Now that the preseason schedule is released, the Memphis Grizzlies are one step closer to the season. With that comes some decisions that need to be made.
The Grizzlies currently have 20 men on roster — two 2-way players and 18 others. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each NBA team can only roster 15 non 2-way players. This means that Memphis has to figure out what to do with three players before the regular season starts.
First let’s go ahead and state who is a lock to make the current roster:
- Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., Jonas Valanciunas, Brandon Clarke, Marko Guduric, and Tyus Jones are all guaranteed to be on this roster opening night barring something crazy.
- Its probably pretty safe to say that both Kyle Anderson and Dillon Brooks will also be on the roster unless an undeniable trade offer comes for either one of them.
- Grayson Allen and De’Anthony Melton are two young pieces that the front office is hoping work out, but if the right offer were to come along and they needed to be included in an Iggy package, they aren't untouchable.
So that leaves five roster spots for eight guys-
Jaren Jackson Jr is not quite ready to be a full time starting center in the NBA so the Grizzlies will need to have a back up center as security for a Jonas injury. That means one of Miles Plumlee and Dwight Howard will most likely be kept.
Neither player has been good in recent years, but Howard’s has been more injury based than talent. For the front office the decision may come down to which player agrees to the cheaper buy out. No team is going to trade for Plumlee’s contract at this point and no one is beating on the door for perceived locker room problem Dwight Howard.
Prediction: Grizzlies buy out Dwight Howard
That now leaves four spots for six guys.
Jae Crowder wants to be in Memphis and fits what the Grizzlies need in a wing player, so he is probably safe from elimination.
Three Spots. Five Guys.
Bruno Caboclo’s guarantee date has already passed but it was only a $300k guarantee, meaning his contract is very easy to waive or move if needed. Depending on his performance in the preseason and training camp, he is very much on the block for pure number purposes.
Ivan Rabb had his guarantee date moved back to avoid being cut already. He is most likely the first player on the chopping block heading into next season and will need to prove he deserves a spot in the preseason.
Solomon Hill is another guy whose contract makes it slightly more complicated for the Grizzlies. He was a necessary evil to be able to move off of Chandler Parsons’ horrendous contract.
There is nothing appealing about Solomon Hill’s game. He doesn't shoot the ball well from behind the arc and his advanced stats aren't much to drool over either. His contract was a result of the money grab a few offseasons ago and it would be a hard pill to swallow if the team had to give up on a young player like Bruno due to the size of Hill’s contract.
Then there is Josh Jackson. The troubled young player is certainly in need of a fresh start but will it be in Memphis? The Grizzlies took a chance on Zach Randolph and we know how that played out, so will they do the same with Jackson?
His legal status is still pending, which sadly could effect his chance on this roster.
Finally, there's the man everyone wants — Andre Iguodala.
The Grizzlies do not owe him a buyout or a trade. The Grizzlies do not owe it to any other team to release him so they can sign him. He is under contract with Memphis until the front office determines otherwise.
Unless the Grizzlies get what they want for him, there is no real advantage in letting him walk. He will be a valuable asset in the locker room, on the floor and at the trade deadline. Plus when teams can better match contracts starting on December 15 with their recent signings, Andre comes back into play.
So here are a few possible scenarios with the above named players:
Solomon Hill and Memphis reach a buy out agreement, Rabb waived
In this scenario, Bruno plays great during the preseason and his length and potential are just too much to pass up. Rabb continues to struggle against NBA level talent and it is time to cut ties.
Josh Jackson and Ivan Rabb waived
Jackson’s legal troubles don't go away and Memphis isn't ready to commit to him. In today’s NBA Bruno’s ability to be a stretch four is just too enticing to keep Rabb, a traditional four. Solomon Hill and the front office can't agree on a low enough buy out number, forcing them to choose between Bruno and Jackson. Ultimately, the risk/reward of Jackson isn't appealing enough to part with Caboclo.
Iguodala traded/bought out and Solomon Hill bought out
The Iggy saga comes to a close when some team finally gives up what the Memphis front office is looking for. In the preseason there is always some chance an injury occurs or a player doesn't look to be what the team hoped. In this rat race in, perhaps, the most wide open NBA in years, someone will pony up and pay for Iguodala. With that move of his contract, this frees up Memphis to afford the more expensive buy out of Solomon Hill to keep the young trio of Jackson, Caboclo and Rabb on roster.
The buyout scenario would come down to Andre really wanting out of Memphis and taking next to no money to be released of his contract. Everyone knows he's not afraid to speak his mind and as of now, he has not expressed he wants out of Memphis.
No matter how the roster at the bottom plays out, this team will be an exciting team to watch. They won't be in contention right away, but the opportunity to watch a young and very talented core grow and mesh is more that we could've ever hoped for this time last year.