The Memphis Grizzlies heard the clamoring from many for upside swings this offseason and clearly took it seriously. First Ziaire Williams and Santi Aldama in the 2021 NBA Draft, and now after dealing Eric Bledsoe to the Los Angeles Clippers for Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo, and Daniel Oturu the next shoe has fallen.
Memphis Grizzlies guard Patrick Beverley - we hardly knew ye.
The Memphis Grizzlies are trading Patrick Beverley to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Jarrett Culver and Juancho Hernangomez, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 17, 2021
Beverley, a veteran point guard coming off of a starting role for the Los Angeles Clippers, was not a crystal clear fit for the Grizzlies roster (although he made much more sense than, say, Rajon Rondo - who will almost certainly be waived or traded). But now he goes to the Timberwolves to apparently fill that veteran role for their young roster that is perhaps more interested in investing in actively competing for the play-in than the Grizzlies are at the moment. Memphis has been there and done that with a roster that is essentially already established, give or take a spot/another trade. They do not need Beverley the same way that Minnesota does, especially since Tyus Jones is still with the Grizzlies (for now).
Jarrett Culver is the “star” of this acquisition for the Grizzlies. He has...struggled...so far in his NBA career. A career 28.8% three point shooter and 40.6% overall from the floor is not exactly setting the league on fire. He appeared to regress in some ways in year two, and in both his seasons with Minnesota he posted a negative Value Over Replacement Player, Net Rating, and Win Shares Per 48 Minutes per basketball-reference.com. This is not a move for a player who is currently good. He is not - but the Grizzlies are not as concerned about right now, as much of what they’ve done over the last 28 or so months has shown. This is about the aforementioned upside swing for a 6’6” wing who has the capacity to create off the dribble, play and defend multiple positions, and was the 6th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft (the one where Ja Morant went 2nd and Brandon Clarke went 21st) and is only 22 years old.
Culver may never work out, and that’s OK - they can move on from him next season if needed. If he does indeed pan out and finds his footing in the Memphis developmental system? He aligns with the window for contention the Grizzlies have established and could be a role player on that next great Grizzlies team. And all they lost to bring him in was a point guard that was on an expiring contract worth more this season ($14.3 million) than the next two years of Culver combined ($11.9 million).
Juancho Hernangomez probably isn’t longed for the Grizzlies. He makes a little over $6 million this season but his 2022-2023 contract is fully non-guaranteed. He could perhaps make sense as a future trade piece, but his fit as a “power forward” on the team isn’t clean and there are other wings like Williams and Culver that should see time as “small forwards” before Hernangomez.
There of course are other shoes to drop here. Memphis still has too many players on the current roster and must make other moves, be they trades or waiving players, to get down to the league mandated 15. But while Hernangomez may be an eventual addition to the Allen Iverson/Andre Iguodala Never Grizzlies list, Culver appears to be another step toward reaching for upside on a Memphis team with several proven commodities.
Stick with GBB as the offseason unfolds.