sanchez is a 6-foot-11 Puerto Rican international, drafted initially by the Blazers on the Nuggets behalf in 2005 and whose rights were later traded to the Sixers. He has spent his career in Latin America, and plays in the Puerto Rican BSN every season, although it hasn’t always been without incident. Sanchez is a big athletic forward with a good jumpshot, who was drafted on the pretense that he might go on to develop his game outside of his athleticism and jumpshot combination. He was pretty sure that he could do this. This, however, has not really happened. Playing for Bahia in the weak Argentinian league, he averages 13.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.0 fouls in 30 minutes per game, taking over five threes per game. Near 7-foot three point specialists are intriguing, but the Grizzlies would be better served just bringing the recently waived Josh Davis back. Sanchez’s inclusion in the deal, therefore, is merely arbitrary.
The Sixers were able to assume Young’s post-incentives $1,184,750 salary on account of the Marreese Speights trade exception, which had been created in an earlier trade with Memphis. Essentially, therefore, this trade amends and concludes that one, the Grizzlies trading Young and Xavier Henry for a rental of Speights.
This is an odd way to conclude the Sam Young era in Memphis. This time last year, in light of the injury to Rudy Gay, Young was a valuable starter and a key, if flawed, cog in their Cinderella playoff victory over the Spurs. His jumpshot lacked three-point range, he broke plays, played with his head down, and his team defense was atrocious, yet the combination of his humiliatingly effective shot fake and sheer determination gave the Grizzlies a much needed offensive option. When nothing else was going on, Young would put his head down and go for it, like a much older looking Corey Maggette, which worked better than it may sound. And he always played hard.
This year, however, with Gay’s return to health, Young’s lack of improvement to his game, and the acquisition of Quincy Pondexter (who provides the defense and intangibles that Young just doesn’t), Sam wasn’t in the rotation, playing only 21 games all season, 13 of which were in January. He likely won’t be in the Sixers rotation, either.