What should the Grizzlies do?
If the Grizzlies make a move, it will either be a small move to create a future asset, or to add a player they think is on a reasonable contract.
The former is a move that keeps future flexibility open, a bet that through either trade or free agency, they can get more value in a year or two than they can right now. The latter is an admission that the time, more than ever, is now. I still think the chances of a move happening are high, but the recent waiver of Troy Williams for Toney Douglas at least indicates that some of the Grizzlies assets are still tough to evaluate (see: Wright, Brandan).
And despite the presence of aforementioned non-rookie Toney Douglas, the backup point guard spot is still in need of an upgrade. But more broadly, general ball-handling is still desperately needed. The Grizzlies did well to add value players like Troy Daniels and James Ennis, but neither can really dribble. This team still relies on Vince Carter to create for stretches. That lack of dribbling really handicaps everything else you want to do.
Before we get to the Grizz, do you have any fake trades you wish would happen?
Glad you asked!
1). The 76ers trade Jahlil Okafor, PHI and LAL 2017 1sts and Sergio Rodriguez for Jimmy Butler. I like this deal for PHI.
2). The Bulls trade Rajon Rondo, Nikola Mirotic, the better of SAC or CHI’s 2nd round pick, and CHI’s 2017 lottery protected 1st to the Knicks for Carmelo Anthony. I like this deal for CHI and NYK both. Let’s go with this one.
3). Atlanta trades Thabo Sefolosha to Washington for Sheldin McClellan, Marcus Thornton, and WAS 2017 lottery protected 1st. Small move where the Wizards “overpay” to add some vital depth on the wing for a 1st likely to be in the 20’s. Wiz retain Thabo’s Bird Rights, allowing them to re-sign him in the offseason (key because they may not be able to use their Mid-Level Exception depending on the offer Otto Porter gets).
4). Milwaukee trades Mirza Teletovic to Atlanta for Tiago Splitter and a 2nd round pick. Milwaukee leans into tanking after Jabari’s injury and gets off a deal that might be bad for them but could be very good for the right team.
5). The Pelicans trade Omer Asik, Tyreke Evans, Tim Frazier, Quincy Pondexter, the rights to swap BOS’s 1st with NOP’s in 2017, PHI’s 2017 2nd round pick, and NOP’s 2018 1st lottery protected (eventually becomes one 2nd) to the Nets for Brook Lopez and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
In one fell swoop, the Pels get off $14mm in dead money this year AND next (Asik and Q-Pon), get a real center to help their offense, get a young small forward (albeit one who can’t shoot), and all without giving up too many rotation minutes. The price is steep, a chance at a lottery pick this year, but that is mitigated with protection on the future 1st that keeps it from being a second lottery pick. Brooklyn upgrades the BOS pick to NOP’s pick (easily ten draft spots), and gets them two more picks to start building an actually young core.
Brook Lopez isn’t the best fit for this team, but turning $14mm of zombie money into $20mm of production is hard to do. And NOP just did it. Brook Lopez will immediately break his foot.
Back to the Grizzlies - What’s the value of their tradeable assets?
The Grizzlies are in the position where they don’t “need” to do anything, and probably “can’t” do anything to meaningfully change their season outlook. This isn’t the worst position to be in. Some of their assets might have more value if they wait until the off-season.
Case in point: Brandan Wright. He has played four games now, and the chances that he makes it out of the season healthy are, at best, long. Still, he adds a different dimension that the Grizzlies could use, and having another actual NBA player on the roster is not a bad thing. Waiting to deal Wright in the offseason risks his leg falling off. And while I don't want to trade him for “nothing,” shedding Wright’s contract may provide the missing space needed to keep all the other free agents. I’d deal him for a cost controlled combo guard on a multi-year deal, or a good 2nd round pick
Jarell Martin has done little to impress, and trading him now would be an exercise in getting off a sunk cost more than getting value for him. Martin is the definition of a “flier” right now. The right team might see an under-utilized player who hasn’t been put in a position to succeed. They might be right, but there’s evidence to suggest that even above average outcomes of Martin’s career might not be good enough to play on a playoff team. I would not trade Martin for just any 2nd round pick, but I would trade him for roughly the same value as Brandan Wright, if a team preferred Martin to Wright. I’m probably less likely to deal Martin, because of the team control extending well beyond Wright.
Andrew Harrison has been largely unproductive despite playing significant minutes…which is pretty much what we should expect from a rookie point guard. I would trade Harrison more to balance the roster and carry an asset forward: a middling 2nd, or perhaps a swap to fortify the chances that one of my existing 2nd round picks is more likely to be in the top 10 of the 2nd round.
Though this type of deal is unlikely to present itself, I would be willing to include Deyonta Davis or Wade Baldwin (but not both) in a larger deal that would normally need a 1st round pick attached to bring in a starting caliber player on a multi-year deal.
I would not trade JaMychal Green for any late 1st pick in this year’s draft. I think he’s too valuable to what the Grizzlies are doing this year to entertain that type of deal. I would consider dealing him for a future 1st round pick (possibly well into the future if it had some upside), but that type of deal is doubtful to come along.
I would not trade Zach Randolph or Tony Allen under almost any circumstance. Trading either probably means taking a step back this season, so I would need a ton of future value to do that. That type of return for aging players who are tough, unsexy fits on most teams is not likely.
The quietly big thing that has affected the Grizzlies’ ability to make a trade is that the Heat rattled off 10 straight wins. The Grizzlies own the Heat’s 2nd round pick this year. In December, that pick was on pace to be 31-33, a great asset to trade to a team that wants to use cap space next year (2nd round picks are easier draft and stash picks, and don’t come with cap holds or guaranteed contracts).
That pick now will be closer to 40 - or could even roll over to next year - not a bad thing for the Grizzlies, considering they have 3 rookies, a 2nd year player, and will probably be bringing over Rade Zagorac next year.
So, given all of the above, it is possible that the Grizzlies don’t like any offers they get for these assets