Danny Green’s status with the Memphis Grizzlies is “TBD” — as Zach Kleiman said in the rookie introductory press conference a week and a half ago.
We’ve seen this administration trade for veteran talent in order to receive a desired asset, and the player would never suit up for Beale Street Blue. The more infamous situation is with Andre Iguodala, but they’ve also done this with Rajon Rondo, Eric Bledsoe, Dwight Howard, and Marc Gasol.
It’s a different scenario with Danny Green, as the Grizzlies are in a more favorable spot than the best few off-seasons. The Grizzlies are a contender now. Players like Green welcome these situations, and he’s expressed the inclination to do so in a recent Twitter Spaces.
The one caveat is he’s unavailable until roughly February due to a torn ACL and LCL in his knee — a tough injury for anyone, yet alone a 35 year-old wing. The Grizzlies could very well keep him and hope he’s ready to make an impact in the playoffs. He’d be a great veteran presence in the postseason. However, there are two hinderance to that scenario.
Jaren Jackson Jr. will also be sidelined for 4-6 months. Can the Grizzlies afford to have 2 players out on the injury report until 2023? It would put the rotation in a bind if another rotation player or two got injured as well.
In addition, after the De’Anthony Melton trade, there’s a need for an extra backup wing. The Grizzlies’ depth has always been a strength for them, and Danny Green (both the player and the trade asset) is an opportunity to bolster and replenish it. They could very well sign someone in free agency, but they should also look to move Green in order to fill a gap for them next season.
If the Grizzlies do trade Danny Green, what would it look like? It more boils down to who’s bringing him in. There are two kinds of teams to look at:
- Who would be more interested in the draft capital coming in, rather than Green itself?
- Who’s a contender that could afford to let Green recover and be ready for the playoffs?
The trade: Danny Green, 2023 2nd-round pick, and 2024 2nd-round pick (via Indiana, Utah, or Cleveland) for Kenrich Williams
My former Site Manager Joe Mullinax will be so excited about this suggestion. Opening up with the big one.
If there was a list of NBA GM’s that are willing to take on salaries with draft compensation attached to it, Sam Presti is probably at the top of it. Though it’s not a first-round pick as desired, a package with 2 second-round picks is a happy medium. It’s enough for Presti to still maneuver through his yacht-load of draft assets, and it’s not too much to give up, as Zach Kleiman has shown the ability to acquire 2nd-round picks rather seamlessly.
It’s also just right for a player like Kenrich Williams.
With Williams, he’s not the most prolific shooter — connecting on 33.9% of his 3’s on only 2.5 attempts per game. It’s fine, but probably not ideal for the bench unit that already consists of a non-shooter in Brandon Clarke. However, he makes up for it with the traits the Grizzlies typically look for in their players.
Williams is a good playmaker, capable of handling tertiary responsibilities. He averaged 2.2 assists last season, while possessing a 0.99 assist-to-usage ratio — ranks in the 94th percentile among forwards, per Cleaning the Glass. He also has a drive assist rate of 12.3%, per B-Ball Index, which ranks in the 82nd percentile among his positional archetype. The Grizzlies place an emphasis on playmaker and generating drive-and-kick opportunities, and Williams would seamlessly fit there.
Though he doesn’t create as much defensive events as De’Anthony Melton, he could still be a valuable perimeter defender that can stretch across positions 2-4. He also fell in the 76th percentile in Steal Percentage (1.8%), per Cleaning the Glass. He’s also finished with a positive Defensive Box Plus/Minus each season of his career.
For a system that’s become more versatile and more position-less this offseason, Williams would fit in as a quality 9th man in the rotation.
The trade: Danny Green, 2023 2nd-round pick (via Minnesota), 2024 2nd-round pick (via Toronto) for Jordan Clarkson
Trader Danny is open for business! Get some rotation players this offseason at the expense of draft capital!
Jordan Clarkson may not fit the front office’s MO, as they tend to look for players with more rounded skillsets. But wow, he’d fill such a need for this Grizzlies squad.
The Grizzlies could use another form of shot creation, primarily off the bench, and Clarkson has been one of the league’s best in that category for the best several seasons. In the 2020-21 season, he led all reserves in scoring (18.4 points per game). He also finished with a finishing talent score of +1.2 with 96% of his shots at the rim unassisted, per B-Ball Index.
