4 Grizzlies who improved their trade value in 2023

Memphis Grizzlies, Xavier Tillman (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Memphis Grizzlies, Xavier Tillman (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /
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For the second straight year the Memphis Grizzlies fell short of expectations, failing to even win a playoff series this season. While injuries and off-court shenanigans had a big part to play in the team’s early exit in six games against LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers, it also seemed as though this young and exciting team simply did not have enough experience to make a deep playoff run.

With playoff exits in the first or second round in each of the last three years, it could be time for Memphis to shake things up a little bit. They’re likely looking to build around their core of Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Defensive Player of the Year Jaren Jackson Jr., so what does Memphis have in terms of trade bait on the rest of their roster?

While some guys tanked their trade value with their antics on and off the court (cough, Dillon Brooks, cough, cough) others were unable to make an impression due to major injuries (Steven Adams, Brandon Clarke). You might think that doesn’t leave much talent on the team, but you’d be surprised how much these four players boosted their trade value during the 2023 season.

Santi Aldama, PF

The Utah Jazz used the final pick of the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft on a seven-foot Spaniard with a lethal shooting stroke out of mid-major Loyola Maryland named Santi Aldama. The Jazz flipped Aldama a week later, sending him to the Grizzlies for a few second round picks. Aldama played just 11 minutes per game during his rookie year as he split time between the Grizzlies and the team’s G-League affiliate, the Memphis Hustle.

After earning All-NBA Summer League Second Team honors in the summer of 2022, Aldama was asked to step up in a big way to start the 2022-23 season. With Jaren Jackson Jr. on the mend, the Gran Canaria native slotted into the starting lineup for the first 14 games of the season. Aldama responded so well that he earned a beefy rotation spot even after JJJ’s return.

Aldama showed that he can step in and be a solid starter if need be, posting 10.9 points and 6.3 rebounds on 48 percent from the field in his 20 starts. He also dialed in during the playoffs to go 47 percent from long range. Memphis has already exercised his option for next season, and players with size and spacing ability are always in high demand, so if he can remain efficient from deep he should be a useful trade asset.