The Memphis Grizzlies recently signed Marko Guduric to a two year, 5.3 million dollar contract using a part of their bi-annual exception. The signing gives the Grizzlies a proven shooter as Guduric spent the 2018-2019 season playing in the EuroLeague shooting 47.7% from behind the three point line. This signing, however, puts the Grizzlies in an interesting predicament as they now have 18 players on their roster, needing to cut it down to 15 before the season.
The Grizzlies have many options to trim their team down to the type of roster rookie head coach, Taylor Jenkins, wants. What cuts, trades or buyouts could the Grizzlies make in the next month as they prepare for the season?
These players are guaranteed roster spots for this upcoming year. The Grizzlies will use an up-tempo style of offence under Coach Jenkins. Youth is a focal point as the average age of the Grizzlies is 23.5 (including 35 year old Iggy and 33 year old Howard).
Ja Morant – The number two overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft will look to make an immediate impact as the starting point guard for Memphis. Morant brings a long, impressive resume to the Grizzlies out of Murray State.
Tyus Jones – The Grizzlies inked Jones to a three year, 26.4 million dollar contact (spotrac) after being a restricted free agent with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Jones, in his fourth season out of Duke, averaged 6.9 points, 2.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game last season.
De’Anthony Melton – Memphis acquired Melton from the Suns in a trade that sent Javon Carter and Kyle Korver to Phoenix. Melton has a lot of upside as a combo guard as he is long and can play defense. The second year guard, out of USC, averaged 5.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists in his rookie season with the Suns. Melton could get more minutes than most think, as he can play alongside Jones or Morant.
Josh Jackson – Jackson was the center piece of the deal with the Suns for Kyle Korver and Javon Carter. He has had struggles in his first few years in the NBA as he has been in the news for skipping team events and other off the court issues. However, on the court Jackson has been productive averaging 12.3 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game in his career. Jackson isgiven a chance to revitalize his career in Memphis being the third option behind Jaren and Ja.
Grayson Allen– Speaking of guys with problems in their career, Grayson Allen is at the top of the list. Allen, acquired in the Mike Conley deal, gives the Grizzlies a young talent who put in big games last season as a rookie. In-game tactics have given Allen a bad rep in college and in the NBA. Allen has the opportunity to be a role player off the bench. Allen will get lost in the fold as the season goes on, but for now, he is safe.
Kyle Anderson – Anderson returns for his second year with the Grizzlies, signing for the full mid-level exception last summer. He only played in 43 games last season dealing with injuries. However, with his time on the court he averaged 8.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists. He recently had shoulder surgery on April 18 and has been rehabbing throughout the summer.
Jae Crowder – Crowder another piece in the Mike Conley trade should be a huge asset for the Grizzlies’ young team. His veteran leadership and grit will allow him to be a fringe starter for the group at the small forward position. Crowder also allows the Grizz to run a small ball lineup putting him at the four spot.
Two Way Wings
John Konchar (two-way)- Konchar joins the grizzlies on a two-way contract after playing four seasons at Purdue Fort Wayne. While playing for the Mastodons, Konchar became the first player in NCAA Division I history with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 500 assists and 200 steals. He played very well on the Grizzlies’ summer league team giving him momentum into the season for the Grizzlies and the Hustle.
Yuta Watanabe (two-way) – Watanabe joins the Grizzlies for his second season on a two-way contract. The popular Japanese player show his development during summer league as he led the Grizz in points during the games in Utah. Watanabe has become a crowd favorite and has been a sensation in the Japanese market.
Jaren Jackson Jr. – THE FUTURE. That is all that needs to be said. JJJ has become an instant hit in Memphis as he can shoot, finish and play a high level of defense. Oh, do not forget he is only 19 years old. The future is bright with Jackson Jr. at the helm of this Grizzlies team.
Brandon Clarke – The biggest steal of the draft was Brandon Clarke out of Gonzaga. The 21 year old flew under the radar because he is slightly undersized and only played with year with the Zags being over shadowed by Rui Hachimura. The defensive sensation won MVP of the 2019 Summer League and MVP of the finals of summer league too. Clarke will be a defensive presence this season for the Grizzlies coming off the bench. Clarke, like Jackson, will be in Memphis for the long haul.
Jonas Valanciunas – The biggest name in the Marc Gasol trade last season, Valanciunas finished last season looking at a player option that he could sign. Instead he shocked most declining the option and reworking a longer contract with the Grizzlies. He then signed a three year deal pairing with Jaren in the starting lineup. The big man is a bruiser and double-double machine.
Miles Plumlee – Plumlee may be one of the more questionable people in the safe section. He was acquired in the Chandler Parsons trade with the Atlanta Hawks. Plumlee is only 30 and would give the Grizzlies something that have not had in a long time, a decent backup center. Plumlee is on a one year contract and could be dealt at the trade deadline. For now, he should remain a component in the Grizzlies game plan for this season.
The only for sure player that the Grizzlies will remove from their current roster is center veteran, Dwight Howard, who they received in a trade with the Charlotte Hornets earlier in the offseason. The move allowed the Grizzlies to alleviate themselves from CJ Miles’ 8.7 million dollar contract.
