Ball Don't Lie - NBA

You know the drill here. It was explained rather forcefully by Skeets this morning, and I've precious little to add. The Jazz sent Ronnie Brewer(notes) to the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday to save money.

Not for cap space next summer. Not to avoid a luxury-tax hit. Just to save money. They'll still be over the cap this summer, and they'll still pay the luxury tax this season.

I can't blame them; it isn't my money But as with others I cannot stomach the spin. Wesley Matthews(notes) is a rotation player, a below-average one, and shouldn't be a starter. Kyle Korver(notes) is shooting the lights out this season, but is rarely healthy enough to create for himself by getting open. And C.J. Miles(notes) is ruddy awful. He dunks, makes the good move, contributes in the odd nationally televised game, but he is not someone you want playing double-figure minutes.

Brewer? He's had a bad season, but it's a fluke. This is a good player. Passable as a starter on a very good team, which the Jazz very well are. And they need to be reminded of this.

Soon, because Deron Williams(notes) is pretty peeved, telling assembled Jazz beat guys that the team, to a man, is quite cold on this deal. "You look at all the teams that are getting better around the West," Williams said, "and we essentially get worse, if you ask me."

Not really. With each passing day, the Spurs are getting worse. The Nuggets are staying the same. The Lakers are brilliant, but their best player has all sorts of things wrong with his body. There are no guarantees that Caron Butler(notes) will turn his crummy season around in Dallas. There will be a drop in production as Brewer's minutes turn into Matthews' and Miles' minutes, but it's not significant, and a huge part of me thinks that the Jazz, more than any other team in the West, can down the Lakers. They have to be aware of that.

Utah gets a protected 2011 pick from the Grizzlies, though we don't know the level of protection, or if it gets parlayed to 2012 if it falls under an umbrella that allows Memphis to hang onto it. I've read some reactions from around the league wondering if Utah wasn't better off asking for Denver's pick in that draft, which the Grizzlies hold the rights to. But as solid as Memphis has been this season, their owner is too mercurial and their overall situation (who knows if Rudy Gay(notes) returns, or if Zach Randolph(notes) will keep it together?) is just too nutty for me to think that they'd be better than Denver in 2010-11.

Brewer's no All-Star, but he's the best Utah had at its weakest position, and though shooting guard might be the least-important position on the court, it's still one of five. The Jazz will get help from the Grizzlies' pick in 2011 and New York's draft choice this June, but the games will be over by then. The Jazz need to win right now, and this doesn't help their chances.

It helps their bottom line. Which is the bottom line to end all bottom lines, at this point.

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