While the need for shot creation is enticing, there are reasons for concern over a potential Clarkson trade. He doesn’t contribute in areas aside from scoring, even though his playmaking has steadily improved over the past few years. He’s also a mediocre 3-point shooter (31.8% on 7.6 attempts per game), and his catch-and-shoot numbers (31.3% on 3.9 attempts per game) aren’t all that encouraging either.
Clarkson has also averaged 15.8 and 14.1 shots per game in his 2 full seasons in Utah. Isn’t that too much volume coming in? Even in a bench role, there are already so many field goals to go around between Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, and Jaren Jackson Jr. Do they want another volume scorer in the mix, especially when there’s not much value elsewhere?
I know it sounded like I sold myself away from it over the course of his section, but going after a player of Jordan Clarkson’s caliber will address the need for shot creation and for an upgrade at the reserve combo guard spot.
If the Grizzlies and Jazz are trade partners revolving around Danny Green, then Malik Beasley and Patrick Beverley strike me as other players that could be in the trade package instead of Clarkson. Besides, I bet Ainge could convince a team to trade Clarkson for a first, but Memphis should call with 2 future 2nd-round picks on the table.
Trade: Danny Green and a 2023 2nd-round pick (via Minnesota) for Doug McDermott or Josh Richardson
The Spurs are another team open for trade talks, as Dejounte Murray was traded for cap relief (Danilo Gallinari) and draft capital.
The Grizzlies should be calling about some wing depth, while San Antonio can buy out esteemed former Spur Danny Green. The two players that come to mind are Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott. Both veterans would add some more firepower from the perimeter — as McDermott shot 42.2% from 3 on 5 attempts per game (41.7% on catch-and-shoot’s, 43.2% on pull-up 3’s), and Richardson connected on 41.5% of his 3’s on 3.8 tries per game (41.1% on catch-and-shoot’s, 6-15 on pull-up 3’s).
Doug McDermott would fall in line with Kleiman’s stated emphasis on finding combo forwards in the draft. He would also represent another avenue to add even more shooting to the roster, another draft-night focus. McDermott is a wing with size that’s capable of hitting 3’s both off the catch and off movement. Labeled as a shooter, he’s someone that’s embraced it more, as 55.1% of his field goal attempts came from downtown.
The downside is, he doesn’t provide anything elsewhere. He’s a poor rebounder for his size and his position. He isn’t much of a facilitator either. Defensively, he has size, so maybe the Grizzlies could slot him next to 4’s. However, he’s mainly a liability on that side of the ball.
If they want a more versatile return, Josh Richardson is an option — a trade suggestion from The Daily Memphian’s Chris Herrington. He’s not the same player he was in Miami, taking an odd decline in the prime years of his career. However, he resurged as a 3-point shooter, shooting 44.4% from 3 on 4.3 attempts in his 21 games with the Spurs.
At 6’6” with a 6’10” wingspan, Richardson could defend positions 1-3. He averaged 1.3 steals per 75 possessions, which falls in the 87th percentile — per B-Ball Index. Though he doesn’t create defensive events at the same rate, the hope with Richardson is he could replicate the 3-and-D production from Melton off the bench.
If I had to make a preference on either player, it’d likely be Josh Richardson.
Chiming in with Kevin Durant...
The Memphis Grizzlies may not acquire Kevin Durant, but it doesn’t stop them from making a play to facilitate a multi-team deal. Several reports indicate it would may take multiple teams chipping in to satisfy the Brooklyn Nets’ demands.
As much as we’re all waiting for the Kevin Durant domino to drop, more time bodes well for Memphis, as Danny Green cannot be aggregated in a deal until August 23rd — two months from when he was originally traded.
This is where the Grizzlies could thrive, taking a similar approach to the Cleveland Cavaliers with Jarrett Allen. Whereas Phoenix — or any team trading for Durant — could buy time for Danny Green to get healthy for the playoffs.
Trade #1: Memphis receives Seth Curry; Phoenix receives Kevin Durant and Danny Green; Brooklyn receives Deandre Ayton (sign-and-trade), Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, 2024 Warriors 1st-round pick (via Memphis), 3 future 1sts from Phoenix, and 3 pick swaps with Phoenix
Seth Curry fits in perfectly as the team’s 6th man off the bench, one that’ll likely be in the running for the 6th Man of the Year award. A second unit with Jones, Curry, Williams, LaRavia, and Clarke would be sensational offensively.
