Even with their surprise play of late, at 16-27 on the year and with their ownership of the 13-seed in the Western Conference standings, it's very likely that the Memphis Grizzlies will be prioritizing preparations for their future campaigns rather than putting in efforts to contend for their fourth-consecutive playoff berth during this second-half stretch of 2023-24.
That said, assuming they do punt on their postseason aspirations, this does not guarantee that GM Zach Kleiman will remain dormant during this year's trade season.
Should the Grizzlies opt to be active ahead of the February 8 deadline, odds are they'll be looking to offload some of their lesser-valued assets in exchange for more future-oriented commodities such as draft capital.
Stud players & prospects the Grizzlies could trade for ahead of deadline
However, in the event that they wish to spice things up a bit, there are still ways for the franchise to start prepping for the future while also acquiring current or developing studs in the process.
Looking across the league there are many intriguing players the Grizzlies should be interested in pursuing, with three, in particular, that could be beneficial adds both for the remainder of this season as well as for the next several to come.
3. Jonathan Kuminga
Easily the biggest weakness within this Grizzlies rotation, whether healthy or not, has been their wing position. Following the departure of Dillon Brooks this past summer, the ball club has been struggling to find any semblance of an answer for their grueling vacancy at the starting three.
Though still considered a project player in the league, adding Jonathan Kuminga's potential as a two-way small forward is something that should be highly appealing to Memphis as a possible solution and, rumor has it, the Warriors are open to parting ways with him.
Since reports surfaced back in early January that the former lottery pick "has lost faith" in the team's ability to develop him, Kuminga's name has been found circulating within the trade rumor mill.
Frankly, in a veteran-forward rotation such as the one coach Steve Kerr rolls with, it's easy to see why the 21-year-old has grown salty toward the franchise.
Comparatively, on a far more youth and developmental-oriented team like the Grizzlies, the former G-League Ignite standout would see a much easier time coming across consistent playing time and, in turn, could feel a sense of confidence from his coaching staff.
Despite his highly inconsistent role, now in year three with Golden State, Kuminga is still boasting solid averages of 13.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the field.
In the hypothetical scenario where he's acquired by the Grizzlies, the remainder of the campaign could be used as an in-season training and "get to know you" phase.
Signed through 2024-25, with a team option of about $7.6 million, the organization would not only be attaining his upside for a multi-year trial run but would also be acquiring his bird rights as well, making the process of re-upping with him during the 2025 free agency period much simpler.
In theory, the concept of taking a swing at the estranged Kuminga seems to be well worth trying out for the wing-needy Grizzlies. The only question is, how much would the Warriors want in exchange for his services?