Grizzlies believed to be 'best off parting ways' with forward this summer

Memphis Grizzlies v San Antonio Spurs
Memphis Grizzlies v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

2023-24 may not have been the title-contending run oddsmakers believed it could be heading into the year, but the Memphis Grizzlies have still given their fans hope of what could be to come over the next several seasons.

Despite boasting a lowly record of 24-47, Taylor Jenkins' club has still proven to be rather entertaining to watch due, in large, to the number of diamonds in the rough-type talents that have emerged amid their hardships.

From Vince Williams Jr. and GG Jackson to Scotty Pippen Jr., the surprise contributors that have come about this season has been truly inspiring to watch and, in some instances, have even set the team up nicely when it comes to the concept of added roster depth heading into next season.

Of course, not all after effects of these breakout performers have proven to be entirely positive, as these players establishing themselves have, in some ways, hindered the upside of others found on the depth chart, with Ziaire Williams arguably being the most notably impacted individual.

Selected 10 overall back in the 2020 NBA Draft, the former Stanford standout was believed to be the long-awaited answer to Memphis' wing position and, considering his age, would serve as a key member of their core alongside the likes of Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson Jr.

Fast forward three years into his professional career, however, and we see the 22-year-old has struggled mightily to prove his worth of being viewed in such a vein and, now with the arrival of Jackson and Williams, has remained a hot talking point when it comes to trade chatter.

Recently, Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report went as far as to argue that Williams "might need a trade this offseason" to simply salvage his career, as his upside is serevely capped now with the Grizzlies.

Grizzlies are being urged to trade Ziaire Williams this coming offseason

"Injuries got in the way, though, limiting him to 37 games in 2022-23 and cutting his minutes from 21.7 to 15.4 per game. His shot abandoned him, and it didn't return in 2023-24 as he battled issues with his hip and back.

Meanwhile, this season's Grizzlies got eye-opening performances from GG Jackson, Vince Williams Jr. and a handful of other young players. Going forward, Jackson and Williams Jr. have done enough to be viewed as equally or even more valuable than Williams. Plus, the Grizzlies dealt for Marcus Smart last offseason.

None of this is to say the book is closed on Williams becoming the impact player his rookie season suggested. But Memphis has alternatives now—cheaper and/or more experienced ones.

That could mean Williams and the Grizzlies (who need to start thinking about an extension or the possibility of restricted free agency in 2025) might be best off parting ways."

Grant Hughes

This season presented Williams with perhaps his best chance of emerging as a legitimate building block with the Grizzlies, as he was tasked with taking over starting small forward duties following the departure of Dillon Brooks last summer.

While he managed to show flashes of his impressive athleticism and innate defensive abilities, as a result of both injuries and sheer inconsistencies he has failed to make the most of said opportunities, and finds himself sporting rather pedestrian averages of 8.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists on sub-par shooting splits of 39.7 percent shooting from the floor and 30.7 percent shooting from deep.

Throughout the season, it has been a buzzed about concept that the Grizzlies could look to deal their recent lottery pick to both free up roster space and, simultaneously, allow him to get a fresh new start elsewhere with a club that may be better equipped to develop him.

Hughes seems to believe this summer should be the time where he's moved.