Howard will make 5.6 million dollars this year, and with the direction that Memphis is taking the once herald star has no place in the Bluff City. Memphis currently holds two other centers on their roster in Jonas Valanciunas and Mason Plumlee, both obtained in the past six months. Jonas is the center for the next three seasons after signing a contract with the Grizz this offseason. Plumlee will slide in the backup center role, being the most talented player at that position since Kosta Koufus.
The Grizzlies in the end will buy out Howard’s contract, but the question remains how much they will pay to do so. In the perfect scenario for Memphis would be to only have to pay half or less of his contract. If they have to pay the whole 5.6 million, they will cut their losses and move forward.
The Mike Conley trade for the Grizzlies netted them a large return of future and current assets. It also gave them a 25 million dollar trade exception, the largest in NBA history via Jeff Siegel of earlybirdrights.com. With the exception, Zach Kleiman, the executive VP of basketball operations for the Memphis Grizzlies, acquired Andre Iguodala, a 2024 first round pick (top four protected) and two million dollars in cash considerations. In return the Grizzlies sent on of their two-way contract players in Julian Washburn, who was immediately waived by the Warriors.
Memphis, who has rebuilt their pick supply this offseason, did the deal for the pick but are left with the question of what to do with Iguodala. It is common knowledge that Iggy prefers a playoff contender and large market team. The top echelon of teams in the western conference are rumored to want Andre on their team. Teams such as the Clippers, Lakers, Nuggets and Rockets have all been in talks with the Grizzlies at some point in the offseason.
The Grizzlies have three options with Iggy that could come to fruition:
1: Keep Iggy for the immediate future and trade him at the trade deadline.
2: Trade Andre now and receive what you can for him.
3: Buyout his 17 million dollar contract, or part of it, allowing him to become a free agent.
The Grizzlies SHOULD NOT even consider option three unless it is a partial amount from his current contract. Instead, they should consider the first two options greatly. Because of the roster crunch it makes since to move Iggy sooner rather than later. The Grizzlies have been seeking a first round pick in return for the vet; however, if they can find a team willing to give up a young player and second round pick, they need to take the deal.
Hill two months ago was a starting small forward for the New Orleans Pelicans; however, he was shipped on draft night to the Atlanta Hawks in the move for the number four overall pick. Hill was then packaged by the Hawks with Miles Plumlee to be traded to Memphis for Chandler Parsons. The Grizzlies essentially broke up Parson’s huge contract into two medium sized contracts that they could possibly move again.
Solomon is not a scrub, as he has a career average of 5.9 points shooting 32.9 percent from behind the three point line. For a team that is looking for a role player off of the bench, Hill would be a good fit. Being only 28, Hill still has gas left in his tank to be a great leader and three and d player for a playoff contender.
The Grizzlies have two options with Hill, trade or buy out. Both of these options could be viable for Memphis as the roster crunch will start to take effect as the season nears. Hill is in the last year of his 12 million dollar contract and could take less money for a buy-out. The Grizzlies could also flip Hill for another high risk, high reward player like what was done with Josh Jackson and Grayson Allen. In the end the Grizzlies could keep him for veteran leadership or turn him into a future second round pick or two.
Rabb seems like he is the low man on the totem pole these days. He was drafted by the Grizzlies in the second round of the 2017 NBA draft. After being drafted he has not done well to develop in Memphis. He has only played in 85 games for the Grizzlies averaging 5.7 points per game. Last season he showed some promise being a bench player, but he will have to deal with the addition of Brandon Clarke and the up tempo offense of Taylor Jenkins.
Rabb is only set to make 1.6 million this year. However, that money is currently not guaranteed as he agreed to have his date to determine the guarantee pushed back to October. Cutting Rabb could be an easy decision for the Grizzlies especially with the ability to use some of the wings on the team as small-ball fours.
Unlikely but Plausible
Brooks who will enter his third season with the Grizzlies who drafted him out of Oregon. In his rookie season with the team Brooks played in all 82 games, starting in 74 of them. This past season, Dillon faced injury problems only playing in 18 games. In those 18 games he averaged 7.5 points shooting 37.5 percent from behind the three point line.
Brooks ended up having surgery on his big toe causing him to sit out the majority of the season. Is Brooks expendable? Yes. With the additions of Josh Jackson, Grayson Allen, Solomon Hill and De’Anthony Melton the Grizzlies could move the former Duck. Brooks could net a decent return of second round picks. He could also be packaged with a player like Solomon Hill to receive a young asset in return. Brooks should stay put in Memphis.
Bruno was signed by the Grizzlies to a 10 day contract in late January of this past season. He ended up playing in 34 games for Memphis averaging 8.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Caboclo was originally drafted by the Toronto Raptors in 2014. The 6’9 forward has a lot of upside being able to shoot the three and guard the rim.
Bruno is only signed to a 522K deal for this upcoming season. The Grizzlies could make the difficult move to cut him even though he produced well for the team last year. Either Bruno or Rabb goes, the Grizzlies should not keep both on their roster for next season.
The Choice Effects The Future
The Grizzlies have a tough decision to make going forward. There are many arguments that can be made for any of these new young guys staying or leaving. All Grizzlies fans need to know is Ja, Jaren and Clarke will eventually lead this team on a playoff run. Just be patient, sit back and watch this fun dynamic team next season.