Summer League basketball officially ended over the weekend, and now we await through the quiet moments of the offseason — obviously barring a significant trade around Kevin Durant or Donovan Mitchell.
For the Memphis Grizzlies, things may remain silent for them, as their only free agency moves served as further confidence in the construction of this team.
However, as evident through last season’s flurry of trades, the Grizzlies could even deal in the inactive months of the offseason. With 16 guaranteed contracts on the roster, excluding the two-way contracts, there will need to be some sort of roster move to happen — though they could just take it into training camp.
There are several things to keep in mind between now and training camp.
Danny Green’s Contract
The Danny Green situation looms the largest. I’ve already discussed it ad nauseam in a recent column and podcast, but his expiring, partially-guaranteed contract could be used as a trade chip. August 23rd — 2 months from the draft-night deal — is the day the Grizzlies could start aggregating his contract in a deal with another player. The Grizzlies could trim their roster down to 15 by using Green and someone else to go get another rotation player.
The calculus of Danny Green’s fit here is different than it was upon the acquisition. He was seen with Taylor Jenkins, Ja Morant, Tyus Jones, and Zach Kleiman during a recent Summer League game. It doesn’t mean a whole lot, but it does mean something. It wouldn’t be a bad thing if he served as a veteran leader in the locker room, even as he’s recovering from his knee injury. In fact, it’d be great! He’s someone that’s played pivotal roles on 3 different championship teams. For a team looking to get there, it’d be nice to have someone that’s been at the top of the mountain before.
Clearing Frontcourt Logjam
Two other names to watch are Killian Tillie and Xavier Tillman. Tillie’s absence from Summer League indicates he’s not cleared to play yet, as he’s someone that would’ve benefitted from Summer League experience. If he can’t stay healthy, he might be on the outside looking in — especially with the amount of combo forwards and tweener big men on the roster. With Tillman, he didn’t exactly have the dominant Summer League you like to see from 3rd-year players. He averaged 13.5 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and a stock per game on 44% shooting in 2 Salt Lake City Summer League games, but only 10 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.3 steals (no blocks) on 44% shooting in 3 Vegas games. It’s unlikely they move on from Tillman, but he could be in a package if it yields a rotation player for next season.
Any more extensions?
There are extensions to monitor for next season. Brandon Clarke and Dillon Brooks are the two players in this conversation. I’ll save a deeper breakdown for another day. Brandon Clarke’s deal will likely come at the deadline for rookie-scale extensions, October 18th, if there’s one at all. Most of these extensions — ones that aren’t bonafide max deals — fall on this day. Dillon Brooks is also extension-eligible, with a max at 4 years and $61M. I lean they don’t come to an agreement, as Brooks could (and should) get a larger contract. From there follows a conversation around how they navigate a possible unrestricted free agency.
Obviously, there could be unexpected moves that happen over the next two months. Maybe something shakes free once there’s an answer on Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell trade market. I’d bet the Grizzlies hold pat though.
You can expect the unexpected, but it’s more likely the Memphis Grizzlies are confident in the construction and culture of this roster. Given their performance last season and their youth, it’s tough to blame them.