The home stretch is here. In less than five days, it is very likely a new era in the Memphis Grizzlies franchise will have set in. Whether it is picks or players, destiny will have arrived all the same. And while many may wish they had Thanos’s Infinity Gauntlet to snap an alternate reality into existence, it seems most understand it is needed.
While the past is hard to let go of, it is time to embrace the future in the present.
Obviously, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley are going to be the most significant sources of the impending change. As Zach Lowe reported on Friday, there is ample interest in both players, and a legitimate chance both could be moved for quality returns. Furthermore, JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple figure to potentially be moved as well. Whether it be as a combination or separately, the Grizzlies’ secondary duo of veterans could provide another avenue to improving the future.
The Grizzlies logic is to cash in the present value of their assets for future gains. Gasol and Conley have talent levels to significantly impact any playoff hopeful for the stretch run. Yet, it seems reasonable that Green and Temple may have bigger markets for their services.
The reason being is that, from other teams’ viewpoints, Green and Temple offer more flexibility for their franchises. For one, it is the attractive financial commitment each offers. As seen this time every year, both veterans are on expiring contracts under 10 million dollars. Beyond the benefit of having their contracts at the end of the year, an acquiring team would not have to get overly creative to make each player fit the budget.
Green and Temple offer a solution for both the Grizzlies and trade partners to find value in bad contracts. For other teams, replacing a sunk cost with actual assets could that add value in the playoffs is quite appealing. The combination of positive value and expiring contracts means any team acquiring the veterans will gain a better use of finances for the present and future. Opposing franchises will become much more open to the idea of moving future draft picks if they can improve their current roster and financial future.
For the Grizzlies, taking on another team’s negative investment actually maximizes Memphis’s future returns. If the Grizzlies can gain a first round pick by combining Green and Temple, that is likely more value than the team would get from the combined return of trading the vets individually. Also, if the player they acquire has been deemed a bad contract due to injuries, they can offer that player a chance to rebuild some value. If that player is an expiring contract next year, the Grizzlies then have a future trade asset as well.
Another attractive feature both veterans offer is their production could be mutually beneficial for themselves and the acquiring team. Both Green and Temple would have motivation to perform well. For one, going from one of the worse rosters in the league to a playoff contender typically motivates a player to perform. Furthermore, both players will be free agents. If they can provide relevant value in the postseason, it helps their future earnings. As a result, Green, Temple, and their new teams would benefit from their play.
Increased motivation is not the only attribute Green and Temple can offer. While Garrett Temple is more valuable as a reserve than a starter, he has actually provided more quality as a shooter with the expanded usage. This year, Temple has achieved career bests in Field Goal Percentage within 3 feet of the basket, 10-16 feet from the basket, and overall (amongst seasons that he has played 1000 minutes). This shows Temple has improved his shot selection and ability to score with increased responsibility. Along with his intelligence, Temple could be a reliable source of 15-20 minutes of productivity on both ends of the court.
For JaMychal Green, his versatility and rebounding fit any potential playoff roster. Over the past 3 seasons, Green has produced as a starter, sixth man, and reliable reserve. He has shown the mindset to adapt to any role, and also the ability to use his energy and emotions as an advantage. Yet, it is his ability to rebound that defines his relevance.
Since the beginning of last year, Jamychal Green is one of only 13 players to have played at least 2,400 minutes and produce a total rebound percentage of 16% and offensive rebound percentage of 10%. In the playoffs, the quality of each possession is critical. However, when teams’ have to go their bench, the quantity of possessions is just as important. With less talent on the court, getting more looks than the other team is a significant advantage. Green’s rebounding ability to maximize possessions for his team and minimize possessions for the opposition in those situations makes be him an asset for any roster.
Obviously, it would more enjoyable to write about how these characteristics would allow JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple to add value for the Grizzlies in the playoffs. Unfortunately, with that reality no longer logical, Memphis must take full advantage of another team acquiring these attributes. Both Green and Temple have helped the Grizzlies improve as a franchise this year compared to last year. Now, both veterans should be used as sources to improve the Grizzlies’ future as the franchise continues to move forward.