"Guys, we got Luke Ridnour!"
Well, it's not that exciting. Ridnour is a fine veteran, but if the Memphis Grizzlies really wanted to replenish their backcourt stock, one would think they could do better than the 34 year old who saw the court in just 47 games for the Orlando Magic last season. Maybe, just maybe, the Grizzlies are planning to sell high on midrange gawd Beno Udrih, and wanted to lock up a replacement on the low without dipping into their Mid-Level Exception money. But probably not, because they picked Ridnour.
Instead, this trade was probably about setting the table for another move – which is a lot more exciting than getting Luke Ridnour. The Grizzlies got Ridnour by absorbing him into the Quincy Pondexter trade exception worth $3.15 million, and with Ridnour's $2.75 million non-guaranteed contract on hand (his deal can be fully waived at any time on or before July 10th, via spotrac.com), this opens up a few more trade avenues that were previously unavailable.
GBB's Coverage of the 2015 NBA Draft
Hat-tip to the great Kevin Pelton of ESPN for sorting out some of the grittier CBA details involved ($): Ridnour can be traded for a player with a contract worth up to 150 percent of his salary plus $100,000, or $4.22 million, as opposed to the trade exception which can only absorb players worth up to its own value. Thanks to another CBA clause, Ridnour can't be traded with another player on salary (although he can be combined with draft picks or rights) for the next two months, so don't expect Ridnour to be shipped out with Jeff Green anytime soon.
At any rate, this probably precludes a Grizzly trade that was unavailable to them beforehand. Trading for Ridnour means some other team gets to clear unwanted salary (or get Ridnour to play basketball on their team, if that's what they want), and the Grizzlies can still trade him with the 25th pick as a sweetener.
Here is the full list of guys that the Grizzlies can trade for with Ridnour's contract but weren't possible with the trade exception. Some of these, like Damian Lillard, might take a little more negotiating than others.
In no particular order, we'll touch on some of the players more likely to be a future Grizzly below (included are their contract values both before and after July 1st, when 2015-16 salaries officially kick in):
C.J. Miles, IND ($4.21mil in 2014-15 / $4.39mil in 2015-16)
Despite a below-average three-point percentage last season, Miles came darn close to .400 (specialist territory!) in the two seasons before that and neared that again in the post All-Star portion of last season. He's not a great defender, but not a glaring weakness there either. As the cap rises, having Miles locked up until 2017 at roughly $4.5 million per year could be great value.
He can only be acquired before July 1 when his contract value increases out of the gettable range. Indiana won't be eager to move one of its few three-point shooters, but if they don't expect Roy Hibbert to join David West in opting out, waiving Ridnour in Miles' place gets them closer to room for a max contract.
Bojan Bogdanovic, BKN ($3.28mil / $3.43mil)
Bogdanovic slumped a bit in the middle of the season, but appears to be a good-to-great three-point shooter and cuts really well. Not a good defender, but could approach average after, you know, being a rookie last season. Assuming he's a placeholder Bogdanovic for the much-hyped Bogdan Bogdanovic of last year's draft. Brooklyn is so deep in tax hell that there may not really be any point in a Ridnour's worth of relief, but who knows how things shake out.
Matt Barnes, CHA ($3.40mil / $3.54mil)
If I were GM, I'd sign him (and Kyle O'Quinn). Average shooter, active cutter/fast-breaker and an inherently dislikable defender, which mostly means good. Word was, the Hornets were going to buy him out. Waiving Ridnour for free is better, no?
Cody Zeller, CHA ($4.03mil / $4.20mil)
Freshly made available, although not quite for an expiring contract. He's a terrific athlete who runs the floor well, attacks the rim hard and defends both big man positions up to snuff. Shows signs of developing a pick-and-pop game in midrange as a bonus. Count me in on him as a Kosta Koufos replacement.
Marreese Speights, GSW ($3.66mil / $3.82mil)
The Grizzlies can bring him back just two years removed from salary dumping him and some others (RIP JOSH SELBY) for Jon Leuer! Speights was terrific last season, but a lot of that was shooting outrageously well from midrange. Take out 'outrageously well', and you have Speights' game in entirety.
The Warriors would have to opt in on his team option for next season before trading him. Moving Speights provides a bit of tax relief, regardless of whether they find a taker for David Lee.
Ian Mahinmi, IND ($4.00mil / $4.00mil)
Rebounds, defends the rim, dunks hard and gets hacked to the free throw line. Another one of those guys that isn't quite a starter but a fine role player, or basically another potential Koufos replacement. Again, Indy might want the space.
Anthony Morrow, OKC ($3.20mil / $3.34mil)
One of the best three-point shooters in the league, and despite a bad reputation on defense, has worked his tail off to pick up some of the nuances on that end. The Thunder probably don't want to trade him, but they'll be paying the tax next season and are known to be looking for some payroll relief. Would mean more shots for Dion Waiters, so Dion is for it.
Patty Mills, SAS ($3.84mil / $3.58mil)
Mills was pretty meh last season after returning from a long-term shoulder injury, but has years of experience providing firecracker offense off the bench. If the Spurs would really prefer retaining Cory Joseph as backup point guard, moving Patty Mills gives them some more financial leeway to do so. Bonus: he looks like The Weeknd.
Mario Chalmers, MIA ($4.00mil / $4.30mil)
No longer being yelled at; also saw his three-point percentage drop nearly a full ten percentage points last season (Vince Carter territory). He can create his own drive and shot the three ball really well before LeBron left. Miami has no need for him anymore, and values cap space. You guys wanted Mo Williams in 2011, right?
Devin Harris, DAL ($3.88mil / $4.05mil)
Starting to get up there in years, and we've had bad luck with taking aging guys out of Rick Carlisle's quite adept hands. Inconsistent three-point shooter who approached okay last season and looked good running P&R in Dallas' flow offense. The Mavericks have Tyson Chandler, Rajon Rondo and Monta Ellis all hitting free agency, so some extra cap space might come in handy, but the Mavericks will probably try to peddle Raymond Felton's similar contract instead.
Thabo Sefolosha, ATL ($4.15mil / $4.00mil)
Sefolosha's track record on defense speaks for itself, even at age 31, but he hasn't shot the three well for two years running. A declining contract is convenient to have, and after his unfortunate run-in with the NYPD, Sefolosha is expected to be healthy by the series opener. With Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll both due for pay day this summer, the Atlanta Hawks have a reason to eke out room on the books.
Mike Scott, ATL ($3.33mil / $3.33mil)
Atlanta would love to peddle him off to any team gullible enough to believe he's a stretch 4. In reality, he's a career .326 three-point shooter and mostly clueless on defense. Has emoji tattoos, which is a plus to me.
Evan Turner, BOS ($3.28mil / $3.43mil)