The 2023-24 season has not even begun and the Memphis Grizzlies are already dealing with unfortunate luck. Memphis already has to prepare for life without Ja Morant for 25 games and now will be without the team’s most important veteran for the entire season.
After missing most of the 2022-23 season and the NBA Playoffs, veteran big man Steven Adams will miss the entire 2023-24 season. Adams needs to undergo surgery on his MCL, with the team announcing that he will miss the entire season.
This is a huge blow for a Grizzlies team that has to compete with a much-improved Western Conference. Adams being on the court improves the entire dynamic of the team, as it allows Jaren Jackson Jr. to play the four in crunch time, where he is most comfortable. Without Adams, the Grizzlies will have to go back to the drawing board.
The Grizzlies’ one silver lining of the Steven Adams injury:
While it is undoubtedly unfortunate, there is at least one silver lining that Grizzlies fans can lean on. Adams’ contract situation will at least help open new doors for Memphis down the line. Adams isn’t on an expensive contract and that will make it easier to potentially move him down the line.
Adams has a $12.6 million cap hit this season with another $12.6 million cap hit next season. After suffering another significant injury, the Grizzlies are more likely to move on from Adams now to get help for this season. There is no point in keeping him around for his potential impact next season when this team needs help now.
That being said, there is value in another team taking Adams on. Teams near the bottom of the league would have no problem acquiring Adams’ modest deal (with assets, of course) for a big that could help the Grizzlies this season.
If that big is not part of the other team’s future plans then it becomes a no-brainer. Whoever Memphis would theoretically trade with would get assets from the Grizzlies and then could recoup Adams’ value next season when he is healthy. Then, at the deadline during the 2023-24 season, that team could flip Adams for even more value.
NBA fans see teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder do this all the time with veteran players. OKC is actually projected to be good this season so that is not in the equation but there are still intriguing options.
Robert Williams in Portland could be a good fit. Or the Grizzlies could call the Detroit Pistons, who have several young centers that may interest Memphis at the price of Adams’ contract. There definitely are options.