Marc Stein reported today that the Mavericks and Grizzlies are nearing completion on a deal to send Mavericks Second Round Draft Pick and 2013 Eurocup MVP Nick Calathes to the Grizzlies for future draft picks. In his MVP season, Calathes averaged 12.9 PPG, 5.9 RBG, and 6.6 APG.
Receiving Calathes is a pretty good deal for the Grizzlies. We’ve written extensively here about the Grizzlies need for a three-point shooter, and Calathes…does not fit that bill. According to his stat line, he’s shot below 30% from 3 in 3 out of 4 of the seasons he’s played. He is, however, a phenomenal floor general and finisher around the basket, and he’s as smart a pure point guard as they come.
Calathes could potentially be a phenomenal backup point-gurad to offset the gunner tendencies of bench guard Jerryd Bayless. At 6′ 6”, he could be an equally smart back-up shooting guard and cutter when necessary, and his length could offset his defensive deficiencies: which is obviously major for the defensive minded Grizzlies.
He will not however, stop the shooting problem. Which is a problem that desperately needs stopping.
To that point, depending on the terms of Calathes’ deal, this may actually limit the Grizzlies’ ability to use the Mid-Level Exception for a shooter. After Tony Allen was re-signed, the Grizzlies could still afford the Maximum MLE with about $2 million left in flexibility before hitting the tax line.
So, if Calathes’ deal is worth any more than that $2 million, the Grizzlies are cutting into the MLE money with this trade. That said, there was a rumor around the Mavericks’ rumor mill a little while ago that Calathes was hunting for a $3 million dollar deal. If Calathes’ deal is indeed in that range, then the Grizzlies would still have approximately $4.5 million in MLE money with which to sign a shooter. If Calathes’ deal is higher than $3 million, then the Grizzlies would likely go over the tax line and be limited to the mini-MLE of only approximately $3 million.
That said, it’s also possible that the Grizzlies only get the “rights” to Nick Calathes, should he decide to spend next season in Russia again. This is still a possibility, and in this case, Calathes would not count against the Grizzlies’ cap.
Should the Grizzlies get to play Calathes starting next season, this would also probably mean the end of Tony Wroten’s career with the Grizzlies, which, all things considered, is disappointing but probably not the end of the world. Calathes would also obviously be an upgrade over the current backcourt situation, and an improvement for the team.
Nonetheless, as much I like to see small improvements of the like of Calathes and Koufos, I think I speak for myself and others when I say that I find it perplexing that the Grizzlies continue to make roster moves without making the one upgrade they so desperately need to make. The Grizzlies, with these small upgrades, are moving closer and closer to contender status. But none of us will be truly content until that final leap is made.