It’s been well-known that the Sixers and Grizzlies have been talking about a deal involving Philly big man Marreese Speights going back to last year. Now, pushed along by the Memphis injury caravan, it is being reported by ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that a three-way deal involving the Sixers, Grizzlies and New Orleans Hornets has been agreed upon.
Philly sends Speights to Memphis, Memphis sends Xavier Henry to New Orleans, and the Sixers collect two future second round draft picks. This seems like a win for everyone involved. The Grizz desperately need front court help, and in Speights, they get a young big who can score. The Hornets are in the business of adding young talent, and the thinking is that a new setting would be best for Henry, a guy who can shoot the ball, but hasn’t been able to put the rest of it together yet. And the Sixers get two draft picks to add talent to their young core.
As a Sixers fan, the Speights ride has been a frustrating one. As stated before, he’s a gifted scorer who puts up points every time he steps on the court. On defense though, he’s a complete debacle and looks completely lost for long stretches of game time. Put it this way: there’s a reason(s) a young, athletic, scoring big man can’t get on the court.
I think I knew this wasn’t going to work out for him in Philly when a few years back I interviewed Speights at his NBA Rookie Orientation in Tarrytown, New York. I asked him what his thoughts were about getting to play alongside and learn from Elton Brand. His dead-serious, not-joking-around response was, “Cool, but I’ve never seen him play.”
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