Analyzing the Unrestricted Free Agents
Believe it or not, the NBA off-season is right around the corner, and with the finals about to wrap up, fans are looking towards the draft and free agency. As far as the Grizzlies go, free agency is going to be a huge part of their off-season. Signing some of the players available might require some pieces to be moved or contracts to be altered. The Z-Bo situation also needs to be figured out, and there are some glaring holes that need patching as well.
Top 10 free agents for Memphis
1. Luol Deng-He’ll be pricey, but he would be a perfect fit with this current roster. A long, defensive small forward that can shoot the three is exactly what this lineup needs. Conley/Allen/Deng/Randolph/Gasol would push the Grizzlies into contender territory. Randolph would have to take a reduced contract and other pieces would have to be moved for this deal to work.
2. Pau Gasol-Pau is one of the more interesting players on the board. He returns to Memphis to play along his brother Marc, but where does that leave Zach Randolph? It would be hard to see one of the three coming off the bench, but who knows. Gasol would be a great fit alongside his brother with his mid-range game and passing abilities.
3. Gordon Hayward-Gordon will command a pretty sizable payday, but he certainly has proved he’s earned it. Hayward’s three point percentages are trending in an “off year-on year” pattern. His rookie and third seasons he shot about 44% combined. His second and fourth he shot around 32% combined. But hey, if we got him it would be on an odd year, so we could expect him to shoot lights out from three. Overall Hayward is strong on offense and average on D, but he would certainly help move the ball and add some much needed scoring.
4. Trevor Ariza-This past season Ariza decided it was time to start nailing threes, and he did so at a clip of about 40%. Ariza is a great defender, younger than Deng, and fits the Grizzlies need at small forward especially with Tayshaun Prince’s contract up at the end of next year.
5. Danny Granger-He would have to come at a bargain for this deal to make sense. He played poorly coming off of his injury last year, but if he can return anywhere close to his old form, he would be a solid pickup. Granger can shoot, defend well, and even play a little PF in a pinch.
6. Kirk Hinrich-I love Hinrich at the backup guard spot. He can play the one or the two and can still defend both pretty well even though he’s aging. His shooting and scoring have dipped a bit, but as a backup he wouldn’t need to provide an overwhelming amount of points.
7. C.J. Miles-Miles’ play flew under the radar while playing on a bad Cavs squad, but he quietly put up 10 ppg while shooting 40% from three. He wouldn’t be too expensive and would provide some scoring off the bench.
8. Shawn Marion-There’s one problem with Marion: He’s old. He might only have a year or two left, but he can still do everything you’d want out of him. A small forward-power forward combo that can shoot the three (very oddly), defend, and rebound. Sign him, find a time machine, and we’re set.
9. Jordan Hill-Hill would be a good forward-center combo off the bench. He’s a very good rebounder and energy guy who could backup both Z-Bo and Gasol. Although, he might get a bigger contract than he’s worth, so the Grizz would have to make sure that they don’t overbid.
10. P.J. Tucker-He is 29 and has only played 3 (more like 2.5) years in the league. Had a great season last year at small forward for Phoenix while averaging 9 points and 6.5 boards. He shot the three at 39% and is a great rebounder for the position. Would be a nice backup at SF depending on price.
Free Agents Recap
Most any of these players would fit well with this current Grizzlies roster. The only problem is how much money Memphis will end up having to spend. Finding some players that can hit the three efficiently and defend (amongst other things) will be key this off-season, and there are free agents out there that could give the Grizz the boost they need. It’s just a matter of making the right offers while still keeping the majority of this roster intact.