Memphis Grizzlies: What To Make Of The NBA Trade Deadline Woes

Memphis Grizzlies traded Marc Gasol prior to the NBA Trade Deadline (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Memphis Grizzlies traded Marc Gasol prior to the NBA Trade Deadline (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

 The Memphis Grizzlies made many moves at the NBA Trade Deadline. Here we take a look at some of the moves they made on Thursday.

Franchise legend Marc Gasol‘s departure marks the end of the Grit n Grind era for the Memphis Grizzlies. They also sent the expiring contracts of Garrett Temple and JaMychal Green to the Los Angeles Clippers at the NBA Trade Deadline. But the return leaves much to be desired for a Memphis team entering a new phase.

In the hours leading up to trade deadline, it transpired that Gasol would be leaving for Toronto, as the Raptors bolster their squad in pursuit of a Finals push. In return, the Grizzlies received Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, veteran C.J. Miles, and a 2024 second-round pick.

That may seem like a fair return for an aging star like Gasol, who has a lofty player option for next season. However, giving up on Gasol is a prelude to a grueling rebuild in Memphis and the current roster is full of veterans who have been brought in to help the Gasol and Mike Conley tandem in a playoff push.

The Grizzlies did not acquire any player who can be paired with Jaren Jackson Jr. who is poised to become the franchise cornerstone moving forward. Valanciunas, who was stuck in a timeshare with Ibaka in Toronto, is still 26 years old and appears to be the real appeal in this trade.

Related Story. Raptors Decisively Win Marc Gasol Trade. light

That being said, he is not on the same timeline as Jackson Jr. and will be nearing 30 when and if the Grizzlies’ start reaping the fruits of the impending rebuilding efforts.

The Grizzlies also acquired Avery Bradley from Clippers for Temple and Green. Bradley has $2 million guaranteed next season and has been having arguably the worst season of his career to go with being 28 years old.

The notion behind trading veterans on expiring deals is to get something in return before they walk away and that “something” should have been draft picks for the Grizzlies instead of another veteran with an unwarranted cap hold in 2019-20 season.

On the positive side, Memphis refused to trade Conley for anything short of multiple first round picks which ended up keeping him with the Grizzlies.

Memphis’ off-season strategy was to bring as many defensive-minded role players as possible and bank on its two stars in Conley and Gasol to do the rest. After a hot start, it became clear the team needed more around Gasol and Conley to survive in the West.

It is understandable that Memphis wanted to remain competitive when it still had two star caliber players, a luxury that this franchise has lacked. However, there was enough evidence to suggest this venture could wind up being a disappointment.

Both Gasol and Conley are on the wrong side of 30 and Conley has dealt with nagging injuries in the past seasons. The Grizzlies fell short, and they did not seem to have a plan B either.

Aside from Jackson Jr, who has flashed intriguing potential yet will take time to build his offensive game, they are stuck with mediocre talent. There will be more opportunities for the youngsters going forward none have close to the ceiling of Jackson.

It’s time to move on and wish Gasol, without whom the dreaded Grit n Grind would have never existed, the best in Toronto. Having Jackson to build around and Conley to seek more lucrative deals in the offseason will be a respite for the Grizzlies hopefuls.

Next. Grizzlies Finally Land Two Coveted Players. dark

Nevertheless, the front office faces the difficult task of bringing in young talent through trades or the draft. This time, they must make the right choices and can’t afford to repeat past mistakes.