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Taking on salary with the Grizzlies

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Which teams need to avoid luxury tax and send Memphis some goods in return?

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Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics - Game One Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images

The NBA season is approaching fast now that the league and Players’ Association agreed on a December 22 start date. That means the offseason drama we love so much will be accelerated and maybe impossible to keep up with. It will certainly be a frenzy.

Smart money says that the Memphis Grizzlies will not be fighting for the playoffs next season due to the health of other teams and potential offseason moves. The Grizz will not be in tank mode, but a developmental year on their way to contenders in a few years. With that said, Zach Kleiman and company will be in prime position once again to take on some salary dumps in exchange for assets.

If you recall last offseason, it cost the Golden State Warriors a 2024 first round pick to send out Andre Iguodala. A pick that may prove very valuable depending on the aging Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. It cost Phoenix De’Anthony Melton to ship out the deadweight contract of Josh Jackson so they could bring in Ricky Rubio. Salary dumps can have huge implications for the future and Memphis could do it again this winter.

This piece will focus on those teams already in the luxury tax looking to either lower or get out of it or teams on the cusp who want flexibility and players with two year deals that teams may be looking to get off of this season with a price.

The teams currently in the tax are :

Golden State Warriors

Philadelphia 76ers

Boston Celtics

Brooklyn Nets

The Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers are three teams that may want to shed some salary as well.

There really is no salary dump scenario Memphis would entertain with Golden State because the only contract that could be “dumped” would be Draymond Green, who has four years remaining. So scratch them off the list, unless it is a three team deal Memphis gets in on.

Here are some potential trades Memphis could be involved in this offseason for salary dump purposes.


Memphis Grizzlies send Jonas Valanciunas, Kyle Anderson, Marko Guduric and a 2022 second round pick to Boston for Gordon Hayward and Vincent Poirier

Gordon Hayward is not going to decline a $34 million player option in the same way Mike Conley did not decline his. His contract is expiring, therefore there is no long term risk to Memphis. If anything, it gives Ja and Jaren the chance to play alongside a borderline All-Star wing that can knock down shots, who might enjoy playing with them.

Poirier has expressed his lack of interest in limited playing time, and shipping out Jonas creates an open spot for competition between he and Gorgui Dieng. Either way, he is also on an expiring contract. Memphis gets off two contracts that go beyond this season, setting them up for massive cap space in the summer of 2021.

Boston needs a center. Robert Williams will block anything that comes in sight, but does not offer much offensively. Enes Kanter is allergic to defense and is not the offensive threat JV is. Valanciunas and Kyle Anderson keep the Celtics in their championship contention without giving up too much. With Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown, Hayward was just a luxury - not a necessity.

Boston would probably want a better pick or third player, but this is a trade Memphis should kick the tires on.

Memphis Grizzlies trade Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson and a 2022 Second Round Pick to the Indiana Pacers for Victor Oladipo and Doug McDermott

We all know by now that Dipo wants out. That does not mean that Indiana has to trade him, but if they could get a young player like Dillon Brooks in return, they would have to consider it. This deal moves Indiana further away from the tax line, while bolstering their defense. Kyle Anderson would be a great facilitator off the bench for the Pacers as they currently do not have anyone of note that does that in their second unit.

Larry Bird would certainly not want to let Oladipo walk for nothing this summer, so he may be desperate to jump on a move. If I am Memphis, I would not offer anything more than the package above as Dipo would likely be a one year rental. You pay the price of the draft pick because you are getting two expiring contracts headed into a star studded free agent class.

Memphis Grizzlies send Gorgui Dieng to the Chicago Bulls for Thaddeus Young, Cristiano Felicio and Detroit’s 2022 second round pick.

Chicago opens a roster spot and takes on an expiring contract to have the cap space for two max deals in 2021 to put next to Coby White, Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. Memphis brings Thaddeus Young home for two seasons along with Felicio’s expiring and a valuable second round pick. Young can either retire in Memphis or the Grizzlies could use him as an expiring deal heading into 2021 free agency themselves.

Memphis Grizzlies send Kyle Anderson to the Los Angeles Lakers for Danny Green and a 2024 second round pick.

This really comes down to one thing for the Lakers, $6 million more this offseason to throw at someone to come help LeBron. Anderson is seamless fit next to LeBron James with his ability to defend all positions as well his playmaking skills. Memphis brings in an expiring contract that could prove to be beneficial to them in season were Danny Green to regain his shooting touch that he seemed to lose in the bubble.


With the 2021 free agent class being the prize possession, as well as the 2021 draft class, the willingness for teams to jeopardize position financially will be tough to come by this offseason. Many of the horrendous 2016 contracts are set to expire, leaving very few “bad” contracts to be moved.

The first two deals mentioned above are long shot dreams that would be fun to see play out. The other two options aren't very attractive, but are more realistic if Memphis really wants to move on from Kyle Anderson and/or Gorgui Dieng due to their ill fit with the make up of this roster.

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