By Paul Roumeliotis
Back in 2008, the Memphis Grizzlies made one of the wildest trades in NBA history by trading away their franchise player Pau Gasol. Many believed the deal favored the Los Angeles Lakers heavily stirring a huge debate.
General manager Chris Wallace never heard the end of the criticism, and still may never hear the end of it, but that's besides the point.
According to the Boston Globe, Derrick Rose may have unknowingly been the influence of that blockbuster deal.
"We were heading for a second 20-something-win season," Wallace said. "After all, this is the entertainment business and the town really did not see much entertainment value in our team anymore. Our crowds were dismal and it coincided with the Derrick Rose season at the University of Memphis, and literally we were like a high school JV compared to them in terms of interest. So, there was really nothing to lose at that point.”
The Grizzlies ended up finishing the season with a 22-60 record, which was tied for third worst. Due to their poor year, Memphis had the fourth best chance of winning the draft lottery trailing the Miami Heat (15-67), Seattle SuperSonics (20-62, currently Oklahoma City Thunder) and Minnesota Timberwolves (22-60).
[MORE: Rose thinks he's '100 percent']
Rose and Kansas State forward Michael Beasley were projected to be the top two picks. As a result, Wallace may have battled the odds in attempt to draft Rose, but after the Chicago Bulls surprisingly wound up with the number one pick, the home-town player was taken off the board and Memphis claimed the fifth spot.
Not only has the trade inspired by Rose impacted the Grizzlies, but the NBA as a whole.
Since then, Pau Gasol has made three NBA Finals appearances including two championships with the Lakers.
On the other hand, new franchise player Marc Gasol (Pau's younger brother and player involved in the trade), has led the Grizzlies to the postseason for three years in a row.
In the end, things may have turned out a lot different.