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February 18, 2010

Brewer to Memphis Beats the Buzzer

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 5:20 pm

As usual, even though it’s well after the 3:00 p.m. Eastern trade deadline, deals continue to trickle in. The latest sees Ronnie Brewer dealt to Memphis for a conditional 2011 first-round pick, a deal that has important ramifications for the Western Conference Playoff picture.

Utah won’t get under the luxury tax without Brewer’s salary, but will not have to pay the tax on his contract and also saves the actual salary the rest of the season. That savings is slightly offset by the need to sign another player to fill out the 13-man roster. All told, the Jazz saves about $3.06 million by dumping Brewer’s contract. Is that and the first-round pick worth losing Brewer? That probably depends on your perspective.

Utah believes it is because the team has multiple other players capable of stepping into those minutes at the two–rookie Wesley Matthews, C.J. Miles and a healthy Kyle Korver. Other than Korver, who has shot lights-out when he’s been on the floor, those other two players have not been as effective as Brewer even in terms of individual statistics in what has been a down season for the incumbent Jazz starter. In terms of plus-minus, however, Brewer has been the least effective of the group. Utah is 4.3 points worse per 100 possessions with Brewer on the floor, per 82games.com, and that’s despite the luxury of playing with the team’s strong starting five.

I’m more optimistic on Brewer than the plus-minus and wonder about shaking up a team that has played so well lately, but the difference may ultimately be negligible for the Jazz. At the same time, Brewer could represent a boon to a Memphis team that has been disastrous off the bench this season. He’s a considerable upgrade on rookies DeMarre Carroll and Sam Young and gives the Grizzlies a sixth player upon whom they can rely. Is that difference enough to get Memphis to the playoffs? Probably not, but Brewer is young enough that he is more than a rental. In particular, he represents insurance in case the team is unable to re-sign Rudy Gay this summer, when Gay will be a valuable commodity because of all the teams who cleared cap space prior to the deadline.

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