Failed Grizzlies trade tabbed as deal that 'should have happened' in 2024 NBA Draft

The Memphis Grizzlies almost made a major move during the 2024 NBA Draft.
Dec 8, 2023; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins reacts during the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 8, 2023; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins reacts during the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

"With the ninth pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, the Memphis Grizzlies select Zach Edey, from Toronto and Purdue University."

That was the announcement heard read aloud during Wednesday's first-round festivities, but, only a few minutes beforehand, things had the potential of being a whole lot different.

During the early stages of the draft, reports started to surface stating that the Grizzlies were cooking up a deal with the Hornets to move up on the draft board to sixth overall.

The idea behind such chatter was that the franchise was significantly high on UConn center, Donovan Clingan, and swapping selections with Charlotte was believed to be the safest way to attain his services, as it was being rumored that the Portland Trail Blazers were eying him with their seventh overall selection.

While these rumblings were found popping up quite frequently for a certain amount of time on draft night, with Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer going as far as to claim both sides had agreed on a deal, ultimately negotiations fell through, which led to Charlotte selecting Tidjane Salaün at six, Clingan being snatched up by the Blazers at seven, and the Grizzlies settling for Edey at nine.

Still several months away from seeing any of these aforementioned players step foot on the NBA hardwood and contribute to their respective clubs, it's far too early to say who would have made for a better addition to this Grizzlies rotation.

That said, to Bleacher Report's Greg Swartz, the attempted swap between Memphis and Charlotte is something that he believes "should have happened" for both franchise.

Writer argues failed Grizzlies, Hornets trade 'should have happened'

On top of the fact that Clingan's play style has often been labeled as an ideal fit within Taylor Jenkins' rotation, Swartz also argued that the exchange that wasn't could have, in theory, helped the Grizzlies chip away at their inflated payroll that, as things currently stand, ranks eighth-largest in the association heading into 2024-25.

"Edey could turn out to be a solid pro if he continues to improve his outside shot, lateral mobility and other areas. However, Clingan is the better NBA prospect and should be a high-caliber rim protector immediately.

We would have liked to see the Hornets-Grizzlies deal go through, as a package of No. 9, No. 39 and Luke Kennard for No. 6 would have landed Clingan in Memphis while also getting the Grizz at least temporarily out of the luxury tax.

Charlotte still might have been able to get Tidjane Salaün at No. 9 and would have had players like Cody Williams, Matas Buzelis, Devin Carter and others on the board if not."

Greg Swartz

Despite what the naysayers may be claiming, with some such as NBA Draft analyst Kryten Peek publicly declaring the selection of Edey to be "one of the worst picks I've seen in Draft history," there is still a real possibility that Edey's addition could wind up being a great benefit to this Grizzlies team.

Measuring in at 7-foot-4, 300 pounds, the 22-year-old already thrusts himself in the league's history books as one of the biggest players to ever be in the NBA, while this stature of his could help establish him as a lethal screen setter, paint protector, and board gobbler, all of which are attributes Memphis could certainly use for heading into next season.

Along with this, Edey is a proven low-post offensive threat who just wrapped up his fourth and final season at Purdue where he led the NCAA in scoring (983 points) and set the university's all-time record for most career points (2,516).

Though he may not have the mobility and floor-spacing abilities that Clingan does, considering the successful track record the Grizzlies have had while rolling out lineups with old-school talents manning the five (Ex. Steven Adams), there's still a strong chance that the big man can establish himself as a worthy grab at ninth overall.

Regardless of this fact, however, Swartz still believes the failed swap between Memphis and Charlotte is something that "should have happened," and, from largely an entertainment standpoint, so do many of Grind City's faithful followers.