NBA Roundtable

Ronnie Brewer To Memphis

In Trade Talk on February 18, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Several reports from Ross Siler’s Twitter feed

Report one

Word that Ronnie Brewer might have gotten traded. Again, trying to get confirmation.

Report two + three

Move would make a lot of sense in that the Jazz ease luxury-tax burden and ease logjam of wing players.

Jazz free up minutes for Matthews, Miles and Korver. Deal came together 5 minutes before deadline.

Report four — the deal

Ronnie Brewer to Memphis for protected first-round draft pick in 2011.

Report five + six — quotes from Jazz GM

KO’Connor: “I think the biggest thing that we felt was that – – I won’t call it a logjam – – but that we had a lot of players very similar.”

More O’Connor: “We had three or four players that were competing for minutes and we were able to turn that into a future asset.”

Report seven

Props to GM who told me last week Jazz were going to trade Brewer if they had chance. He was right. He’s right about a lot of things.

God, those mini-twitter posts are annoying. Why don’t journalists just write for the media outlet they work for?

Link: ESPN’s report on the trade


I need a little while to process this one.

The Draft Pick

2011 with protection …

(1) How much protection? Lottery protected? Top 10 protected? Top 7 protected? Top 5 protected? Top 3 protected?

(2) What will Memphis’ squad look like in 2010/11? Will Rudy Gay stay? Will Ronnie Brewer? How well does that team use it’s 2010 first round draft picks? How much do their young players improve?

In comparison to the Western Conference in 2010/11, how likely is Memphis to make the playoffs?

I need some time to think about those questions. For now, I’m going to continue looking at the other moves + near moves that happened today. I’ll update this later on.

Rudy Gay

Will the Grizzlies pay Rudy Gay?

#1 — Adrian Wojnarowski doesn’t think so. He feels this move was made to replace Gay.

This means Memphis is unlikely to pay Rudy Gay this summer.

I’m not sure I agree with that. Have to wait for more information. First reaction is that the two are not necessarily related, acquiring Brewer + paying Gay, but there may be further reports that shed more light on this. So we’ll wait a little longer before running with that conclusion.

#2 — John Hollinger chimes in

Casey (Nashville, TN)
Since Rudy Gay will become a restricted free agent this offseason, please tell me the Grizz will have a chance to sign him, and if not are they doing anything to at least get something for him?

John Hollinger

The entire reason Memphis made the money moves it has made (and didn’t make) is to be in position to re-sign Gay after the season without going over the luxury tax. They may not match if somebody offers him crazy money, but short of that they’re going to keep him.

I would agree with John Hollinger’s interpretation of things.


The Memphis Commercial has information on the protected draft pick

The Grizzlies sent the Jazz a 2011 pick that is protected through the 14th spot. In 2012, the pick is protected through the 12th spot. The protection slides if it is not exercised.

Memphis has protection through the 10th pick in 2013 and through the ninth pick in 2014 and 2015. Utah would receive less than $3 million in cash if the pick hasn’t been exercised by 2016.

“We felt that was a reasonable investment in what he can bring to our team,” Wallace said. “He’s a young veteran.”

So full lottery protection in 2011 with slowly declining protection from there forwards. So it has strong lottery protection.

Thoughts On Trade

Utah Jazz

Luxury Tax

I do not think this year’s luxury tax bill played an important role in Utah’s decision to part with Brewer (only paid $2.7 million — you don’t give up a long term talent like Brewer due to that type of a financial hit).

I do, however, think next year’s luxury tax bill + cap flexibility in 2011 played a major role role.

Link Brewer’s Contract Extension

The above link will offer more information on Utah’s 2010/11 payroll and how Brewer’s payday would impact their tax hit.

2011/12 Payroll

Deron + Okur + Millsap are on the books for a total of $35.35 million. Utah would also have three draft picks on the books for about $4 million more and cap holds for empty roster spots bringing the total up to $42.2 million. That would leave the Jazz $10-15 million below an estimated cap figure in 2011.

Ronnie Brewer’s contract extension would split that figure in half and leave Utah with roughly an MLE to offer (as would an MLE signing this summer). A new Carlos Boozer contract would take all of that cap space. A Kyle Korver extension would take roughly a third of that.

Memo Okur is on the books for $10.89 million. If Utah traded him for a 2011 expiring contract … the Jazz would be left with only two substantial contracts (Deron, Millsap) on their payroll and a great deal of flexibility in both free agency and the trade market.

Brewer’s Duplicate Skill-Set

Utah’s GM said that Brewer brought a similar skill set to the table as several of their other options. In one area, this is actually a true statement. In all others, it’s nonsense.

