Is it really a garden if it is just a couple of massive trees? That is approaching more of a grove than a garden. The more beautiful gardens have the flowers that are nice accent to the bigger pieces around it.
In this final piece of a five part series, I look at the trades not connected to the initial trades of Mike Conley Jr. and Marc Gasol that accent what Kleiman is building on Beale Street. It is more common to have a variety of unattached trades compared to what Kleiman is doing through two players, so let’s check out what these side moves look like.
On July 7, 2019 the Grizzlies sent Julian Washburn to the Golden State Warriors for Andre Iguodala, the Warriors’ 2024 first round pick and two million dollars. Now for clarification, this trade is only possible due to the Mike Conley Traded Player Exception, making this an extension of Conley’s trade, but Washburn was the directly traded player. Everyone knows the Iggy saga and his ticket to Miami, but every bit of it was worth it for the 2024 first round pick.
Mr. two years away from being two years away seemed to be a player everyone was rooting for to figure it out. The perfect frame to possibly be a small ball five that could switch on the perimeter and knock down threes. While he may not have been four years away from being ready anymore, he still just was not there and the Grizzlies traded him to the Houston Rockets for Jordan Bell and a 2023 second round pick. Kleiman did it again, sending away a piece no one was probably going to use and getting a draft asset in return.
Marc Gasol (again)
Marc Gasol was traded by the Lakers to the Memphis Grizzlies for his brother Pau Gasol to begin his NBA career. After stops in Toronto and Los Angeles, Gasol was again traded by the Lakers to the Memphis Grizzlies to bookend his career in the NBA. The Lakers made it clear Gasol was not in their plans after hiring David Fizdale and acquiring DeAndre Jordan. The Lakers avoided a buyout by trading him and Memphis took back a 2024 second round pick for taking his minimal contract. Zach Kleiman has made it his business to take on the contracts of aging vets in exchange for draft picks.
For now, the garden is coming into shape. It is certainly not a finished product, but this front office has done a wonderful job of taking two former cornerstones and turning them into the future for this franchise. With a little luck in the draft lottery, the Memphis Grizzlies are well on their way to being a title contender one day soon.
In all, Kleiman has made 18 trades, and 16 of those trades are rooted in Marc Gasol and Mike Conley in some way or fashion. Forty-six players have changed locations in relationship with the Memphis Grizzlies over the last two years and only nine of them never suited up. Kleiman seems intent on building for the future through breaking up bigger contracts, extracting draft picks for buyouts and squeezing every last drop out every deal possible.