Grade the Trade: Grizzlies pair Ja Morant with Donovan Mitchell in wild mock deal

Apr 10, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) celebrates after
Apr 10, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) celebrates after / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
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Laying out the trade

Over the last several years, the Memphis Grizzlies have amassed quite a substantial amount of draft selections, some that have already translated into promising young prospects while others have yet to be cashed in on.

Buckley seems to believe that it may be time for them to finally use their deep war chest of assets and, in his latest piece, laid out the groundwork for what could be a blockbuster trade to swipe Donovan Mitchell away from the Cavaliers.

Donovan Mitchell trade (B/R)

Though the Grizzlies have already accomplished quite a bit with Desmond Bane serving as the primary backcourt running mate alongside Ja Morant -- accomplishments including three postseason berths, two consecutive Southwest Division titles and, in 2022, a Western Conference Semifinals trip -- Buckley is seemingly under the impression that the club could still be convinced to level up their guard arsenal.

A trade for Mitchell would provide the superstar floor general with undoubtedly the best teammate from an established talent perspective he's ever had during his five-year NBA tenure, and Buckley argues that this sentiment would work both ways.

"A healthy Ja Morant might be the best sidekick whom Mitchell has had to date. Those two prolific, turbo-charged guards could put immense pressure on opposing defenses. While neither is exactly a shutdown stopper, they'd have sufficient protection around them in two recent Defensive Player of the Year winners, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Marcus Smart."

Zach Buckley

Though recent rumblings suggest Mitchell is feared to be a flight risk as he inches closer to his current contract's conclusion, the Cavaliers are unlikely to part ways with their franchise cornerstone for anything less than a eye-popping offer.

A five-time All-Star and an established All-NBA talent, the 27-year-old is in the prime of his career and is currently guiding his Cavs through the early stages of the 2024 playoffs after helping them clinch the Eastern Conference's sixth seed while posting tremendous averages of 26.6 points, 6.1 assists, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.8 steals on 46.2 percent shooting from the floor and 36.8 percent shooting from deep along the way.

Should the Grizzlies be hell-bent on trying to add a guy like Mitchell to their team, this proposed trade likely would be enough to push Cleveland GM Mike Gansey to pull the trigger, as Buckley explains that "Cleveland could remain plenty competitive with Bane in Mitchell's place" while simultaneously adding "multiple picks to either keep and develop or flip in separate deals to cover up weak spots elsewhere."

Of course, though such a trade could happen, does that mean that it necessarily should?