We finished up the first half of our rankings with a wing whose best days are behind him (in a hall of fame career, that’s not a knock on Vince Carter). Number seven on our list is far away from his.
7. Deyonta Davis
Does this feel high for Deyonta? Maybe a little. After all, he’s played only 165 minutes for Memphis and is currently out with a foot injury.
The flashes he showed in those 165 minutes, however, showcased him for what many feel he may be - the steal of the 2016 NBA Draft. He was widely regarded as a lottery pick level talent who fell to the beginning of the second round to Memphis. He is 6’11”, 237 pounds. He just turned 20 this month. He provides the potential for terrific rim protection and pick-and-roll finishing thanks to his length and athleticism. He has posted a net rating of +7, best of all the young players on the Grizzlies (25 or younger).
Small sample size, of course. But what makes Davis so valuable above all else is the contract he signed with the Grizzlies: a three-year deal that will make it possible for both Davis to get a better second contract and for Memphis to retain his services. Any team would be interested in the availability of a Deyonta Davis.
Trade Likelihood - 1%. Nothing is impossible...but Davis is almost certainly a key piece of the Grizzlies’ future.
6. James Ennis III
The difference between Ennis and Vince Carter, aside from age (Ennis is 26)? VERSATILITY. Ennis can defend multiple positions, from the two guard to the stretch four, and he’s a floor spacer in his own right at 40% shooting from beyond the arc so far this season. His injury issues behind him, Ennis every once and a while is brought up as a potential starter if a trade were to occur involving JaMychal Green, Tony Allen, or even both.
And those conversations are fair ones. Ennis has the best net rating of any Grizzly at +15, including a dang impressive 120 offensive rating through over 500 minutes played. If Allen is moved, Ennis could slide in and start at shooting guard. Trade away JaMychal? Perhaps you experiment with Parsons at the four some and slide Ennis to the small forward spot.
He can wear many hats for Memphis. While he’s not more than a role player, he is a darn good one, and on a great contract to boot. Very valuable.
Trade Likelihood - 2%. Highly unlikely. Ennis is under contract next season for a little more than $3 million. You can argue to this point he was Memphis’ best offseason acquisition. Why trade that?
5. Zach Randolph
REMEMBER THIS DOESN’T MEAN THEY SHOULD TRADE HIM DON’T HIT ME.
Zach has bought in to the idea that he can be a darn good sixth man. He’s shown that he can be an impressive bench scorer and also can have some of his defensive issues negated by playing against mostly bench bigs. He’s still a darn good rebounder (12.4 per 36 minutes), which is especially valuable come playoff time. And he’s been through the battles - much like Vince Carter, that experience is so valuable.
But the question with Zach is similar to that of Tony Allen, who (spoiler alert) is up next on our list. Is it possible to get fair value for him at this stage of his career? He is beloved in Memphis...but he’s on the last year of his contract and may not return to the Grizzlies next season (that’s weird to think about). Would it be wise to find a team who will surely not pay what Memphis will find close to equal value?
This trade, for example:
MEMPHIS RECEIVES - Marcus Smart, Jonas Jerebko, 2017 Minnesota 2nd round draft pick
BOSTON RECEIVES - Zach Randolph, Andrew Harrison
Potentially the start to a good deal, considering Smart solves some problems as a back-up point guard for Memphis and Zach gives Boston some sorely needed rebounding off the bench. But Grizzlies fans would probably crush that trade as a lack of worth for Zach. The ultimate irony, of course, is that Boston fans probably would crush it as well as not worth parting with Smart.
Trade Likelihood - 5%. It’d have to be a team overpaying for a rental on Zach Randolph. How much sense does that make for a contender, or even a team fighting for the playoffs like Sacramento or Washington?
4. Tony Allen
Arguments could be made that both Ennis and Randolph could be in front of Allen here. They’ve played that well at times. But TA is still elite as a defender, and he’s shown in the system of Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale that he can be an active, albeit flawed due to his lack of perimeter shooting, part of an offense.
Allen’s trade value may never be higher than it is right now. His ability to “shut off the water” of an opponent’s best player is intensely valuable in a playoff series, especially if he can maintain offensive relevance. Memphis has seen it time and again in their own playoff series the past six seasons. Tony on Kevin Durant, Tony on Chris Paul, Tony on Damian Lillard, Tony on Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson - the list of guys that “The Grindfather” has made miserable is long, but distinguished.
Just what is that worth to a contender? Would Chicago, for example, want Tony Allen and JaMychal Green (along with the 2017 Miami Heat 2nd Rounder from Memphis) in exchange for Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott? Is that too much of an offense-for-defense sacrifice for both teams to go for? Maybe a team like a Utah would send Shelvin Mack and Golden State’s first round pick in 2017 that they have the rights to for TA’s services and the 2017 Miami 2nd rounder Memphis has.
Trade Likelihood - 35%. The Grizzlies have been said to be listening to offers for Tony. All it takes is for one team to fall in love and Memphis may move on from TA.
