This Memphis Grizzlies player has been benched — is a trade imminent?

Memphis Grizzlies

Kyle Anderson, Memphis Grizzlies (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)

Memphis Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson may have a new role on the team if the preseason is an indication as to how Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins plans to use this talented roster.

While we have a relatively small sample size (just two preseason games have taken place thus far) we have seen longtime Grizzlies starter Kyle Anderson come off the bench during the 2021 preseason.

During his tenure with the Memphis Grizzlies, Kyle Anderson has started in 137 out of a possible 179 games, according to Basketball-Reference.

During the 2020-21 NBA season, Kyle Anderson had his best season as a professional basketball player. Anderson started all 69 games he appeared in, averaging 12.4 points per game, 3.6 assists per game, and 5.7 rebounds per game. He has a reputation for being one of the league’s most efficient players.

Memphis Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson coming off the bench may boost his trade value in the long run

During the 2021 NBA off-season, Kyle Anderson was the subject of multiple trade rumors, including one from the Cleveland Plain Dealer in which it was reported that Anderson and Dillon Brooks were both available via trade for “the right price.”

Anderson is entering the final year of his contract with the Memphis Grizzlies. Assuming that no extension is reached during the course of the regular season, he would become an unrestricted free agent in the off-season.

To ensure that the Grizzlies do not risk losing Kyle Anderson for nothing in the off-season, the team may explore a mid-season trade to get some value in return for the veteran forward. Most of the teams that would have serious interest in Anderson are going to be teams destined for a deep run in the playoffs with a well-established starting five. The teams most likely to be interested in Anderson’s services will likely see him come off the bench.

Some see this experiment of Anderson coming off the bench for the Grizzlies as a way for those teams to have game tape and data of Anderson doing what he will likely be doing for a hypothetical new team— coming off the bench.