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Walking out of Memphis: Grizzlies on the move?

If the Grizzlies four free agents decide to leave Memphis, where could they end up?

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Minnesota Timberwolves Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

This upcoming offseason could be a big one for the Memphis Grizzlies franchise. They have four key free agents they would like to retain, but not much cap space to afford them all unless they take significant pay cuts. The Grizzlies can make a few moves to create some extra cap space but even with that, it will be difficult to bring back all Grizz free agents. It’s likely they bring back a few of the players, but let’s take a look at where each player could wind up if they end up leaving the Grizzlies.

Authors note: I am by no means an expert at cap situations so these teams may have to make a few minor moves in order to acquire these Grizz free-agents.

Tony Allen

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

It would be extremely weird seeing Tony Allen in a different jersey. He has said he can’t envision himself anywhere but Memphis and has even gone out of his way to mention he’s not trying to “break the bank” this summer with a new contract. At this point, I think if TA ends up on another team it’s because the Grizzlies wanted to go a different direction.

In the open market, TA would have plenty of suitors. His tenacious defense would be welcomed by any team in the NBA and his sneaky rebounding skills would be an added bonus. Whatever team goes after Allen, however, will need a ton of good shooters, because that is one thing Tony cannot do. The Minnesota Timberwolves come to mind as potential destination for TA. The T’Wolves have been linked to TA pretty much every time he’s mentioned in trade rumors. Allen is Tom Thibodeau’s ideal defensive player. TA would bring a great veteran presence to an extremely young Wolves team with playoff aspirations.

Spacing would be an issue in Minnesota since other than Zach Lavine and Karl-Anthony Towns, the Wolves don’t have many shooters, but that won’t stop them from reaching out to TA this summer. If TA goes ring chasing, he would be a solid addition to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Surrounded by great offensive players, his offensive shortcomings wouldn’t hurt the team and his defense is much better than Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith’s. The Clips could target TA as well to try and solve their revolving door at small forward, but I think (hope) Tony cares too much about his Memphis legacy to join the Clippers.

Vince Carter

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Toronto Raptors Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

After two disappointing seasons in Memphis, Vince played extremely well in his third season proving he still has at least one more year of basketball left in him. In his exit interview, Vince said he wasn’t going to ring chase, but wanted to play on a contending team where he would get minutes instead of riding the bench (a la Paul Pierce). This makes a Grizzlies return likely, assuming he isn’t asking for much money. If he does leave, all contenders should be calling Vince’s agent.

If the Clippers keep most of their core together, Vince would be a great addition (as much as it hurts to say that). The Clippers weakest position has been small forward pretty much the entire “Lob City” era. With rumors that J.J. Redick is likely to leave the Clippers in free agency, the Clips will need to add more wing depth than just VC, but if they can manage his minutes and keep him fresh, Vince would be a welcomed addition to LA.

If the Raptors can find a way to re sign Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka, a Toronto reunion would be a fitting end to Vince’s career. He would essentially be replacing P.J. Tucker in the Raptors rotation and I don’t necessarily believe adding Vince would all of a sudden make the Raptors stand a chance against the Cavs, but for nostalgia’s sake if Vince is gone, I hope he lands back in Toronto. Portland would also be a sneaky good fit for Vince if they realize Evan Turner isn’t good.

JaMychal Green

NBA: Boston Celtics at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

JaMychal Green is going to cash in this summer. Being a restricted free agent, the biggest question with him is whether or not the Grizzlies want to pay what other teams can offer JaM. This will be JaMychal’s first big NBA contract so I wouldn’t blame him if he takes the biggest offer he can get. If he prefers a ring (and decent contract) he would be wise to consider signing on with the Boston Celtics.

For JaM to end up on the Celtics, they would first need to strike out on their key free agent targets Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin. If they clear the cap space and both those players spurn Boston, the Celtics will have max cap space to acquire a handful of free agents. Although the Celtics had the best record in the East, the Cavs have looked 100 times better since the playoffs tipped. The Celtics biggest flaws have been rebounding and defense, and both those things just so happen to be JaMychal’s strengths.

Power forward was a game of musical chairs for the Celtics this past season and that has even carried into the playoffs shuffling Amir Johnson in and out of the starting lineup. JaMychal would be an instant upgrade at the position and could be the key factor that puts the Celtics over the top, assuming they can add a few decent bench players with their remaining cap space. His ability to shoot the 3 would help with the spacing on offense and his rebounding and defense can help cover for the deficiencies of both Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford.

If JaMychal chases the money, look for a team like the Brooklyn Nets to offer him a contract the Grizzlies couldn’t possibly afford to match. In Brooklyn, JaMychal could get paid big bucks, and try and prove he can be a more dominant offensive presence than the Grizzlies system allowed him to be.

Zach Randolph

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Washington Wizards Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Like TA, seeing Z-Bo in another NBA jersey would be weird. He’s said he wants to come back to Memphis but it remains to be seen if he’s willing to accept the pay cut it will likely cost him to remain in Memphis. JaM’s free agency will also play a large role in Z-Bo’s plans. If JaM stays in Memphis, Z-Bo may want to play elsewhere where he can start or get more money. If JaM leaves, I think Z-Bo stays in Memphis and tries to reclaim his starting role.

If Z-Bo ultimately ends up switching teams, the Washington Wizards would be a great landing spot for him. He would have to accept another bench role, but with how bad the Wizards bench was this past season, Z-Bo would instantly become the focal point of the bench unit. He wouldn’t mesh well on the court with Marcin Gortat, but put Z-Bo in as a small-ball 5 and he could flourish with the remaining of the Wiz starting 5. With the Wizards, Z-Bo would get plenty of playing time and touches, as well as a chance at getting a ring as his career winds down.

If Greg Monroe leaves Milwaukee, Z-Bo could come in and essentially replace him in the up and coming Bucks lineup. If Z-Bo is hell-bent on starting and getting paid his worth then he could follow TA (potentially) to Minnesota where he could battle for a starting spot alongside KAT. He could also find himself starting in Oklahoma City, depending on what they do with Taj Gibson.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It’s likely the Grizzlies bring back at least a couple of their free agents and I am sure all four will gain interest from more than the few teams I’ve mentioned. If you feel like any of the four players would fit in better on a different team, let me know in the comments below!

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