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GM: Grizzlies not trading Marc Gasol or Mike Conley

Memphis Grizzlies v Detroit Pistons

AUBURN HILLS, MI - DECEMBER 21: Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlies celebrates a basket in the second half with Mike Conley #11 while playing the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills on December 21, 2016 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace made clear that firing David Fizdale was about optimizing the present.

In case you didn’t get the picture of what that means for Marc Gasol and Mike Conley…

Wallace, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

“We have no intention to trade Marc,” Wallace told ESPN when asked if the franchise might consider dealing the 32-year-old big man. “We never seriously considered that at all. We never placed any calls to any teams in that regard. So that’s not happening.

“It’s not just Marc that this whole equation is about. It’s also Mike Conley, when he comes back. We’ve got two guys among the elite in the league at their respective positions that are still very much in their window with an awful lot of tread left on their tires.”

File this under: What else is he supposed to say? Even if the Grizzlies were looking to trade Gasol and/or Conley, announcing it would only reduce leverage.

But I tend to take Wallace at his word here. Every signal points to Memphis remaining steadfast in its plan to keep Gasol and Conley.

That’s probably a mistake, though.

Gasol is 32 and has shown signs of decline. Conley is 30 and can’t stay healthy. With a weak supporting cast, the Grizzlies need both remain competitive. Gasol has shown he can’t do it alone, and I doubt Conley could, either.

Memphis has tried to move past its longstanding core to form a more dynamic team, but it’s not working. The Grizzlies are worse now without much more long-term upside.

There’s no sin in moderate goals, and with the right breaks, Memphis can sneak into the playoffs with Gasol and Conley. Next year, too. But if that’s the best-case scenario, maybe it’s time jumpstart a rebuild.