Draft night is upon us. The Grizzlies do not currently have a selection, as GBB and others have outlined multiple times. The potential is there for Memphis to get in to the fray, however. How will they do it? Will it say anything about the direction of the franchise with the start of free agency over a week away?
Three keys to the 2017 NBA Draft for Grizzlies fans -
What will the opposition do?
It is still more likely than not that Memphis does not make a major move (trade in to the first round) since their assets are more of the second-round pick variety. But teams like the San Antonio Spurs, who are reportedly dangling LaMarcus Aldridge in trade offers, and the Houston Rockets, prepared to make cap space for wooing a major free agent, have been burning up the rumor mill.
These two teams finished in front of the Grizzlies in the Southwest division and are the direct competition of Memphis. From there, you have the Clippers looking to move DeAndre Jordan, Portland with multiple picks and hopes to unload a big contract, and other potential blockbuster deals just waiting to be Woj Bombed. This all impacts the Grizzlies, both in terms of their own trade aspirations and who exactly they will be fighting for playoff births with in six months.
What is Memphis willing to give up?
As mentioned above, the Grizzlies have assets (multiple future second round picks, young prospects like Jarell Martin) that tend to lend themselves to second round pick acquisition in this year’s draft. These second rounders will be more valuable than ever now potentially, as we discussed on the GBBLive podcast this week (listen here now), but there are still multiple teams with multiple picks. Surely they won’t use all of them.
The fascinating piece of all this is just what are they worth? Does Jarell Martin and the 2018 second round pick from the Miami Heat get the Grizzlies in this year’s festivities? Would more be necessary? And is it possible that a Brandan Wright and two future second round picks offer gets the Grizzlies in to the later first round, if there is a player who falls that they love?
Lots of potential options for Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace, if he chooses to pursue them.
Is this a sign of things to come?
Free agency is just on the horizon, and there have been reports that the Grizzlies will only offer Tony Allen the veteran minimum of roughly $2.5 million dollars to return to Memphis (Ron Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal). Late last night, it was reported by RealGM that the Grizzlies extended a qualifying offer to JaMychal Green, making Green a restricted free agent and allowing for Memphis to match any offer JaMychal will get from another team. The NBA has also notified teams that the luxury tax and salary cap numbers will actually be lower than anticipated initially, making the luxury tax threshold that much closer to where the Grizzlies currently are contract wise.
If the Grizzlies trade in to the second round and select, say, Sindarius Thornwell of South Carolina, or Josh Hart of Villanova, two ready-now wings who can defend their position, is Memphis preparing for life without Tony Allen and/or Vince Carter? If a power forward type is selected, such as Jordan Bell or Alec Peters, is Memphis moving on from Jarell Martin or readying themselves to not be able/willing to match a massive offer that Green may get from Minnesota or Brooklyn? Will the Grizzlies try to shed some salary?
That may be looking a bit too far in to things. It is very possible that Chris Wallace just wants to add another young player to the team and allow for Head Coach David Fizdale and his staff to develop him while still bringing the band back together for one last “Core Four” run. But the size of the move, or lack of one, could be a window in to just what the Grizzlies front office plans on doing as June turns to July and the attention of the NBA goes from the draft to free agency.