If Ja Morant or Tyus Jones have to miss any time, Curry can run the second unit alongside Desmond Bane. He averaged a career-high 3.6 assists, showing more of a comfort creating for himself and others with the ball in his hands.
Alike his legendary brother, Seth Curry has solidified himself as one of the best shooters in the world — possessing a 3-point percentage 42% or higher in each of the past 4 seasons. His prowess there has elevated his confidence, as he possessed career-high’s in scoring average (15.0), field goal attempts (11.5/game), and 3-point attempts (5.8/game).
Curry’s prolific 3-point shooting and secondary playmaking should provide a boost to the Grizzlies’ offense to help them maintain their status as one of the league’s elite offenses and as a title contender.
Trade #2: Memphis receives Mikal Bridges; Phoenix receives Kevin Durant and Danny Green; Brooklyn receives Deandre Ayton (sign-and-trade), Dillon Brooks, Cam Johnson, 2024 Warriors 1st-round pick (via Memphis), 3 future 1sts from Phoenix, and 3 pick swaps with Phoenix
If you want the same “wait how did this team swoop in and get this guy” shock we all felt about the Cavaliers getting Jarrett Allen, it’d be the Memphis Grizzlies coming out of a KD deal with Mikal Bridges.
It’d require more than just Danny Green and the Warriors’ 1st-round pick. Dillon Brooks would likely need to be in on the deal.
With Brooks becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2023, and Bridges’ 4-year extension hitting next season, it nabs the Grizzlies the starting 3 for the time being. A core of Morant, Bane, Jackson, and Bridges is a championship-level one.
While Bridges’ offensive efficiency dropped a bit this past season, he remains one of the best 3-and-D players in the league. The drop in shooting percentages came at the expense of added creation responsibilities, as his usage rate and unassisted field goal rate slightly increased this season. Regardless, he’s shown he doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effectively — scoring 126.6 points per 100 shot attempts, per Cleaning the Glass, and shooting 53.4% from the field.
His shot portfolio is the ideal player to slot next to Ja Morant, as he’s an efficient wing that doesn’t demand a lot of shots. Though his 3-point shot has been up and down (42.5% in 2020-21 to 36.9% last season), he’s remarkable inside the arc — shooting 79% from the rim and 51% in the mid-range, ranking in the 94th and 96th percentile according to Cleaning the Glass.
The most enticing part is his defense. They’d be losing one perimeter stopper in Dillon Brooks, and Mikal Bridges is one of the few players that’d be considered an upgrade. A finalist for Defensive Player of the Year, Bridges is a versatile defender capable of taking on any star matchup — using his 7’1” wingspan to harass offensive players. Though he doesn’t rack up the counting stats, he’s one of the league’s elite defenders. Per B-Ball Index, Bridges led the league in matchup difficulty, while also ranking in the 95th percentile in their Defensive Versatility metric.
The Nets would likely prefer Bridges over acquiring Dillon Brooks and an extra 1st-round pick — though trading for a 3-and-D veteran on an expiring contract, while nabbing an extra pick, could be enticing. However, it’s the type of move the Grizzlies should look to make in the Kevin Durant trade, if they’re not the ones bringing in the generational talent.
No one knows what the Grizzlies will do with Danny Green. A resolution may not come up soon, as Zach Kleiman has shown the willingness to make deals deep into the offseason. They could make a deal similar to ones outlined here, or they could make a 2-for-1 deal then waive Killian Tillie ahead of training camp — also opening up a roster spot for the team trading for Green.
Or the resolution is to simply keep him.
Danny Green is a valuable veteran presence for this roster, and once he’s healthy, he could help them in the postseason.
However, there are risks associated with it. At 35 years old, he may not be the same player he was pre-injury, as he no longer may be a rotation player on a championship-level team. The Grizzlies already have Jaren Jackson Jr. potentially out until Christmas as well, so they could look for more healthy bodies to open the season. Finally, they do have a need for an extra reserve wing.
Though it may appear the Grizzlies are done making moves, trading Danny Green might be the only one to possibly account for until training camp.