Grizzlies land high-risk, high-reward center in latest blockbuster trade idea

New York Knicks v Memphis Grizzlies
New York Knicks v Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages

The Memphis Grizzlies are a team in search of a long-term solution to their center position.

Following the mid-season departures of both Steven Adams and Xavier Tillman, the club's current depth down at the pivot is rather bleak, and, as hinted at by GM Zach Kleiman, one of their main objectives this summer will be to look into adding a "more traditional or true big" to their rotation for next season.

Recently, Chris Herring of ESPN believes to have come up with a way for the Grizzlies to accomplish this aforementioned goal via a trade with the New York Knicks, as he proposed a simple swap exchange that would net the franchise the board-gobbling, shot-swatting savant, Mitchell Robinson.

Mitchell Robinson/ Luke Kennard

Grizzlies trade for Mitchell Robinson in recent ESPN trade idea

Citing Memphis' recent successful seasons that were heavily predicated on their ability to rebound (ranked fourth, first, and sixth in offensive-rebound percentage from 2020-2023, respectively) and defend the rim, Herring seems convinced that taking a swing on a talent like Robinson could be a win-now move well worth considering this summer.

"He's one of the league's premier offensive-rebounding bigs, having finished second in the league in offensive-rebound rate in 2021-22 and first in 2022-23. (He would have finished second in percentage this season, but with just 31 games played, he didn't qualify for the league's statistical leaderboard.)... acquiring a boardsman and lob threat like Robinson would be a solid step toward building the Grizzlies back into what they were before last season's injury-marred mess."

Chris Herring

Robinson is a player we at BSB have previously tabbed as an intriguing offseason target for this Grizzlies team to pursue in the past, going as far as to say that inquiring about his availability should be seen as a "must-do" for the front office, and, with his career averages of 16.1 points, 16.0 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks per 100 possessions and offensive rebounding percentage of 18.0 over the last three seasons, it's hard to argue he wouldn't be an ideal fit with this team when healthy.

The only issue, however, is that his health has been a major concern since coming into the league back in 2018.

Throughout his six years playing with the Knicks, the big man has seen 60 or more games played in a season just three times and has seen a total of 31 games played in a season twice.

This past campaign, he missed 51 regular season games due, in large, to a left ankle injury that required surgery. He would go on to sustain a stress injury on this same ankle during New York's two-round playoff excursion, which held him out for their final six games en route to a 4-3 series defeat against the Indiana Pacers.

As any Grizzlies fan will likely attest, injuries by far played the biggest role in the club's lackluster 27-55 finish in 2023-24 and, thus, likely would make them hesitant to see the franchise bring on someone as fragile as Robinson has proven to be over the years.

That said, considering his particular skill-set coupled with his prime age of 26, there are many arguments to be made that he fits the exact mold of player that Memphis should be looking for to man their starting center position moving forward.

With this proposal, Herring has constructed a high-risk, high-reward hypothetical that, at its best, could have them inch as close as they've been in years to contending for a championship or, at its worst, have the franchise and its faithful followers suffer from PTSD following the season that just concluded.

There's a real damned if you do, damned if you don't feeling about this polarizing trade idea.