Grizzlies head coach Marc Iavaroni has heard the critics lambasting Memphis' management for the Pau Gasol trade to the Lakers, most notably the strong words from San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. He just chooses to ignore them.
"[Popovich is] a great coach and they do a good job there," Iavaroni told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "I don't read into anyone else's comments. That's just the nature of the league. People have a right to their opinion. We're just taking care of our best interests."
Popovich slammed Memphis for a trade that many around the NBA thought favored the Lakers.
"What they did in Memphis is beyond comprehension," Popovich told SI.com. "There should be a trade committee that can scratch all trades that make no sense (i.e. damage the interests of the Spurs). I just wish I had been on a trade committee that oversees NBA trades. I would have voted no to the L.A. trade."
In the deal, Memphis acquired Kwame Brown and his expiring $9 million contract, rookie Javaris Crittenton, the rights to Marc Gasol and first-round picks in 2008 and 2010.
As a result of the trade, the Grizzlies could have as much as $17 million available under the salary cap that could help them sign free agents over the summer.
This is annoying, Popovich couldn't care less about Memphis, he's just mad that the Lakers are going to challenge the perenially boring Spurs for the title this year. That is, if the Spurs can even make a serious push for the title, their antique collection of players is continuing to age and they're third in their division. If this had happened between Memphis and, say, some mediocre team in the Eastern Conference, you wouldn't be hearing a word out of Popovich.
Between all this and the article about teams making trades to counteract Duncan is making me root for LA and the Suns and root against the Spurs. These trades were made to compete with teams with comparable or better records than the Spurs such as Denver, Utah, Dallas, and New Orleans just as much as they were made to compete with the SAS. It's not all about SAS in the West right now, defending champs or not.