LeBron James, Paul George, and Chris Paul are not coming to Memphis. Neither are DeMarcus Cousins or Clint Capela. The Grizzlies have roughly $7.5 million to spend of their mid-level exception (unless a trade or other roster move is made), and that number is not bringing in a superstar. It could, however, get this Grizzlies team with one open roster spot exactly what it needs, and what it will likely be losing in Tyreke Evans.
A wing player that can score the basketball.
It is possible that Tyreke, a gifted offensive weapon that showed his true potential with Memphis in their lost campaign last season on a one year contract, returns. There are reasons that he could be back that make sense, like early bird rights and the promise of a future raise. Yet promises do not carry the same weight of actual dollars and cents, and all it would take is one failed free agency swing from the Los Angeles Lakers or Philadelphis 76ers, or interest from a “contender” for the full MLE for him to almost certainly walk.
The single season deal Evans signed allowed for him to have the opportunity to showcase his skill and earn more money on the open market. The best (realistic) hope for Memphis this July is to catch lightning in a bottle again, with another wing that can score in bunches who has a connection to the city and would fit in really well among both the roster and the fan base...
If only there was a player like that available...
Will Barton would be a terrific addition to the Memphis Grizzlies in free agency. A two-year, $12 million contract would be perfect - it would be a decent raise for Barton ($6 million per as compared to $3.5 million per) and it would also fit the window for the Grizzlies to try to compete before they probably begin their full blown rebuild. Barton could start next to Dillon Brooks, he could be a sixth man, he could be anything for these Grizzlies. Even a true “show me” deal of 1 year, $5-$6 million dollars would be worth it for Memphis.
From Tyreke to Will. Two former Memphis Tigers. Two players that love the city. Two players that get the value that playing in FedExForum holds. If Tyreke is indeed gone, Will taking his place would be ideal. Avery Bradley gets an “honorable mention” behind these two, as he could also sign a similar deal and thrive in a new “Grit and Grind” system under “new” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
Not ideal fits? Lance Stephenson. Seth Curry. Doug McDermott. All would fill a “need”, but none would be the fit that Evans was/is, or Barton/Bradley would be. Avoid those guys if at all possible. Meanwhile, either Will or Tyreke would make Grizzlies fans very happy, with Barton seeming more likely at the moment as he does the media rounds in Memphis.
Right place, right time? For Grizzlies fans, Will would be a thrill.