5 Players the Memphis Grizzlies held onto for too long

Memphis Grizzlies, Zach Randolph, Mike Conley. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Memphis Grizzlies, Zach Randolph, Mike Conley. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Memphis Grizzlies joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1995 and are still searching for their first championship. They made seven straight playoff appearances during the Grit and Grind era, but never advanced past the conference finals. The new era led by Ja Morant has plenty of promise but is still a few pieces away from contending for a title.

The Grizzlies moved on from Dillon Brooks and Tyus Jones and upgraded to Marcus Smart. Will that be enough to get them in the thick of the hunt? Memphis has a young and talented roster, but it will take some growth to get into the championship picture.

The Grizzlies are entering their 29th season as a franchise, and the front office has made plenty of mistakes. None bigger than watching their talent go from a key piece of the roster to a declining player the franchise struggles to set free.

Players Memphis Grizzlies held onto for too long

5. Michael Dickerson

Some fans may not remember Dickerson. The 6’5 wing was the 14th overall pick by the Houston Rockets in the 1998 NBA Draft, and he arrived in Vancouver as part of a three-team trade the following summer where the Grizzlies dumped Steve Francis. It was a disastrous move for the Grizz as they shipped the number two pick, who refused to play for them, out for four role players and one future first.

Dickerson was the immediate prize of the trade for the Grizzlies. He slotted directly into the starting lineup and averaged 18.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.4 steals in 37.8 minutes per game. Vancouver won just 22 times, but that was a 14-win improvement from the previous year.

Injuries derail Michael Dickerson’s career with Memphis Grizzlies.

That turned out to be Dickerson’s best season. He kept starting the following year, but his efficiency dipped. Things went from bad to worse after the franchise arrived in Memphis. A series of injuries limited him to just ten more games and forced him to retire at 27 years old.

The Grizzlies could have traded Michael Dickerson for a significant haul after his second and third seasons, but they decided to keep him for too long and got zero return.