One Area — Kirilenko + Brewer — both players are poor jump shooters for their respective positions (SF + SG) and as a combination they are horrific. Easily the worst of any contender. Their inability to provide proper spacing for their teammates has caused Utah huge problems for several years. They have always been a poor pairing.

Other Areas — Brewer is their only high level defensive player on the perimeter. He is also their best player off the ball (cutter), best finisher and best player in transition. Neither Korver, Miles or Matthews provide anywhere near the quality that Brewer does in these areas.


Utah has no high level defensive players in their lineup.

They have five solid-to-good defensive players — Deron Williams and Ronnie Price + Andrei Kirilenko + Wes Matthews + Paul Millsap.

Millsap is a below average man-to-man defender but a very good team defender.

Kirilenko is an excellent defensive player at power forward but only a slightly above average one at small forward.

In other words, Utah has no hope of being a quality defensive team without making personnel changes in the offseason.

Championship Hopes

Utah’s hopes of a title were more fairy tale than reality prior to the trade and they’ve been greatly reduced since then.


Utah traded Ronnie Brewer because they were scared of his contract extension and the effect that would have on their luxury tax bill in 2010/11 and their cap flexibility in 2011/12.

Memphis Grizzlies

Ronnie Brewer

Brewer is a very good defensive player + an excellent cutter + excellent player in transition + good complementary scorer.

His rebounding is about average for a shooting guard but a weak point for him when used as a small forward. That reduces his versatility. He is able to matchup defensively well against either shooting guards or small forwards.

Brewer is a good-to-very good man-to-man defender and a very good-to-excellent team defender.

His jump shot is a weak point for him offensively that reduces his effectiveness as a complementary offensive weapon.

Brewer is best used in an offense that prioritizes ball + player movement. Particularly, a lot of cutting action. His scoring efficiency and scoring totals would drop considerably if used an offense that asked him to space the floor or to stand idle while a teammate used a lot of isolation or pick and roll plays. Less high quality looks at the rim equals poorer efficiency + reduced scoring output.

The Bench

Memphis’ bench gets a lot of criticism but outside of their backup point guard they have a good unit. Especially now that Brewer is there.

Hasheem Thabeet gives them a good backup big man who is capable of being a large positive influence in the short minutes he receives. Sam Young is a solid aggressive scoring option. Carroll is a nice utility player capable of backing up three positions (SG/SF/PF). Darrell Arthur is a good second big off the bench and solid backup PF with good size.

Add Ronnie Brewer to that mix, who is a very good-to-excellent first wing off the bench, and you have a talented group of bench players across the four non-point guard positions.

Memphis does take a considerable hit at the point with Jamaal Tinsley and Lestor Hudson. Hudson is a decent young player, though, but he needs a lot of help running an offense. If I were Memphis, I would play Hudson ahead of Tinsley but keep OJ Mayo in the game to help Hudson out with ball handling + floor general duties. Make sure he’s protected.

Hudson can play good defense, rebound the ball and add some decent scoring.

The Draft Pick

It’s a strongly lottery protected draft pick. That seems like a fair price for a player like Brewer.

If Brewer ever adds a jump shot + continues to improve his defense = then Memphis got very good value.

As for Utah, they didn’t want to pay Brewer and picked up a quality asset which will help replace him. A solid enough move.


It’s a good trade for Memphis and a decent trade for Utah depending on how well they use their cap flexibility.

  1. Good deal for the Grizzlies. Brewer is a fine player.

  2. Hey 479sportsguy and Welcome to the Site!

    Agreed — good trade for the Grizzlies. Brewer is a going to be a good addition to that team. Give them a nice boost defensively and improve their depth considerably.

    I finally got around to finding out about the protection on that draft pick (strong lottery protection — updated the post above too) … Memphis seems well protected. They should get good value for Brewer. Very small chance at losing out with the draft pick down the road.


    Bad news about Brewer’s injury … but luckily it’s only a short term spell on the sidelines (three weeks).

    Deron Williams

    Interesting quote

    “I think if we’d make a trade it would be something a little different than that,” he said. “You look at all the teams that are getting better around the West and we essentially get worse, if you ask me.”

    He added that all the players were angry about the deal.

    Then he dropped the big bomb, when he was asked if the trade altered his view of staying in Utah over the long haul: “That’s why I [only] signed a three-year deal.”

    I wouldn’t read anything into to that quote at this point in time. Utah still has plenty of time to prove to Deron Williams that they are committed to winning.

    Williams has the opt out clause following the 2011/12 season.

    It will be interesting to see what role Carlos Boozer and his potential contract extension or departure have on Williams’ perception of the Jazz. As well as what effect that move + other summer personnel decisions have on Utah’s record next season. It could tell us a lot about the next 24 months.

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