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How the draft will influence free agency in Memphis

Beyond the NBA draft, the Grizzlies will have the means to add an extra player through free agency. The player they draft, however, will influence whom they sign in free agency.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

If you are reading this now, the NBA draft has likely not happened yet, and there is still hope that the Memphis Grizzlies can get a future face of the franchise. However, if you are reading this after the NBA Draft in the hopes of making yourself feel better since the Grizzlies picked Wendell “the second coming of Al Horford” Carter, I am sorry to disappoint you. This is not going to make you feel better.

Beyond the NBA draft, thankfully, the Grizzlies will have the ability to add players in free agency through the use of their mid-level-exception, which comes out to about $8.6 million (You can thank the whopping contracts of Chandler Parsons and Mike Conley for there not being more cap space). There will be many possible options, including Boston’s Marcus Smart and Orlando’s Mario Hezonja.

NBA: Playoffs-Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

However, it is difficult to speculate on whom the Grizzlies will sign in free agency since we do not know whom they will pick in the NBA draft. While selecting the best player available regardless of fit is a good strategy at the top of the NBA draft, fit and need are more important when it comes to free agency. After all, the Grizzlies somehow nuking the roster creating the space to sign Chris Paul this offseason wouldn’t make much sense with Mike Conley on the roster.

For example, Marcus Smart is a very obvious potential target for the Grizzlies. Everything about him, including his tenacity and his toughness just screams Memphis, and he would also add another playmaker to the roster. But if Chris Wallace decides to make me the happiest blogger alive and picks Trae Young, there is no longer a reason to add another point guard to the roster, especially when there are other needs that the mid-level-exception could be used to address. Likewise, if the Grizzlies draft Michael Porter Jr., it lessens their need to specifically target a wing like Mario Hezonja or Will Barton.

It’s important to remember that whomever the Memphis Grizzlies draft on June 21 will not only decide the future of the franchise but will also have immediate ramifications in the present. It will definitely be interesting to see what the Grizzlies’ roster will look like at the end of the summer.

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