Grizzlies: Declining Justise Winslow’s team option doesn’t mean he’s gone

Memphis Grizzlies

Justise Winslow, Memphis Grizzlies NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The big post-draft news for the Memphis Grizzlies this offseason wasn’t in regards to any of their draft picks. There haven’t been any huge trades yet. Instead, it was related to a player who didn’t have much of an impact on the Grizzlies’ 2020-21 season.

The player that I’m talking about is Justise Winslow, who posted one of the worst Player Efficiency Ratings in the league. His PER was bottom ten in the league among over 300 eligible players. His shooting splits were bad… like, really bad. They looked like this.

  • 35.2% FG, 18.5% 3PT, 57.1% FT

As a point forward, Winslow couldn’t run the offense if his life depended on it. The Grizzlies’ forward accumulated just 1.9 assists per game with 1.4 turnovers to counter the number.

Even so, before the blockbuster trade involving Jonas Valanciunas, Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, and a handful of first-round picks, it looked like the Grizzlies may have considered accepting Winslow’s team option, even if just for a second. They didn’t seem to be in the market to make any big moves and it seemed like a no harm-no foul situation.

The Grizzlies’ offseason trade made bringing Winslow back for $13 million seem completely delusional

On Sunday, the Grizzlies declined Winslow’s team option.

Maybe we were too deep into the offseason by thinking that Winslow could come back for $13 million. Now, that seems like something that wouldn’t have made sense under any conditions.

The logic was that he was never able to get into a groove with the Grizzlies’ lineup. He returned relatively late in the season and, with a playoff appearance on the line, there was no time to continue “The Winslow Experiment.”

That said, this front office and coaching staff seemed determined to fit Winslow into the lineup. Up until playoff time, he had a role on this team and was taking away Tyus Jones’ minutes. It wasn’t working, but it wasn’t due to a lack of effort on the Grizzlies’ part.

Because of this, it’s hard to see a world where Memphis doesn’t reach out and see if they can work out a deal to bring Winslow back. They won’t have to pay him much, as his value is likely lower than ever after an injury and his worst season yet in the NBA.

This will be one of a few storylines to watch as free agency opens up at 6 PM ET on August 2nd. The Grizzlies will also likely have a handful of other moves happening, with Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams, and quite a few first-round picks to toy around with. Right now, virtually nobody is safe outside of Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Ziaire Williams.