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Thursday, July 25, 2024

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GRITGRINDGRIZZ: As dust settles on NBA trades, Grizzlies front office dazzles with savvy moves

Dear Grizz fans, quite a bit has happened. You could be forgiven for not being about to keep up. Here’s my best shot.

Lee Eric Smith

The deal that will send Andre Iguodala to the Miami Heat will also send out fan-favorite veterans Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill. Incoming from Miami would be 2015 No. 10 pick Justise Winslow, along with James Johnson and Dion Waiters.

While the details were being finalized on that deal, the Grizzlies also reached a deal with Dillon Brooks – a contract extension worth three-years and $36 million.

Then, the Grizzlies flipped Johnson to the Minnesota Timberwolves, taking back Gorgui Dieng.

And finally, the Grizzlies sent Bruno Caboclo to Houston, bringing Jordan Bell back to Memphis.

Whew. Let’s reset that real quick (minus any draft picks):

OUTGOING:

  • Andre Iguodala
  • Jae Crowder
  • Solomon Hill
  • Bruno Caboclo

INCOMING:

  • Justise Winslow
  • Dion Waiters
  • Jordan Bell
  • Gorgui Dieng

QUICK ANALYSIS:

So for someone who was solidly in the “Don’t trade anybody” camp, I am slightly queasy – particularly over the trade of Jae Crowder and to a lesser extent, Solomon Hill. My argument had to do with chemistry, and how Memphis would ultimately need veteran role players like Crowder and Hill.

So since you already have them, your young core respects them, why disrupt great chemistry with a trade? Allow Iguodala’s contract to expire, then use the funds to help keep the team together.

After my queasiness, however, it’s a no-brainer: The Grizzlies have quietly and sneakily won yet again – almost regardless of how any of the incoming pieces perform. That’s because they were able to pull off these moves with little apparent impact on the rotation – and by extension, the team chemistry.

Sure, Jae Crowder rapidly became a fan favorite and starter. But Kyle Anderson – a starter last season – has shown he can step in seamlessly. I do think the team will miss Crowder’s presence in the locker room, but Taylor Jenkins has already established a strong culture; it won’t evaporate without Crowder there. Minimal rotation/chemistry impact.

Similar for Solomon “Solo” Hill. He’s played well, but his on-court minutes seem to be flourishing with Josh Jackson being called up from the Memphis Hustle. Again minimal impact.

Iguodala never suited up, which is why Dillon Brooks said he hasn’t been a distraction at all. ZERO rotation impact. You could argue the same for Caboclo, who has shown some promise but has been injured of late and out of the rotation – ZERO rotation impact.

And last but not least, locking in Dillon Brooks before he can hit the free agent market – at a reasonable price ($36 million/3 years) . . .  I’d call it a steal, but you can’t steal a guy who’s already on your team. Assuming Brooks’ breakout year isn’t a fluke, this will be one of the best contract values in the league in short order.

And all of that is WITHOUT me getting into the incoming players, and how (or if) their skills fit with the team. I’ll need some time to digest all of that. But that’s the point.

Assuming there are no injuries, all of these players could sit out the rest of the season and it wouldn’t alter the rotation — you know, the one that’s been doing all the winning. Meaning the Grizzlies can take their time and see how all these shiny new pieces fit together.

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