Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that the Memphis Grizzlies have traded Jarell Martin to the Orlando Magic for center Dakari Johnson. According to Michael Wallace of Grind City Media, the Grizzlies will also receive the rights to guard Tyler Harvey, who has played in Europe for the last two seasons.
Memphis has agreed to trade Jarrell Martin and cash to Orlando for Dakari Johnson, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 23, 2018
It has not been much of a secret that Martin, the 25th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, has been mostly a disappointment during his time in Memphis. After missing most of his rookie season with a foot injury, Martin showed flashes of becoming a potential modern NBA power forward. However, his development seemed to stall as the Grizzlies almost waived him before the season began last year. He managed to stay on the roster, but he still didn’t exhibit much improvement even as he averaged a career high in minutes (22.8).
This trade is good for Memphis in several ways. First, they didn’t have to attach any draft picks to trade Martin, who was essentially an asset without value. Since Martin is due $2.4 million next season, the trade also saves Memphis nearly $1 million in cap space because Dakari Johnson is set to earn $1.3 million. That extra cap space now keeps Memphis $473,000 below the luxury tax.
It will be interesting to see what the Grizzlies do with Johnson. a 7’0”, 255 pound backup center from Kentucky who played in the D-League from 2015-2017 before finally making his NBA debut with the Oklahoma City Thunder last year. Since the Grizzlies traded Deyonta Davis to the Sacramento Kings, they could use Johnson as a true backup center off the bench. However, they would have to waive someone else in order to keep him, which is unlikely. They are more likely to simply waive him to cut the roster down to size.
You can look at a move like this as through either a positive or negative lens. To be sure, you can say that the Grizzlies are admitting their mistakes and moving on from them. On the other hand, Jaren Jackson Jr. is now the only player of the Grizzlies’ first-round picks from the last ten years who is still on the roster.
Regardless, the Grizzlies continue to make shrewd moves this offseason.
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