The Memphis Grizzlies are among a handful of teams mentioned by a recent piece in The Athletic of teams that may be angling to move up in the 2022 NBA Draft.
The Grizzlies currently own the No. 22, No. 29, and No. 47 overall picks in the draft, which is set to take place on June 23, 2022.
It makes sense for Memphis to want to move up— the team doesn’t need to add three rookies to an already young team. Adding one really high-quality pick, however, is seen as worthwhile.
Could the Memphis Grizzlies pull off blockbuster trade in 2022 NBA Draft?
The Grizzlies could find a suitable trade partner in Sacramento, who is rumored to covet veteran talent in exchange for the No. 4 overall pick, according to The Athletic.
"Sacramento has a clear win-now expectation, several front office members on the last year of their contracts and the fourth pick in the draft burning a hole in its pocket. One suspects that pick might be in play in return for some wing help."
There’s a deal out there that could equally benefit both teams and that’s a deal centered around Dillon Brooks and Harrison Barnes.
The Grizzlies could offer up Brooks, Brandon Clarke, Tyrell Terry, and both of this year’s first-round picks to Sacramento in exchange for Harrison Barnes, his bloated contract, and the No. 4 overall pick.
The Grizzlies could then turn around and use that No. 4 pick on combo guard Jayden Ivey, a Sophomore out of Purdue who averaged 17.2 PPG, 3.1 APG, and 4.9 RPG last season.
Sacramento gets two playoff-tested, young veterans in Brooks and Clarke. They could potentially use the No. 22 pick to flip and acquire another win-now player.
You could imagine a lineup of Ja Morant, Ivey, Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Steven Adams next season. Ivey could take pressure off Morant and force defenses to pick their poison of who they want to cut off from attacking the paint.
He could also serve as the primary ball handler with the second unit, something he can share with De’Anthony Melton, perhaps as The Memphis Commercial Appeal’s Damichael Cole recently suggested.
A second unit of Melton, Zairie Williams, Barnes, Xavier Tillman Sr., and Santi Aldama would be extremely risky, but a key free-agent pickup or additional trade could help shore up the bench.
Or, you could start Williams and bring Ivey off the bench as the primary scoring option with that second unit.
Barnes can fill the Kyle Anderson-sized hole the team will likely face with his seemingly inevitable departure as a free agent this offseason. He’s got a similar frame and skillset, but is a much better scorer.
The Memphis Grizzlies could use their No. 47 overall pick on a backup big man (maybe Ivey’s 6’10,” 260 lb. Purdue teammate Trevion Williams) to help shore up some depth behind Steven Adams. Or they could go with a draft-and-stash option in a bet that Xavier Tillman Sr. and/or Santi Aldama take a big step forward and become regular contributors.
One of them would almost certainly have to if Clarke were to be dealt in this hypothetical scenario. Ideally, it would be Aldama, who is more athletic, can shoot threes, and use his 7-foot frame to challenge just about anyone at the basket.
This is a huge, swing-for-the-fences move. In an offseason where there’s no clear-cut offseason target to acquire to improve the team, the Memphis Grizzlies should consider taking a big swing to move high up into the first few picks of the draft.
Giving up Brooks and Clarke would be extremely hard to swallow, but acquiring Ivey would be well worth the risk.