Latest trade idea lands Grizzlies new 'dynamic wing' at expense of rising young duo

Philadelphia 76ers v Memphis Grizzlies
Philadelphia 76ers v Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages

2023-24 may have been a season in which the Memphis Grizzlies registered their first sub-30 win record (27-55) since 2017-18 and endured a slew of hardships ranging from off-court dilemmas to serious injury problems, but this is not to say the ball club will look back on the campaign as a complete and utter bust.

Though they did fall short of the playoffs for the first time in four years, with their lack of meaningful games coach Taylor Jenkins was able to hone in on developing some of the team's younger talents who, in years past, likely would have received little to no action.

With these meaningful in-game minutes shelled out, numerous diamonds in the rough managed to emerge, with easily the two biggest success stories being forwards GG Jackson and Vince Williams Jr. who, with their play, found themselves earning long-term, standard contracts with the franchise.

While both have received ample praise for their high-upside abilities, with some referring to Jackson as "the best-looking prospect" Memphis has seen since Ja Morant, some still believe that the Grizzlies should be strongly considering adding on yet another tweener forward to their talent pool.

Recently, Dan Favale of Bleacher Report went as far as to make the case that the team should be open to trading for a new talent to log minutes at the three spot and proposed the idea of pursuing Atlanta Hawks veteran De'Andre Hunter as an option.

De'Andre Hunter tabbed as possible trade target for Memphis Grizzlies

Citing both Jackson and Williams' lack of experience seeing meaningful action in a lineup consisting of win-now talents in Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Marcus Smart -- the former saw "exactly zero minutes" with said unit while the latter saw a total of just 23 possessions, per the B/R writer's findings -- Favale believes the title-hopeful Grizzlies may want to play it safe and add a more established talent in at the always vital wing spot.

In this case, Hunter is viewed as an intriguing talent to consider.

"Even with the emergence of GG and Williams, though, Memphis needs more dynamic wing play—preferably from someone in the 6'7" to 6'9" range.

De'Andre Hunter looked like #thatplayer this season. He trimmed mid-rangers from his shot diet while increasing his frequency from behind the rainbow, where he drilled 38.5 percent of his attempts. His defense doesn't always have the presence of someone standing 6'8", but he is another body who can be rolled out against power wings."

Dan Favale

Despite Atlanta's struggles this year, Hunter finds himself coming off perhaps the best season of his already impressive five-year career.

In 57 games played, the 26-year-old posted averages of 15.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.5 assists while shooting 45.9 percent from the floor and 38.5 percent from distance.

Though such a hypothetical move does sound quite splashy from an on-paper standpoint, as Hunter's proven capable of being a highly serviceable contributor serving as both a starter and reserve and sports ample playoff experience, attaining his services comes with some significant drawbacks.

As noted by Favale himself, "Cost will be a barrier for entry" when it comes to this trade idea, as the Grizzlies already sport the seventh-highest payroll heading into next season, meaning that adding the forward's $21.6 million salary into the fold, as well as his remaining total of about $70 million over the next three years, would severely handicap their expenses and flexibility moving forward.

On top of this, the Hawks themselves are rather limited in the wing department, thus suggesting it would almost certainly cost Memphis a pretty penny to convince GM Landry Fields to part ways with his primary three.

Add all this to the fact that both Jackson and Williams are younger (19 and 23, respectively), are owed far less money, and have the promise of developing into sound wing options themselves with continued development and there seems to be no true reason why the Grizzlies should remotely consider adding on the likes of Hunter.

His arrival in Grind City would almost certainly come at the expense of this aforementioned duo and, in turn, such a move should be avoided at all costs.