Well, it is that time again. The All-Star Weekend is over, and the playoff run is about to begin. Teams across the league are going to have to choose whether they are going to be buyers or sellers. Woj bombs will be dropping all week long.
The NBA trade deadline is this Thursday. Fans all across the league are busting out the trade machine looking for possible ways to shake their teams up. For me personally, this is my favorite time of the year. I have been tinkering with the trade machine for about three weeks now trying to find trade possibilities for not just the Memphis Grizzlies but the whole league. For this article, we will stick with just the Grizzlies and what they can do, if anything, before Thursday’s trade deadline.
The Grizzlies are in an interesting situation this deadline sitting at the 6th seed in the West, but they are playing great basketball. The team they have now is poised to make a run, however, they could add another piece to get them to that next level.
One of the biggest problems for Memphis is the lack of assets the team has to offer to a potential trade partner. Draft picks and/or a young stud (along with expiring contracts for cap implications) are the cornerstones of any trade in the league. Before we get into any hypothetical trades, let’s break down the trade pieces Memphis has going into the break:
This is where it hurts most for a Grizzlies fan wanting a trade. With the current standings, the Grizzlies do not own a draft pick for this year’s draft. Not to rehash bad memories, but back in 2013, the team traded a heavily protected first rounder (and other pieces) to the Cleveland Cavaliers for big man Jon Leuer…. Yes, Jon Leuer. That pick (which is only 1-5 protected this year) has been dealt multiple times finally ending with the Portland Trail Blazers.
As for their second round pick, Memphis traded this pick away as well back in 2014 in a three-team deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Boston Celtics which in return landed them Courtney Lee and last year’s Boston pick. Memphis does own their 2018 first round pick, but the Stepien Rule says teams cannot trade back to back first round picks. So, there is no help there with that one.
Now, with a little bit of reshuffling in the standings, the Grizzlies could come away with the Miami Heat’s second round pick. It is 41-60 protected (2018 unprotected) for the Heat in a deal last year that shipped out Courtney Lee for four second round picks. About a month ago, this pick was sitting pretty to fall within the 31-40 range so Memphis could hang on to it. However, their team rattled off a huge win streak before the All-Star break making the end of their season very intriguing to Grizzlies Nation.
All that being said, the Grizzlies do own many future second round draft picks outside of this draft that can be leveraged as well.
Potentially Valuable Pieces: For this category, Memphis relies on the potential factor in their young guys. Wade Baldwin IV and Jarell Martin were the last two first round picks for the Grizzlies. As they have not had the chance to show much with a Player Efficiency Rating of 6.9 and 7.8 respectively (according to RealGM), a team would definitely be interested in taking a risk with them given their youth. Other trade chips (who may not be young) are Brandan Wright and Troy Daniels. Wright has a PER of 19.5 and has been playing at a high level the games he has been healthy this year. If he continues this and stays healthy he could be a huge weapon for a new team or if he stays with the Grizzlies. Daniels is sporting a 12.0 PER and could be a smaller chip worth offering given his upgrade in minutes with the team.
In this off-season, the Grizzlies will have major questions with some big names. Zach Randolph, Vince Carter, Tony Allen, and JaMychal Green will all be entering some form of free agency. Even with “Bird Rights” protection, the team will be hard pressed to sign all these guys back. This gives Memphis an incentive to deal one or more of these four players if the right deal comes to available.
Trading expirings are significant to any kind of trade to balance out cap rooms and so the team taking on these players will not have to worry about them eating their cap after the one year left on the current deal.
So, I bring up all the Grizzlies assets in detail because it is crucial to stress how important assets are if a team is wanting to make a trade of any type. The front office for Memphis has made multiple deals over the years, so this organization will make one if one presents itself. Using the assets we laid out, let’s now look at some hypothetical trades the Grizz can make to vault themselves into that next tier.
Stay tuned for Trade Deadline Preview- Part 2: Grizzlies Trades