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Monday, July 22, 2024

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Grizzlies looking to make the right moves


In less than a week, the NBA will hold its annual draft. After the disappointing season of the Memphis Grizzlies, they will select, as of now, with the 9th overall pick. The last time the Grizzlies stayed and kept their original first-round pick was with Ja Morant in 2019.

This year, rumors have been rampant about what the Grizzlies will and should do to return to dominance in the ultra-tough Western Conference. Injuries took their toll on Memphis last season, and they expect to contend with the best teams next season.

Open Spots

Currently, the Grizzlies technically have three open roster spots. One was created when Yuta Watanabe opted out of his contract. The second was created when the contract of Lamar Stevens expired after coming to Memphis with the Xavier Tillman trade. The third is the unexercised team option for Luke Kennard.

If Memphis decides to exercise the Kennard option, it will put the team on the cusp of the NBA tax apron. Kennard has a $14.8 million team option, and the Grizzlies have until June 29 to exercise that option. If they don’t exercise it, Kennard would become an unrestricted free agent.

Grizzlies’ Needs

The most glaring need is at the center position. Regardless of any other moves that may be made, if a quality center is not on the roster, the opportunity for a deep run in the playoffs will be very difficult. The choice is to move up and try to obtain a center, move down and get Zach Edey at a bargain, or trade for a serviceable center.

The Grizzlies have been making phone calls about moving up, moving down, or doing a sign-and-trade to obtain a quality center. Since the injury to Steven Adams last spring, the team has been a shell of themselves.

Some of the names that have been mentioned to play center are Andre Drummond of the Chicago Bulls and Jarrett Allen of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Each of these teams would like to get some draft capital, which the Grizzlies have, and maybe a player or two. Memphis has a history of developing young players that become valuable trade assets.

What Should They Do?

Everyone has an opinion on how they should proceed. One of the better options would be to trade the number 9 pick in this year’s draft for Allen along with Kennard and possibly a younger player like Ziaire Williams or Santi Aldama.

Sign Stevens and Scotty Pippen Jr. to contracts. Pippen played on a two-year contract last season and showed some promise as the backup point guard. Finally, look for a short-term replacement for Kennard on the open market and hope that Jake LaRavia develops into a consistent shooting threat.

The NBA draft will start on Wednesday, June 26, for the first round and June 27 for the second round. The Grizzlies may not get the national attention as most teams do for the draft coverage, but this year’s decisions could put them back on the national radar.

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