$14.7 million decision could lead Grizzlies to full-out migraine this summer

Memphis Grizzlies v Chicago Bulls
Memphis Grizzlies v Chicago Bulls / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

Despite their severe shortcoming in 2023-24, one mustn't forget that when healthy it is widely accepted that this Memphis Grizzlies team is a legitimate threat to contend for the league's Larry O'Brien Trophy.

From star players like Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. to steady role players like Vince Williams Jr., at full strength coach Taylor Jenkins has quite an assortment of talent at his disposal.

Unfortunately, said assortment may come across a rather noteworthy shakeup this summer, as the franchise will have a major rotational decision to make regarding one of their primary contributing specialists.

Heading into the offseason, veteran sniper Luke Kennard finds himself attached to a $14.7 million team option for the 2024-25 season. To many, the decision may be rather simple, as long-range shooting is the name of the modern game and his proven expertise in this department is something that cannot be overstated.

Of course, when it comes to his contract predicament, a multitude of factors must be taken into account.

Grizzlies have a major decision to make with Luke Kennard's option

One of the best shooters the NBA currently has to offer, Kennard boasts a career 43.9 long-range shooting clip and is coming off a campaign where he cashed in on 45.0 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc, ranking second-best behind only Phoenix's Grayson Allen.

It's evident that Kennard has a significant impact on the Grizzlies when found suiting up, as he led the team in offensive rating out of those who logged over 700 minutes played. The problem is, however, he was severely limited this past season due to nagging knee issues, as he was held to just 39 games played.

With all the injuries Memphis endured this past year, the franchise may have a bit of injury-induced PTSD and, in turn, could fear the guard's leg ailments are a sign of long-term issues.

As a result, they may opt to look past his positive contributions and decline the fourth and final year of his deal, sending him into the open waters of NBA free agency.

Now, the main positive of such a move would be that the tax-pushing Grizzlies would shed significant coin from their payroll, allowing them to avoid the consequences of exceeding the league's $165,294,000 limit.

In turn, they would approach this offseason with a bit more flexibility, as they could use this cleared-out space to spend in free agency or navigate the upcoming draft worry-free regarding their selections.

On the flip side, however, by opting out of Kennard's final year, Memphis would be parting ways with far and away their best three-point shooting threat, as only three other full-time players converted at a long-range rate of 36 percent or better this past year while the team as a whole ranked second-worst in shooting from distance with an average clip of just 34.6 percent.

Though some may wish to paint Kennard's current contract situation as being an easy decision for the Grizzlies to make, this is far from being the case. Over the next month and change, GM Zach Kleiman must think long and hard about what his course of action will be before coming to a final resolution by the June 29 deadline.