Sixers Deal Former First Round Pick Mo Speights To Memphis, Grizzlies Send Xavier Henry To NO

FILE - In this April 18, 2011, file photo, Philadelphia 76ers' Marreese Speights (16) goes up for a shot against Miami Heat's Zydrunas Ilgauskas during the second half of Game 2 of a first-round NBA playoff basketball series in Miami. A person familiar with the deal says Philadelphia, Memphis and New Orleans have agreed on a multi-player trade. The 76ers are sending Marreese Speights to Memphis, the Grizzlies will move Xavier Henry to New Orleans  and the Grizzlies and Hornets each will send a second-round draft pick to Philadelphia, the person told The Associated Press Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012, on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.

In 2008 the Philadelphia 76ers spent the 16th overall pick on the University of Florida big man Marreese Speights. Two years later the Memphis Grizzlies used their 12th overall pick on the Kansas University product Xavier Henry. Yesterday both teams dealt both players in exchange for second round draft picks.

The third team in this deal, the New Orleans Hornets, used only one future second round selection to pry Henry away from Memphis. The Grizzlies then turned around that draft pick, along with their own second rounder, and sent both to Philly in exchange for Mo Speights.

For the Grizzlies, the move for Speights comes at a time when they’re now looking for help on a frontline that just saw Zach Randolph sidelined with an MCL injury that will have him missing a substantial portion of this season. Early reports are that Z-Bo could be out up to eight weeks. So maybe Marreesse can help some in that respect, and maybe it will also help for him to not have to play for Doug Collins anymore. Between you and me, I don’t think Doug got along too well.

Here is the statement Collins offered after the Speights deal:

“Any time you make a trade, for me as a coach, it’s a tough thing,” Collins said. “I probably invested as much time and energy in Mo as any player. When I took over the job, myself and [assistant] Michael Curry, we just really tried to connect and tried to get the best of him because we know how talented he is. For whatever reason I just wasn’t able to get the best [out of him].”

Couldn’t you not get the best out of Michael Jordan too, Doug? Sorry, that was uncalled for. Collins and Speights weren’t going to work out in Philly ever, so this move was a good one for both sides. Speights went on to say he’s looking forward to the new opportunity in that same article with

“I feel really good about it,” Speights said after the team’s morning shootaround at the New Orleans Arena, shortly after being told about it. “I’ve got a fresh start so I just got to get back on the ground and be prepared to play. I know [Memphis] is a lot like us. They have a good coach in coach [Lionel] Hollins. I know them a little bit. They have coach [Henry] Bibby, who used to coach here a little bit.”

Speights’ worst year statistically was this past season playing under Collins. He had averaged 8.6 points and over 4 rebounds playing 16 minutes per game in 2009-10, his second season, but those numbers dropped to 5 points and 3 rebounds in 11 mpg’s last year.  This year he wasn’t even in the rotation really.

The same can be said about Xavier Henry too, who’s currently sidelined with an ankle injury. The former Lottery Pick says he’s only about 10 days away from being able to make his Hornets debut though.

This according to The Times Picayune:

“I think I’ll definitely be out there in the next two weeks,” said Henry, who played at Kansas and worked out for the Hornets at the Alario Center in a predraft audition. “I have a good estimation of about 10 days maybe, but I’d say in the next two weeks I’ll be out there playing.”

For his career, one that really never had a chance to get going, Henry’s played in 39 games and averaged 4 points and 1 rebound per contest. Here’s hoping he can have the opportunity to start living up to that 12th overall pick potential in the NO. 

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine,,, and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.