NBA trade season is typically the most interesting trade season in the four major sports. This year’s trade deadline is February 7th at 2 pm central. A lot of teams know by the end of December whether they are a buy or sell team, others may not know until right up to the week of the trade deadline.
At the start of the season, when the Grizzlies ascended to the top of the Western Conference (for a day), they seemed to be destined to be buyers at the deadline. Joe Mullinax looked at guys like Evan Fournier and Kent Bazemore as wing targets to put this team over the top.
Here we are now, mid-January and unless Memphis rips off a ten game winning streak, they will almost certainly be sellers leading up to the deadline. So the real question is do the Grizzlies have anyone that the buyers at the deadline would be interested in?
Teams that likely won't make a major move
Everyone in the Western Conference besides the Suns, Nuggets, Warriors, and Grizzlies will be buyers as 13 teams are still in contention. The Grizzlies could turn it around but does anyone actually believe it will happen based on what we have seen recently and Kyle Anderson being out?
It will be those fringe teams trying to fight their way into one of the final play off spots that will be the most likely to make a significant move to improve their team?
Who would they be interested in?
JaMychal Green is probably the most attractive available piece for buyers this season outside of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol (see this piece by Parker Fleming for trade packages for those two guys)
Green is a hustle guy who seemingly never misses a mid range jump shot. He will rebound, defend the more athletic fours and spread the floor.
Memphis Receives: Alex Abrines and Timothy Luwawu-Cabarrot
Oklahoma City Receives: JaMychal Green.
This trade is projected to increase the win total for the Thunder by 3 wins according to ESPN’s Trade Machine. Both teams are exchanging expiring contracts but the Thunder have a need for an upgrade over Patrick Patterson and their bigs Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel don't spread the floor at all.
Memphis Receives: Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala
Philadelphia Receives: JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple
In another exchange of expiring contracts, the Sixers get a big that can spread the floor (a necessity next to Ben Simmons) and a 3 and D guy that would not be depended upon as much as he is currently. Wilson Chandler hasn't worked as well as they hoped and Muscala is easily replaced. This deal also increases the Sixers win total by 3 wins, but Memphis probably doesn’t do this without some additional cap relief. They surely won’t go in to the tax for this exercise.
Ideally, you would have loved the Grizzlies to capitalize on Temple’s hot start to the season. Up until the Rockets game, Temple was completely unproductive on the court in the month of January. Still, Garrett is lauded as a great locker room presence and is still a serviceable 3 and D wing if his minutes are less than 32 a game.
Memphis Receives: Wesley Johnson and Future 2nd Round Pick
New Orleans Receives: Garrett Temple
Its pretty much a straight up swap player wise. Temple has been the more productive player this season and fits the need of the Pelicans at guard.
Memphis Receives: Bismack Biyombo and 2019 lottery protected 1st round pick
Charlotte Receives: Garrett Temple and JaMychal Green
Now I know this is a stretch, but there is multiple purposes behind this trade happening. For Charlotte, being on the fringe, their main priority is arguably keeping Kemba over making the playoffs this season. For anyone to take on Biyombo’s contract, they will need to attach a pick. This trade allows for the Hornets to take back two expiring contracts but also two players that will help for their playoff push this season as well. Memphis doesn't want Biyombo’s contract either, but they need a pick this year.
Memphis Receives: Allen Crabbe and Denver’s 2019 1st round pick
Brooklyn Receives: Garrett Temple and JaMychal Green
Shout out to Parker Fleming:
“Brooklyn has two first round picks. They have incentive to make the playoffs this season and clear cap space for next season.”
Crabbe has a player option that he will accept because no one will pay him even half of the 18 million he is due to receive. The Nets also take back two players much more productive than Crabbe and allows them to stop having to play Jared Dudley. This is similar to the Philly deal, though - another cap freeing move would be necessary.
The Other Guys
Teams may call Chris Wallace inquiring about guys like Omri Casspi or Shelvin Mack as small moves. Maybe Wallace could weasel his way into a second round pick for one of them. They both have expiring contracts that they are over achieving on so if the Grizzlies do in fact become sellers, don’t be surprised to see these two names on the move making room for Jevon Carter and Yuta Watanabe to get some development.