If you had asked me about SB Nation Trade Day a couple of months ago I probably would have told you that the Grizzlies wouldn't be very active role players. After all, they were primed and loaded for another run at the championship (tee hee ..?).
Lo and behold, it's December 17th and the Griz of Memphis are quickly losing grip on what was supposed to be a promising and ambitious season. The biggest question at this moment isn't really what kind of deals will the Grizzlies be making, it's a more broad topic.
Are the Grizzlies going to try salvage the season and make a playoff run, or are the Grizzlies going to start planning for the 2014-15 season?
Memphis Grizzlies: Buyers or Sellers?
The neutral perspective on this team would have them opportunistically ready to sell to the right buyer. There isn't really a foolproof way for Griz Mgmt to bottom out the team this year, and after hearing Jason Levien's recent comments it doesn't sound like Memphis is anywhere near the tanking-tipping-point.
Although the Grizzlies look completely lethargic right now, the return of Marc Gasol could quickly allow them to rip off a big winning streak and put them right back into the playoff mix. That being said, if Gasol struggles to get back on the court and back to form, the Grizzlies could look to ship out Zach Randolph for some young assets or draft picks.
What are the Grizzlies' needs?
Small Forward. The injury to Quincy Pondexter and the continuing decline of Tayshaun Prince has left the Grizzlies yearning for energy and scoring at the wing spot. They really painted themselves into a corner with the Rudy Gay trade. They needed the change it direction (and cap space), but it did nothing to fill any roster holes or weaknesses.
You'd obviously think the Grizzlies need a SF that can shoot 3's, and while that will be a goal of the Front Office during trade season, I feel as though the Grizzlies need someone with athleticism and the ability to move with the ball. Secondary ballhandling has been an issue so it wouldn't surprise me if the Griz looked around at the 2 position a bit as well.
So who is really available on the Grizzlies?
There are the always-untouchables in Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. After that there's really no guarantees in Memphis anymore. The most likely of deals would come in some permutation of Jerryd Bayless, Tayshaun Prince and Ed Davis. Those are the most "liquid" assets the Grizzlies have
left available. Injuries and front office relationships make it hard to look at any other big pieces besides Zach Randolph. (I would also say Mike Miller is available if he wasn't Joerger's BFF).
Trade Scenarios from the GBB Staff
- Jerryd Bayless or Ed Davis to Miami for Joel Anthony and the protected Philly pick.
- Tayshaun, Ed Davis, and Bayless + a 2nd rd pick to Milwaukee for Ersan Ilyasova and Luke Ridnour.
Call it a "best of a bad situation" type deal: Flip Ed Davis for Iman Shumpert. The Knicks need size, and Davis recent string of good play before going down helped his value. The Knicks pop up in rumors every other day with Shumpert. He's got a solid outside stroke (34%) which isn't phenomenal by any stretch of the imagination, but isn't terrible.
He is also an above average defender, and while sticking him at the 3 would make us play significantly small, he is an upgrade offensively, and he plays much bigger than 6'5. He's also under contract next season.
Trade #1 (Contingent on a healthy Gasol returning before deadline)
- Memphis gets- Wilson Chandler, Andre Miller, Nazr Mohammed
- Chicago gets- Tayshaun Prince, Kosta Koufos, Evan Fournier, 2014 Denver 1st round draft pick
- Denver gets- Luol Deng, Jerryd Bayless, 2014 Memphis 2nd round pick
- Memphis gets a back-up C to replace Koufos, wing help with Q out, a solid back-up PG who can play alongside Conley in Miller and a starting SF in Chandler. Denver gets an expiring deal in Deng and a combo guard in JB, another expiring contract. Chicago confirms a tanking theory and saves themselves cash while nabbing a Denver 1st round draft pick.
- Memphis gets- Ersan Ilyasova, Channing Frye, Caron Butler
- Milwaukee gets- Zach Randolph
- Phoenix gets- Tayshaun Prince, Jerryd Bayless, Memphis 2014 2nd round pick
- This trade upgrades Memphis' shooting quite a bit; Ilyasova is a great scorer and rebounder when healthy, Butler and Frye can both light it up from range and Butler is an expiring deal, freeing up about $8 million next season. Milwaukee gets a solid upgrade at PF in Z-Bo and a possible mentor to youngsters Larry Sanders and John Henson, plus a likely expiring deal, since Zach will likely not opt in to a deal with Milwaukee. Phoenix gets depth at the wing in Tayshaun and a home town returner in Jerryd Bayless, plus a 2nd round pick.
What do you envision?
Is there a realistic trade scenario you'd love to see happen with the Grizzlies? Tell us about it in the comments below and we'll take a look and see what can be had!
(Big ups to Matt Hrdlicka, Keith Edwards and Joe Mullinax for contributing to content all over this page)