As evidenced by the blockbuster deal between the Clippers and the Pistons yesterday, the trade deadline is almost upon us. To get you ready for that, I went and broke down the entire Grizzlies roster, separating every player into different tiers based on who's most likely to be moved. Check it out below.
Tier 1: Absolutely Must be Moved
This is the obvious one. It’s been talked about and talked about and beaten into the ground, so I won’t talk about it too much, except to say this:
Yes, Tyreke Evans has been your best player this season, but he’s a free agent after the season. The maximum the Grizzlies will be able to pay him is the Mid-Level Exception, somewhere around $8 million. Based on the season he’s having, it’s likely Evans gets more than that. If you don’t trade him, you get nothing when he leaves. I understand fans who want to win, but in a season in which you aren’t making the playoffs, not moving a player who you will not be able to keep next year is downright unconscionable.
Tier 2: Should Probably Be Moved
James Ennis and Brandan Wright have both been fine role players in their time with the Grizzlies. In Wright’s case, that’s been true when healthy. But both players are on expiring deals, and they probably don’t fit into the future of the Grizzlies.
Martin is another player who likely doesn’t figure into the Grizzlies future, and he may not fit into the league at all. Trying to find what Martin does well is difficult at times. After impressing leading in to the season, Martin has been disappointing, to say the least. On the bright side, he’s shown flashes lately, which may boost his trade value from “salary filler” to “low-end flier.”
Outside of tank implications, Chalmers’ value right now is mostly in being a cog in the trade machine. He can be used as filler salary (though there’s not much salary there), he can be used as a filler roster spot, and he can be waived to make room to do a 2-for-1 or 3-for-2 deal for the Grizzlies.
Tier 3: Franchise Cornerstones Who Should Only be Moved for Premium Return
I’ll keep this brief: Listen to offers. If someone blows you away, take it. That’s highly unlikely (for Conley especially), but at least do your due diligence.
Tier 4: Move for the Right Offer, But Worth Keeping
Harrison has been one of the few positive examples of Grizzlies player development. A draft pick that was largely panned, the Grizzlies put Harrison in Iowa for a year, then gave him plenty of rope during his rookie season to figure things out. Harrison has slowly, steadily improved into a capable player.
Because of that, Harrison may have more value to the Grizzlies than any other team, but it’s possible he might entice a team as a throw-in in a bigger deal.
JaMychal Green is probably one of the more intriguing trade candidates that isn’t getting enough talk. The Grizzlies could stand to clear up a little room in their front court, and Green, who isn’t young by NBA standards, probably isn’t in the Grizzlies’ long-term plans. Green is on a reasonable contract, provides defensive versatility (especially after getting back to prior form in more recent weeks), and is a good locker room guy. Still, it’s unlikely teams will be beating down the Grizzlies door for JaM.
I debated where to put Deyonta in this tier. I consider myself a Deyonta fan, so I’d rather the Grizzlies keep Davis. He’s young, and he still shows flashes of the skills and athleticism that made him a projected lottery player. Maybe Davis never develops the motor to keep his production level up, but I’m not willing to give up on him yet.
Still, if a team blows you away with an offer and Davis is a part of the package, dealing him isn’t out of the question, though I’d still be incredibly disappointed should it come to that.
Tier 4: Toxic Assets That Probably Can’t Be Moved
There have been rumors around McLemore and the Grizzlies looking to get off of the remaining year and a half of his deal, but it seems highly unlikely any team looks at the entirety of McLemore’s career—even with his 21 points against the Kings—and says they want to give up an asset for it. The only way McLemore gets moved, I’d guess, is to make salaries work as part of a larger deal, and that may erode the Grizzlies return.
Tillery reported rumors that the Grizzlies had approached Parsons about injury retirement—rumors that Parsons and his people promptly refuted. I talked about this recently, but there’s a possibility Parsons’ career is done. It’s also possible that the Grizzlies are just being cautions with him in a lost season, but until we hear otherwise, Grizzlies fans might as well consider Parsons’ contract dead money. You’ll just save yourself some heartbreak that way.
Tier 5: DO NOT TRADE
As I mentioned above, you can make a case to include Davis on this list, but these three guys are probably the three players that the Grizzlies would consider “untouchable.” Brooks and Selden have both shown the potential to be, at the very least, viable NBA rotation players. Rabb continues to pile up productive minutes with the Grizzlies after impressing in his time with the Hustle.
For all of the grief we’ve given the front office, they’ve turned a few lesser assets into pieces you can use in the construction of your future. Is any one of them a likely superstar? Probably not. But that shouldn’t take away from what Brooks, Rabb, and Selden have shown this season, and that makes them the best candidates to stick around through the deadline.