The Memphis Grizzlies have made Delon Wright a restricted free agent, but that does not mean they will keep the point guard once NBA Free Agency begins.
NBA Free Agency is just three days away, thus teams are having to make up their minds on team options, qualifying offers, and the like. For the Memphis Grizzlies, their big decision surrounds the contract of point guard Delon Wright, who was acquired in February’s transaction with the Toronto Raptors.
On Wednesday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Grizzlies have extended a qualifying offer to Wright, who is preparing to enter his fifth season in the NBA at the age of 27.
Delon is on the cusp of his prime years in the association, but do not think that he has maximized his potential as a floor general. He was caught in a backcourt logjam in Toronto, and upon his arrival in Memphis, he really began to show what he can do when handed starter’s minutes. After averaging 17.5 minutes per game over the course of his Raptors career, he logged an average of 30.8 minutes in 26 games with the Grizzlies.
While Wright as playing well from the start in Memphis, the final week of the 2018-19 regular season saw Delon take his game to a ridiculous level. In three of the team’s final four games, he logged a triple-double. Not one, but three. This certainly raised the price tag on the University of Utah product, who was already going to draw some interest in NBA Free Agency.
As point guards are seemingly a dime per dozen in today’s NBA, do-it-all floor generals take priority. Unfortunately for the Grizzlies’ chances of retaining Delon Wright, he fits this classification. He can drive, he can hit the three-point shot albeit streaky in consistency, he can defend, and he can pass with the best of the competition. In fact, his passing ability through traffic is one key to lifting his hype upon entrance onto the NBA scene in 2015.
Though the Memphis Grizzlies selected Ja Morant with the No. 2 pick, they are rightfully interested in seeing more of Delon in a Grizzly uniform. He is a solid candidate to be an occasional starter, but most importantly, he is a consumate reserve point guard. He can even play the two-guard spot if necessary. Morant and Wright could be a backcourt tandem that is incredibly exciting to watch, especially in situations when placed on the court simultaneously.
The selection of Morant should not at all change the Grizzlies intentions to keep Wright in Memphis. With Mike Conley on his way to the Utah Jazz, Memphis’ point guard rotation could potentially be Morant as the starter, Wright as the primary reserve, and Jevon Carter providing third-string insurance. This potential point guard rotation would be young, but production on both sides of the basketball would be guaranteed.
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Memphis’ qualifying offer means that they will essentially have dibs on Delon Wright if another team shows serious interest. If a team slides an offer sheet across the table to Wright, the Grizzlies will have a chance to match it. If they decline to match, his time in Memphis will officially be done. This would be an underrated loss for a rebuilding Grizzlies squad.
Initially, Delon will probably not fly off the market, especially considering those teams that think they are in play for free agents Kyrie Irving and D’Angelo Russell. Wright could be an ideal Plan B or Plan C for a team needing a starting point guard as Delon showed in 2018-19 that he is more than capable of leading a team at the starting point guard position.
The Grizzlies’ biggest threat is seen here, with another team grossly overpaying Wright as part of a knee-jerk reaction. This is what Memphis does not want to see happen after the June 30th tip-off to NBA Free Agency. For now, they have conducted due diligence in extending a qualifying offer to keep Delon on their line. This aspect could provide some of the most heated free agency drama for the Grizzlies this year.