So, it’s time to assign blame.
Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace, via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
“[Memphis owner] Robert Pera did not have any conversation with Suns owner Robert Sarver about the reported three-way trade. Our front office also didn’t have any conversations with Phoenix regarding the reported three-way trade prior to it leaking during our game tonight.
“We were floored to learn of the reports involving Dillon Brooks in the reported trade. We never discussed Dillon as part of this trade with Washington — which was the only team we spoke with concerning this proposed deal.”
The Wizards entered into discussions about Ariza over the last 2-3 days. By that point, the Suns and Grizzlies were deep into conversations about a potential move with Memphis concerning Dillon Brooks. The two sides talked at least a half-dozen times over 7-10 days including at least one directl chat with owners of both teams.
With Dillon Brooks currently sidelined by a knee injury, the Suns requested the guard’s physical from the Grizzlies. Enough information and dialogue were exchanged during the process between all three teams that there was clear understanding of the players involved, at least for the Suns and Wizards. It’s possible what all witnessed was a bad case of nerves by the Grizzlies at the buzzer.
Here’s how it all unfolded according to a source familiar with the Phoenix end of the night:
There never were any discussions between the Suns and Memphis about MarShon Brooks. And the Suns never had any interest in discussing that Brooks.
However, there were discussions for about a week between Phoenix and Memphis about Dillon Brooks. Washington was not involved in the discussions with either team at that point.
The Wizards inquired with the Suns late in the week about Ariza
Despite reports to the contrary, there were no discussions on Friday involving Suns owner Robert Sarver, according to the source. He was at the team’s holiday party for employees.
James Jones and Trevor Bukstein, co-interim general managers, were working together on talks with several teams and worked through Washington on the three-way proposal.
I don’t know who discussed whom. Maybe the Grizzlies really made up this Brooks excuse because they got cold feet at the last minute.
But I’ll give Wallace way more benefit of the doubt, because he spoke with his name attached. The spin from Washington and Phoenix is coming anonymously. If it’s shown he’s lying, Wallace will face the consequences of that. If the Washington and Phoenix reports are shown to be inaccurate, the leakers are protected by their anonymity.
For what it’s worth, I would have done the trade as the Grizzlies with either Brooks. I wouldn’t have done it as the Suns for either Brooks. Phoenix is better off now just getting Oubre, the most valuable player in the trade. Oubre is rough around the edges and headed into restricted free agency next summer, but the 23-year-old is still quite intriguing.