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Not so Swift
The Stro Show taking long time to return after ankle injury

By Ronald Tillery
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March 22, 2005

Analysis

Here's hoping Stromile Swift never left his bed Monday.







Rest, Stro, rest.

By Thursday it should be time for Stro to run.

Run, Stro, run.

In trying to figure out which was more embarrassing -- Swift missing his 13th game last Sunday because of a moderately sprained left ankle or sitting in a uniform not prepared to play -- one had to wonder what really is on the fifth-year forward's mind.

Pau Gasol rushed back from a stress reaction in his left foot.

Shane Battier played two games with a 101-degree temperature that should have rendered him bedridden.

Jason Williams rolled his ankle and performed after two games.

Earl Watson has a busted left hand, a tender shoulder and would have missing teeth if not for cosmetic surgery. Yet the 6-1 reserve guard is, yep, playing.

So where is Stromile Swift?

He's back, all right.

He's back to being the butt of a joke heard during the Grizzlies' inaugural season in Memphis.

Whenever the team bus hit a bump in the road and players were slightly discharged from their seats, a teammate would sarcastically check on Swift.

The remarks would go something like this: Somebody check on Stro. He may have separated his shoulder.

Right now it appears Swift's view on his future is separated from reality.

Sure, he played well when Gasol first went down because of an injury. Sure, Swift can jump to Pluto if he wants, and he operates as the team's only legitimate shot-blocker.

But those credits he earned with fine performances before the Feb. 16 ankle injury at Boston have been spent on unexcused time off.

Swift has been cleared by doctors to play for more than two weeks.

He can play.

He should play.

He needs to play.

This is a guy fighting for a contract beyond this season, and he has shown no recuperative powers and little professional pride. For a team battling for a playoff berth, the Grizzlies are right to plan on excelling without Swift.

"I have never questioned a player in 14 years," Griz coach Mike Fratello said. "There's got to be a trust in all of us. If they say they can't go, then they can't go."

Something funny happened during Lorenzen Wright's exit from practice last week.

Wright, a sturdy veteran, repeatedly asked Swift if he would play the next night against New Orleans.

Swift ignored the ribbing.

Repeatedly.

When asked about needing to prove that he can play through pain, Swift downplayed the situation.

"I don't think it's a factor because the whole year I've played through injury and didn't talk about it. Everybody plays through injuries," Swift said, responding to a notion that he needs to dispel a career-long notion that he's fragile.

Swift has also talked about not getting enough "lift" to deliver the aerial assault he's accustomed to.

Still, one has to wonder if Swift's ankle is all that's weak.

Could he be receiving bad advice from representatives?

Swift never budged from a six-year, $60 million proposal to the Griz last summer. The Grizzlies' counter was to pay him an average of $8 million per season if he met incentives.

The two parties could have met at a reasonable six-year deal worth $42 million to $45 million.

Now Swift is making the Grizzlies' sticking point seem like Krazy Glue.

How can you invest so much guaranteed money in a guy who has played in no more than 67 games during three of four seasons in Memphis?

What is Swift made of?

Potential.

But who knows beyond that?

-- Ronald Tillery: 529-2353

Anyone still want this bum?I sure as hell don't.
 

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Seems like Ronny's opinion changes with the wind.

Tillery: Grizzlies' Swift shows he's well worth the cash

Now, last summer seems so silly.

Stromile Swift should have been signed to a long-term deal, and he's shown why.
The Grizzlies knew what Swift had in him, and that's why they will make him their No. 1 priority during the offseason.
Swift won't get a contract averaging $10 million per season, but he's made sure he won't get low-balled, either.

"As long as he gets market value, it doesn't matter (if the league shortens the length of maximum contracts)," Ashe said last summer. "We think Stro will eventually get market value."

And it's difficult to argue that he hasn't earned it.
Just thought I'd throw out an opposing viewpoint, surprisingly, from the same guy. :rolleyes:
 

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Good stuff, hey people change their minds and flipflop all the time. For a guy who was high on him to all of a sudden be down on him, something is very wrong.
 

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KingofNewark said:
Good stuff, hey people change their minds and flipflop all the time. For a guy who was high on him to all of a sudden be down on him, something is very wrong.
I'm not sure what to think of Swift now, but I think I'll reserve judgment based on the fact that the guy writing about him doesn't seem to have a valid opinion himself. His skill set is what we need, but maybe his heart isn't. Guess I'll just have to count on Rod to make the right decision.
 

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Stromile himself is a much kinder, gentler person than the people who represent him, based on a bit of personal experience.

It seems like he's following orders from his agent and possibly getting some bad advice. Stromile wouldn't be persuaded to lower his $60 million asking price to something reasonable last summer, which I feel is uncharacteristic of the kind of person he is. He's really not all that concerned with money, but unfortunately, he's really not all that concerned with improving as a basketball player either.

Hopefully, he'll be back on the floor sometime soon (although he's not as "needed" as Tillery would make it seem), but I won't be as disappointed as some Grizzlies fans when he isn't resigned this offseason.
From a post I made on the Memphis board.
 

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I think going home for him will do him some good. Letting down locals and family... may cause him some shame, that if this article has truth to it.

-Petey
 

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That "agent made me do it" excuse never flies. nor does the "it's not about the money" excuse.

The agent is always acting on behalf of the client and it's ALWAYS about the money.
 

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i can't really go by this regarding whether i would like stro or not. vince proved to us that a change of scenery can do wonders. maybe if stro came here in our lockerroom and enviornment, then maybe he will become more of an impact player and not be a "bum".

if this really starts to get ugly then i would have to rethink it. but his athletic ability is great, i would love to see him play with kidd. lets hope that this guy is just upset or has a personal hatred toward stro.
 

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That's not good news on Swift. Or maybe it is, if it drives his asking price way, WAY down. Who knows? He's definitely an enigma. Maybe he's not tough enough, and if that's the case, then better luck elsewhere, but in the right situation, he might just blossom.
 

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Maybe he has the buef syndrome: He's playing for a new contract next year and wants to wait until he's 100 percent before he comes back. It would certainly stink for Swift if he couldn't audition himself in the playoffs because he re-aggravated his injury.

Also, I'm sure Swift wants to start, which he won't for the Griz. He may already have his sights set on the future - not that he doesn't want to help the Griz win, just that he knows that he's going to be playing for a different team next season regardless.

Not saying those are valid excuses, but it doesn't mean he's a bad player just because he's looking forward.
 

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CurlyBeast said:
Also, I'm sure Swift wants to start, which he won't for the Griz. He may already have his sights set on the future - not that he doesn't want to help the Griz win, just that he knows that he's going to be playing for a different team next season regardless
thats what im thinking too. i would be shocked if he resigned with the griz. unless if the make some trades involving bigs that would give stro the starting spot.

i also think he might be thinking about what kidd can do for his career. kidd helped to make kenyon into an all-star and got him big money and notice around the league. but if he comes here, it wont be for big money and hopefully he would come here for a long term deal not to just use us for a year or two then get money.
 

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NetsanityJoe said:
thats what im thinking too. i would be shocked if he resigned with the griz. unless if the make some trades involving bigs that would give stro the starting spot.

i also think he might be thinking about what kidd can do for his career. kidd helped to make kenyon into an all-star and got him big money and notice around the league. but if he comes here, it wont be for big money and hopefully he would come here for a long term deal not to just use us for a year or two then get money.
My hope as well, but an unlikely one to come to fruition. The comments about his toughness, however, do concern me.
 
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