Grade the trade: Memphis lands big man of the future in league-changing trade pitch

The Grizzlies have been looking for a new starting center, and this trade proposal would put them right back at the top of the Western Conference standings.
Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages
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This trade could return the Grizzlies to the top of the West

One very popular name in Grizzlies circles that the team could go after is Jarrett Allen. But the Cleveland Cavaliers' big man just came off a career season where he put up multiple career-high averages. With the Cavs reportedly not looking to trade him anyway, it may be hard to pry Allen away.

Instead, Memphis should opt to pursue the Brooklyn Nets' Nic Claxton. A dominant rim protector, Claxton would theoretically be a perfect fit next to Jaren Jackson Jr. in the frontcourt. He will be a hot commodity this offseason, so the Grizz will have to put together a considerable package to outbid other teams from around the league.

MEM/BKN Claxton trade FINAL

In this hypothetical trade, Memphis would send three rotation players in John Konchar, Luke Kennard and Ziaire Williams to Brooklyn, along with their 2025 first-round draft pick. The Nets would gain one of the best pure shooters in the association in Kennard, who has shot at least 44% from beyond the arc in each of his last four seasons.

It is important to note that this deal would have to be a sign-and-trade. With Claxton being up for an extension, the Grizzlies would have to be okay with paying him a bigger deal. If that contract ends up looking like a three-year, $66 million deal with a $22 million salary each season, the finances work, but Memphis would be hard capped at the first apron, meaning they would be limited in what they can do for the remainder of the season.

The Grizzlies should feel comfortable giving away their 2025 first-rounder if they are confident they can get back to the playoffs next season. The 2024 second-rounder originally belonged to Oklahoma City and will convey as the 58th pick, so it is a very expendable asset.