The Memphis Grizzlies have done a great job rebuilding. Within two years, the Grizzlies transitioned from the Grit and Grind of old to a bright future lead by Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant. Management has done an amazing job getting young talent and moving this rebuild in the right direction. But is it enough? The short answer is no. The talent on here is great, but as Alex Chick and I recently discussed on a podcast, there’s no way the Grizzlies can keep everyone.
The solution? Make a blockbuster trade that can help shift the balance of the NBA into the favor of the Grizzlies. Get an established star to fit alongside alongside this young core and make a hard push towards a title. Even with making a trade, it could take a year or two before the Grizzlies are title contenders. But if done right, Memphis could set themselves up for success in the short and long term.
The trades below are in no real particular order. Some may be more plausible than others, but each of these stars are in scenarios that are pretty bleak and need an out. Being a Grizzlies fan, I tried to find a balance between what is fair and what I, as a fan, would be willing to part with. With that said, let’s take a look at who the Memphis Grizzlies could try to acquire this offseason.
One final tidbit. In a perfect world, Brandon Clarke would stay on the Grizzlies. But for some of these high level players, Clarke may have to be in the mix to make it happen. Depending on the player, I would probably be fine with it. I’d be upset, but fine.
A Zach LaVine and Morant backcourt would be one most athletic duos in the NBA. I was high on LaVine coming into this season. While he may not have had the All-Star breakout like I thought, it was by no means a bad season. LaVine brings exciting wing play and 3pt shooting that the Grizzlies desperately need. He could finally thrive as a scorer in a much better environment than what’s happening in Chicago.
As with most of these trades, Dillon Brooks and multiple picks are the key pieces of the trade. Swapping Dieng and Young is more of a salary dump for both teams. Memphis will take the “eh” contract of Young for two years, while Chicago only has to deal with Dieng for one. If push came to shove, I’d be willing to switch one of the second round picks with a future, protected first round pick.
As much as I want to see Justice Winslow in a Memphis Grizzlies uniform, he could be an attractive piece in some of the trades. Such is the case in pursuing Beal. The Wizards are going nowhere. Wall is hurt and is on an expensive contract that can’t be moved. I honestly shouldn’t have to say much about how Beal thrown into the mix with this young core would be electrifying. Jackson and Beal could unleash massive 3pt barrages and open the driving lanes for Morant. It would be so exciting to watch.
Again, Brooks and 2 first round picks are the main ingredients for this trade. But throwing in Winslow will sweeten the pot. When healthy, Winslow is a beast and is super fun to watch. As much as I want him to play for the Grizzlies, I want Beal more.
This trade was a little weird to pull off because of the uncertainty surrounding Jordan Clarkson’s role with the Jazz going into next season. This trade might have to include a different set of players, but we’ll role with it for now. Mitchell is an excellent playmaker and a star, but the Jazz are in a similar situation the Grizzlies found themselves in a few years ago. They’re good enough to make the playoffs as a 4-6 seed, but aren’t good enough to make a championship run and some of their older players are on big contracts.
Like I said, Guduric and Davis probably wouldn’t be the correct extra players in this trade. There’s also an added layer of difficulty because Mitchell is still on his rookie contract. The extra second round pick is there because Guduric is probably worth that much. Trading for Mitchell now would also cost the Grizzlies more in the long run. Instead of trading for a star already under contract for multiple years, they’d have to sign him to an extension with the back end of his deal running into the years Jackson and Morant will have their next pay day. Contracts are normally more expensive on the tail end, so perhaps Mitchell is the least favorite option, but still a solid one.
Booker would be the most expensive, but most worth it, option. The Suns have a good number of players they could let walk in order to add Winslow and Guduric (I threw him in here for extra measure). Booker is an established star and possibly could be a future MVP of the league if he can lead a team on a deep playoff run. A Booker, Morant, and Jackson big three would be an absolute monster in the NBA. Just mentioning the possibility of this trade has to give fans of other teams nightmares.
This is a hefty price for Booker, but is totally worth it. Because Booker is an established young star, two first round picks won’t do it. Adding a third protected pick ensures the Memphis Grizzlies are covered for a doomsday scenario but can entice the Suns to pull the trigger. Booker and Beal are probably the two trades that would take Clarke to make the trade happen. Hopefully Winslow and Brooks along with picks will be enough. If Clarke has to go in order to get one of those two, then so be it. As per the other teams mentioned, the Suns have good talent but are going nowhere. Booker deserves the chance to go to a team where he can actually compete. Plus, the Grizzlies have a good front office. The Suns are so horribly run. He needs out of there.
The plausibility of these trades happening are high, but not a sure thing. I’ve seen some on Grizzlies Twitter say no to trades because they’ve fallen in love with players. That can be a dangerous thing. I’d love to keep everyone, but it just isn’t going to happen. Especially if the Memphis Grizzlies want to win titles. I would take anyone of these trades. Booker may be at the top of the list, but I do believe any of these four could greatly help the Grizzlies. Maybe we will see some Beale Street magic this offseason.