Then again, maybe the Grizzlies aren't quite ready to admit they made a mistake in drafting Thabeet. Because owner Michael Heisley thinks that this trade could come back to haunt them. From Chris Tomasson at FanHouse:
"I don't know whether it's a mistake (having drafted Thabeet),'' Heisley said. "I look at (giving up Thabeet) with great concern. ... I think Houston needs a good center and I think that Thabeet could come back to haunt us. ... Absolutely, it's hard for us (to trade Thabeet). It's extremely hard. ... If he develops, he's going to be a big factor in this league and we might be eating our words.''
Thabeet is a young, raw player, but Heisley's comments here are probably too kind. In a little less than two seasons, he hasn't even shown enough flashes to suggest he's close to turning a corner and becoming a valuable contributor. Size is always at a premium in the NBA, but tall guys still need to prove something to become valuable. Right now, Thabeet might be best used as a guy with six fouls to use on a superior post scorer. Even if he becomes a solid player, it's unlikely he'll ever be more than a solid interior defender.
That's a harsh assessment, one that Heisley rightfully didn't use with the media. But it's important to remember that in being kind to Thabeet, Heisley is also cutting general manager Chris Wallace a fair amount of slack, too. The Grizzlies could have taken Stephen Curry(notes), Tyreke Evans(notes), and several other effective guards in place of Thabeet. In saying that Thabeet could develop into a really good center, Heisley is also telling Wallace that the promise they saw two years ago wasn't a mirage.
I seriously doubt that Thabeet will actually make the Grizzlies rue the day they traded him, but there's a certain amount of sense in acting this way in the wake of the deal. By all accounts, Thabeet is well-liked, and Heisley doesn't want to hang his GM out to dry. He's not being entirely truthful, but he's acting like a nice guy. Sometimes, that's better than honesty.