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4 things I’m watching for Memphis Grizzlies offseason
The Memphis Grizzlies have a big offseason in all facets -- the draft, free agency, trades, and player development.
The Memphis Grizzlies have a huge offseason. It’s been discussed ad nauseam, and I tackled it earlier this week.
People will look at the summer in terms of player acquisition through trades or free agency. However, there are other dynamics to tackle as well. I break down the Grizzlies’ offseason with 1 thing I’m watching for this summer for Memphis.
Draft: Do they make a 1st-round pick?
Obviously landing Ja Morant with the 2nd pick in 2019 was the ultimate catalyst. However, the draft and player development have been driving forces for the Grizzlies’ surge into becoming playoff contenders ahead of schedule. Desmond Bane, Brandon Clarke, Santi Aldama, Xavier Tillman, and David Roddy all were picked outside the top-20 in the past 4 drafts — and have contributed to winning basketball.
With the Grizzlies angled as a team looking to upgrade their roster, do they end up trading their first-round pick? The Grizzlies have dealt their original selections before, but that was an effort to move up into the draft. With the need for a veteran starting 3, do they deal the 25th pick?
I’m leaning towards trading it. Granted, there are players in the range I like and will cover in SubTsak — Kris Murray, Jett Howard, Brandin Podziemski, Bilal Coulibaly, Dereck Lively. However, when assessing the Grizzlies’ needs this offseason, none of these guys move the needle for me to move me off my opinion of trading the pick
With the new CBA creating another 2-way spot, the Grizzlies have 2 spots to join Vince Williams Jr. as the organization’s 2-way players. Ironically, they have 2 second-round picks. I could totally see them going down that route.
All eyes will be on the Memphis Grizzlies on draft week, as we’ll see if they deviate from the status quo and trade their 25th pick.
Trade: Can they actually get a sign-and-trade with Dillon Brooks?
Dillon Brooks won’t be back. And people hope that Shams Charania’s report of him not coming back “under any circumstances” doesn’t deteriorate the chances of a sign-and-trade.
People don’t know his market. Spoiler: he’s not going to the Shanghai Sharks next season. Will it be a mid-level exception, or above that? If an organization believes they can channel his shot selection and his competitive fire in a more healthy manner, he should go above it. Big All-Defense wings don’t grow on trees, and Brooks’ defensive versatility has impeccable range.
Here are the teams that can sign him outright into cap space above the MLE:
San Antonio Spurs
Detroit Pistons (reported interest, per Marc Stein)
Oklahoma City Thunder
Will any of these teams, or perhaps another interested organization, negotiate a sign-and-trade? We’ll see. It could serve as an avenue for the Grizzlies to add a veteran off the bench.
(Note: can we keep an eye on a Dillon Brooks + picks package to send him back home to Canada to the Raptors for OG Anunoby? That’d be sweet.)
Free Agency: Does their need for a veteran make them shift from the status quo?
The Grizzlies have made 1 external free agent signing since 2019, when they brought Tyus Jones into the fold. Will the team’s need for a veteran push them to shift from the status quo and sign a free agent?
There are some interesting names out there. No, Jae Crowder is not one — something about stepping away from a team that won 64 games because you’re not starting anymore doesn’t sit right with me for “veteran presence.”
Harrison Barnes might be an awesome target at the $12M MLE, but he may go above it, and he has a frightening playoff history.
With the contingency of adding a combo guard through a separate transaction, Derrick Rose could be great as a locker room guy that’s a “break emergency glass when needed” guard in the 3rd string of the depth.
Danny Green isn’t a good option for the everyday rotation, but what about as the 12th/13th guy?
I’d like more size in the center rotation off the bench, but 3 bigs (FA, Clarke, Lofton) in the 11-15 parts of the depth chart doesn’t sit right with me. Maybe if the hypothetical acquisition can space the floor more than the Clarke/Adams/Tillman/Lofton crew. However, that guy is likely not in free agency.
The FA options are not optimal frankly, but it could serve as a cheap pathway to add another veteran on the roster.
Player Development: What’s next for the Grizzlies’ bench wings?
The Grizzlies have (at most, barring trades) 3 young wings looking to grow into NBA contributors: David Roddy, Ziaire Williams, and Jake LaRavia.
Roddy had the best 2022-23 season of the bunch, showing upside as a 3-and-D wing that can also create advantages and attack the basket. Refining his 3-and-D skillset with more efficiency and consistency will be huge, especially with the impending departure of Dillon Brooks.
Williams didn’t take the leap many expected and is now facing a huge summer. Can he take over Summer League as the undisputed best player on the floor — a trend you want to see from 3rd year guys — to build confidence towards a bounce-back season?
LaRavia never got going with consistent minutes after some nagging injuries. However, he was sent to the G League to ramp up his 3-point attempts and really utilize his sweet shooting stroke. In exit interviews, Kleiman said LaRavia was going to surprise people next season. Do we get a glimpse into what he’s seeing at Summer League?
All 3 of these guys will face huge developmental summers. Given the Grizzlies’ track record of development, it’s hard envisioning a scenario all 3 of them struggle to take a modest leap in their games. It could lead to a great Summer League that adds more intrigue to the back-half of the rotation next season.
It’s a big summer for the Memphis Grizzlies in many facets. Whether it’s trades, player development, the draft, or free agency — what will you be watching for this offseason with the Grizzlies?
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