The Memphis Grizzlies played a hard-fought game against the surging Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday, as they held numerous double-digit leads throughout the bout and even took the east's fourth-best team down to the wire in what, ultimately, wound up being a 108-101 last-minute loss.
Though certainly an inspiring affair that saw competitive spirit and high-end performances in all 48 minutes played, all happenings that took place during the contest seemingly fell second in the attention department to the pre-game trade that saw Steven Adams sent to the Houston Rockets.
Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the surprise deal has the Grizzlies swapping out their injured pivot in exchange for Victor Oladipo and three second-round picks, creating more salary flexibility and adding extra draft assets ahead of a 2024 offseason where they'll presumably look "to fortify a contender."
Following the game against Cleveland, star power forward and frontcourt cohort with Adams, Jaren Jackson Jr., shared his feelings regarding the big's departure, stating that their relationship was akin to brotherhood and that his presence will sorely be missed in the 38103.
Grizzlies star Jaren Jackson Jr. opens up on Steven Adams trade
"That's our brother, man. He brought so much life to our team on and off the court... how he set screens, how he sets his angles, how he sets screens just anywhere on the court, and that comes from knowledge, you can't just go out there and know how to do that off script. His passing is crazy. In practice we got to see a lot more fancy Steve-O passes, sometimes you saw it in the game. He's just a physical specimen they had to deal with, everybody's focused on him, last year everyone was focused on him a lot so that allowed me to catch people off guard. He helped me in so many ways and, I mean, off the court everybody loved him. It's tough man, it's tough."- Jaren Jackson Jr.
One of the game's premier rebounders when healthy, Adams served as the starting center for the Grizzlies from 2021-2023 and finishes out his tenure with impressive averages of 7.5 points, 10.6 rebounds (4.8 offensive), 3.0 assists, and just shy of a block on 56.7 percent shooting from the floor.
From his tantalizing skill set to his menacing build of 6-foot-11, 250 pounds, the veteran successfully manned the middle in Memphis until going down in January of 2023 with a right PCL sprain that held him out through the remainder of the season and, this past October, required a second procedure that is slated to keep him sidelined until 2024-25.
This trade with Houston not only carves out a slight hole in the hearts of those who grew to know and love him during his short-lived stint in Grind City, but it also now creates a vacancy at the five spot that, be it via trade or some sort of signing, will need to be filled ahead of next year's campaign.