Only a couple hours after the trade hit the newswaves, the league has decided not to interfere and allowed the Sixers to trade Marreese Speights to the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team deal that also sent Xavier Henry (swoon) to the New Orleans Hornets and a 2nd round draft pick from both teams to Philadelphia, as well as a trade exception equal to Speights' current contract. The news comes on the heels of harsher news that Zach Randolph's knee ligament tear will sideline him for two months.
Briefly, for Memphis: It seems like Mo could be up for a starting spot in Memphis now that Z-Bo is gone for awhile. Pairing him with Marc Gasol is actually not a bad thing, since he can step into Randolph's shoot first-pass later shoes right away and rebound only slightly worse. Zach is a much better player, but it wasn't long ago when he was thought of as a mid-first round headcase until the maturity kicked in (somewhat) and vaulted him to 2nd tier star status. The same could eventually be said for Mo, though he may be even worse at defense and passing than Z-Bo. We'll see if he gets the nod or if recently-signed Dante Cunningham plays the majority of minutes at the 4.
Back to the Sixers: shedding Speights was really an afterthought at this point. Despite fluffy reports that Collins was counting on him for major minutes this season (ha), he was never going to get another chance to play here. The lack of basketball IQ, defensive instincts, defensive intentions, defensive ability, etc etc... was too much for Collins to justify playing him for his jump shot and passable rebounding.
Now, they can pick up two second round picks, (Memphis in '12, NO in '13) which could explore the overseas market down the road or be used to move up a couple spots in the draft. The Sixers haven't had as much success recently with 2nd rounders, but in the past, under Tony DiLeo's draft blanket, they cuddled up to Willie Green, Kyle Korver, and Louis Williams in the second round (through trades as well).
Talk is that Speights leaving could open up a spot for Xavier Silas, but I'm less convinced of that. I'm guessing they go with an old backup point guard to spell Jrue Holiday and the Boss when the games get out of hand. Silas plays more of an off-guard position and I'd rather see them go after a true point, despite the Liberty Ballers manlove for X.
All in all, this is a deal that had to be made. There wasn't much else they could have gotten for him and at the very least, he didn't wallow away on the bench until people got cranky and nothing came in return for him. Second round picks aren't Godsends but they are assets that could be flipped for something down the road.
It's a step in the right direction for an organization that has been very hesitant to admit its mistakes. Drafting Speights was one of them. Trading him is not.