The Memphis Grizzlies are perennial playoff participants. That is not to be debated. But in order to become real championship contenders, the Grizzlies are going to have to retool a very solid roster. Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, and a hopefully healthy Chandler Parsons are as talented a “BIG 3” as you are going to find in the NBA. building a competitive roster around those three is objective number one for Chris Wallace, John Hollinger, and David Fizdale.
First let’s look at current players possibly on their way out the door...
The Grindfather seems a likely candidate to ride off into the sunset. Still one of the best defenders in the league, Allan is an attractive option to any contender, there will be no shortage of suitors for the fan favorite. Though he has publicly stated that he does not wish to break the bank, I’m not sure the Grizzlies will be able to afford to bring him back. If somehow Memphis is able to get him on a team friendly contract, that would be a win. That would fall somewhere in the 2 Year- $8 Million range. If not, I could see a slew of teams make a run at his services. The Cavaliers, Celtics, Mavericks, Nets, Hawks, and Spurs could all be players or Allen.
Prediction: Allen returns to the Grizzlies on a team friendly deal. Look for him to sign in the 2 year, $8 million range.
Zach Randolph is coming off a year that’s going to make him a lot of money. Though he turns 36 in July, he proved this year that he is clearly capable of leading a second unit. Likely about to sign the last contract of his career, Z-Bo will be looking for a nice chunk of change for the final 2-3 years of his career. With the current cap situation, odds are that Randolph will be in high demand for somewhere in the neighborhood of $7-9 million a year. That actually doesn’t sound that bad. Yet, odds are that the Grizzlies will be unable to retain both Randolph and JaMychal Green going forward. Possible suitors for our hefty lefty include the Clippers, Nets, Hawks, Mavericks, 76ers, and Magic.
Prediction: Randolph signs a big contract with the Magic, brought in to be a strong locker room influence for their young core. Only way he is able to stay a Memphis Grizzly is if he takes a MASSIVE pay cut.
Jamychal Green is coming off of a career year and heading to the open market. That’s a great combination for a guy looking to get paid. It may not be a great combination for a Grizzlies team strapped for cap space and looking toward the future. Green finished the year averaging 9 points, 7 rebounds, and shooting 38% from behind the three point line. Those are respectable numbers for any NBA player. The problem that he presents is that as a Restricted Free Agent, it only takes one team to drive his price tag WAY up. JaMychal Green will be 27 years old when the 2017-2018 season starts. He has essentially hit his ceiling as a player.
There is no question that he is a nice piece, but overpaying for a role player with an already tight budget could be disastrous for Memphis. The Grizzlies would love to keep Green somewhere in the realm of a 4 year, $20 million contract if then can. Odds are that some team flush with cap space plucks the blue collar post player with a poison pill contract. Look for the Hawks, Nets, Mavericks, Pistons, and Pacers to be suitors for Green.
Prediction: Sadly it only takes one team to offer a crazy contract and pry Green away. Grizzlies brass hopes they can keep him at a reasonable price. Hopefully he stays in Memphis for a friendly 4 year, $20 million deal.
Vince Carter was one of the NBA’s best feel good stories this year. The 40 year old highlight reel averaged a shade over 8 points a game and shot 38% from distance. He was a solid locker room presence and a real necessity for a team that lacked wing depth. Odds are good that the Grizzlies are able to keep Vince Carter in Memphis next year. He has stated that he doesn’t want to chase a championship, and values a legitimate role on a playoff team. The Grizzlies can offer VC just that.
If Chandler Parsons can get healthy then Memphis won’t need to lean on Carter for the heavy minutes he logged this year. That could allow him to be rested and ready for a prospective playoff push in 2018.
Prediction: Carter resigns in Memphis for 2 years, $5 million. He then retires as a member of the Grizzlies following the 2019 season.
Brandon Wright is a player that seems like a longshot to be in uniform for the Grizzlies next year. He played less than 15 minutes total in the playoff series vs the Spurs. He is scheduled to make a shade under $6 million next year. With the Grizzlies already on a tight budget, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him traded straight up on draft night for a late second round pick (Think Brooklyn or Phoenix) . With the Grizzlies invested in a young Deyonta Davis, it seems as though there is no role left for Brandon Wright. The other scenario is to package him with a promising young player to create additional cap space.
For instance, if he was packaged with Wade Baldwin IV and sent to Denver for one of their late second round picks (49 and 51) that frees up roughly an additional $8 million in cap space. That might be enough to keep both Randolph and JaMychal Green in uniform for 2017-2018.
Prediction: No idea, but the odds of him being a member of the Memphis Grizzlies are slim to none.