3. JaMychal Green
In front of Zach Randolph and Tony Allen. Why? Because he brings with him defensive prowess in addition to darn good rebounding, and he can also play a good role as a screener/pick-and-roll player. He also, thanks to his salary, pairs up nicely in various trades with wings like Carter and Allen. His $980,431 salary is cheap, and depending on the team he could be in line for a nice payday.
What team could use his services? Sacramento, near the bottom of the NBA in rebounding, could receive Carter or Allen and Green while sending the Grizzlies Ben McLemore and Omri Casspi. Or JaMychal could fit into a Cleveland trade exception and be sent to the Cavaliers for their first round draft pick this year. Washington, Portland, Utah...there are several teams in the playoff hunt in either conference who struggle rebounding. JaMychal could provide that and then some.
Trade Likelihood - 40%. He will just require ample pay to retain next season and beyond. Memphis has cheaper, younger options under contract they would be wise to give opportunities to. Getting something for Green, who has proven he can be a good rotation player on a good team, would not be the worst idea.
2. Mike Conley
Conley and his freshly minted new contract can be traded January 15th. But remember, this is about trade value, not trade likelihood. Who wouldn’t want a NBA Top-10 point guard...you know, aside from the teams that already have top-10 NBA point guards. Mike was having a career-best start to his season before his back injury, and he has started to round back into form the past few games offensively.
What would it take to acquire Mike? A first round pick and a lesser point guard, at minimum. Brooklyn’s Jeremy Lin and a 2019 1st, for example, feels like it’s not enough for Conley. Philadelphia could offer Sergio Rodriguez’s expiring contract and a couple of firsts (let’s say the Lakers pick this year and the 2019 Sacramento first) for Conley. Can you imagine Mike alongside Ben Simmons, Jahlil Okafor, and Joel Embiid the next few seasons?
That would also put Memphis firmly in the free agency sweepstakes this offseason.
But it won’t happen.
Trade likelihood - 0%. Marc Gasol and Chandler Parsons are here partly because of Conley. He’s “our conductor”. He is staying put in Memphis.
That of course means...
Marc Gasol is #1 on our Memphis Grizzlies trade value rankings.
He is among the best big men in the NBA. Memphians would argue he is the best. He is the best true big man in the NBA shooting the three pointer, adding to an already extensive offensive tool belt. He is one of the best defending bigs in the Association. He is a player that you build schemes around, that teams have to account for in their game plans. He is that damn good.
You want Marc Gasol in a trade, NBA teams? Be willing to part with A LOT. Those two first rounders from Philly that were being sent plus Nerlens Noel...but Philly already has Embiid and Okafor. A third team would be needed. Or for another All-Star caliber player like Kevin Love or DeMarcus Cousins straight up. Or for Derrick Favors or Rudy Gobert and a couple draft picks from Utah.
The bottom line? His value is sky high once again. For a guy who had a broken foot that scared the hell out of people just eight months ago, that is great news for Memphis fans.
Trade likelihood: -10%. No one is giving up what Memphis would want in exchange for the services of the best Center in the NBA.
So what have we learned?
- MARC GASOL, MIKE CONLEY, AND CHANDLER PARSONS AREN’T GOING ANYWHERE. But you already knew that. These guys are the future for the Grizzlies, for better or worse.
- THE FUTURE OF TONY ALLEN AND ZACH RANDOLPH IN MEMPHIS IS CLOUDY. This is reflected in the conflicting reports on the Grizzlies listening to TA trade offers. It is possible both of these guys aren’t traded and re-sign with Memphis this Summer. It is also possible they both are shipped out for draft picks or younger players from contenders as Memphis continues their “competitive while rebuilding” trend.
- JAMYCHAL GREEN, VINCE CARTER, AND TONY ALLEN ARE THE MOST LIKELY GUYS TO MOVE...BUT THAT ISN’T SAYING MUCH. This may well be the season that breaks the streak of in-season trades being made by Memphis. The largest percentage of likelihood for being traded was Green at 40%. The Grizzlies are younger than they were last season, they have better shooting than they had last season, and they are playing better to this point in the season than they were last season. They are in a better spot as a franchise right now than they were 365 days ago. Perhaps viewing getting Parsons and Wright back healthy as acquisitions instead of making a move is the way to go this time around.
The Grizzlies will surely listen to offers. And a back-up point guard upgrade would be more than worth looking in to. But at what cost? Look at Andrew Harrison, for example. Harrison last night against Boston played almost the entire game and put up a 12 point, 5 rebound, 6 assist night. He was the only active point guard and was drastically out of role, and Memphis was still in the game up to the end thanks in part to his play. Is it worth moving a draft pick or a valuable veteran or young player to move on from that? It may not be.
A key word coming in to this season was “development”. Harrison is proof that while it isn’t an exact science, and flaws still exist, there is value in playing what you have and not making a move for the sake of making a move. Memphis has done well enough to this point to show they belong in the playoffs without a healthy Parsons and Wright. With them?
Memphis could get the best kind of acquisitions. Ones where you don’t have to give anything up to obtain them. The Grizzlies are not sellers on the trade market, but they don’t need to be buyers either. That allows for patience and allowing for the right deal to come to them, instead of chasing down some misguided answer to a possible question or five-month rental.
Memphis is in a position of leverage this time around. Time will tell how they use that to their advantage.