Instant deadline reaction: Grizzlies get Luke Kennard

Los Angeles Clippers guard Luke Kennard-Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Clippers guard Luke Kennard-Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

The Grizzlies have acquired Clippers guard Luke Kennard in a three-team deal. Does this move make any difference now that their Western conference foes have made huge moves?

The Grizzlies finally made a move at the deadline, and it addresses their biggest weakness. Clippers guard Luke Kennard is headed to the Grizzlies in a three-team deal with the Rockets, according to multiple sources. The deal is as follows: Grizzlies send three second-round picks to Clippers, Danny Green to Rockets, and get back Kennard. Eric Gordon was sent to the Clippers and John Wall goes back to Houston as well.

It isn’t the big-time trade many were hoping for, but Kennard is the perfect type of player for what the Grizzlies lack: three-point shooting. He is a career 42.7% shooter from deep, and is hitting almost 45% of his threes this season.

The question though is whether this deal really matters much now that the rest of the West is loading up for the playoffs. The Lakers, Suns, and Mavericks have all made significant changes to their roster over the past week, all with the intention of winning now. A healthy Grizzlies team with Kennard as their primary outside weapon off the bench is still one of the better teams in basketball, but is it enough?

Grizzlies trade for Kennard helps, but not enough to win West

I don’t want to sound too upset about the Grizzlies addressing a big need with this trade, but it’s hard to be inspired by it with all the huge trades going on in the Western Conference. Between the Kevin Durant trade, the Lakers adding multiple players, and the Mavericks getting Kyrie Irving, it just doesn’t move the needle.

That doesn’t mean the season is lost or that they can’t get healthy and make a run, but it got a lot harder assuming those moves work out. The Grizzlies front office may be looking at the current landscape of the West and feel that making a big move is too risky.

Even if they do believe that, the best players still theoretically available aren’t rentals anyway. The two players linked most to the Grizzlies, Mikal Bridges and OG Anunoby, are both under contract past this season. Sure, you have to give up future assets to acquire them. But they themselves are young, already established players.

If Zach Kleiman and his staff don’t view them as worth giving up multiple picks for, I don’t know if they will ever make a big move. Kennard is a good player and fits what they need, but at the end of the day, it’s a minor trade. Maybe he ends up hitting a bunch of clutch threes that help get them deep into the playoffs, but otherwise, it likely doesn’t change the outlook of their season.