Predicted $14.7 million decision could lead Grizzlies to more enviable tax situation

The Memphis Grizzlies find themselves pressed right against the luxury tax, but how they approach a particular $14.7 million predicament could lead them to a more enviable situation.
Memphis Grizzlies v Philadelphia 76ers
Memphis Grizzlies v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

Though restocking their big man supply may be considered task number one of the 2024 NBA Offseason for the Memphis Grizzlies, trailing right behind it is deciding on what to do with Luke Kennard and his team option for next year's campaign.

As things currently stand, the ball club approaches next year attached to a team salary cap that registers at roughly $175 million, the eighth-largest in the entire association. With this figure, they fall dangerously close to surpassing the first tax apron that's set at $178,655,000 for 2024-25.

Considering they're already expected to add on even more financial commitments with how they approach the upcoming NBA Draft and the rookie salaries that come with it, many have discussed the idea of the Grizzlies turning down Kennard's $14.7 million option in an effort to shed coin.

In a recent piece penned by Bleacher Report's Greg Swartz, Memphis is predicted to do exactly this, only with a bit of a twist attached to things.

Grizzlies predicted to turn down Luke Kennard option, only to re-sign him

Considering the Grizzlies just finished out the 2023-24 campaign as the worst scoring team and second-worst long-range shooting team, Swartz believes there may be some hesitance for the front office to completely wipe their hands clean of Kennard's services this summer, even if it means creating more cap flexibility in the process.

Because of this, he is projecting that, instead, Zach Kleiman and company will, in fact, turn down his final season under his current contract, only to then re-sign him to a more team-friendly deal.

"The Grizzlies will decline Kennard's team option with the understanding that both sides will agree to a new multi-year deal starting at a smaller number.

Kennard getting a three-year, $30 million contract would give him more than $15 million in new money while also getting the Grizzlies close to ducking under the tax line."

Greg Swartz

As Swartz acknowledged in his piece, Kennard is without question one of the best long-range marksmen the league has to offer and trailed only Grayson Allen this past season in three-point percentage while boasting a clip of 45.0 percent.

Unfortunately, these attributes were not regularly found gracing the hardwood for the Grizzlies over the past year, as he was sidelined for 43 games during the campaign due to injuries.

Nevertheless, since making his way over to Grind City back in February of 2023, Kennard has proven to be a tremendous contributor within coach Taylor Jenkins' rotation as well as while running alongside the likes of Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson Jr., and has averages of 11.1 points, 3.0 assists, and 3.0 rebounds on 48.3 percent shooting from distance to show for it.

Swartz is far from the first person to advocate for the renewal of the wing's talents on a more cost-efficient deal rather than a removal of him altogether and, until both sides come to a decision on the matter, he likely won't be the last.