Grizzlies reporter issues surprising take on safest non-star player this summer

Indiana Pacers v Memphis Grizzlies
Indiana Pacers v Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages

Though the Memphis Grizzlies are looking to retool and restructure their talent pool ahead of what is hoped to be a much more successful 2024-25 campaign, on top of determining who on the team should be considered expendable perhaps an even more important conversation is who is safest from the chopping block.

During a recent episode of Locked on Grizzlies, host and beat reporter Damichael Cole discussed this very topic, and, unsurprisingly, mentioned the core trio of Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Desmond Bane as being clear untouchables heading into the offseason.

However, to much surprise, Cole would add one more name to this aforementioned list of "safe" players and, in his own words, "it's not who you think it is."

Derrick Rose tabbed as one of safest Grizzlies players this summer

Though many may believe young rising studs such as GG Jackson and Vince Williams Jr. should be viewed as far more valuable commodities for the Grizzlies in the long-term, considering their championship aspirations and, at least for some individuals, off-court immaturity in the now, Cole makes the claim that Rose's presence is virtually invaluable.

"Derrick Rose is that key vet, right? You may say, 'C'mon, how's Derrick Rose safe?' But, take this past season away. Do you remember last season? How there were some maturity concerns in certain ways, not even just with Ja, but some of the things the Grizzlies would say after games, before games... Grizzlies wanted to do more of what Taylor Jenkins said, more walking the walk and less talking the talk. That's kind of been an emphasis and, man, so many players, I can't emphasize this enough talking to guys in the locker room, Derrick Rose, they talk about the conversations they have with him.

Do you remember the first game in New Orleans when Ja made his season debut? Who did he walk into the arena with? It wasn't Des, it wasn't GG, it wasn't Ziaire Williams, who he's very close with. It was Derrick Rose. That was a signature moment... That relationship has developed to a point where Derrick Rose has turned into someone who, one, he could be a de facto third point guard and still play decently well, you just don't want to play him too much... I think he's pretty safe, because of his veteran standpoint. And then he's on a minimum deal. What are you realistically getting even if you move Derrick Rose? It doesn't make sense. "

Damichael Cole

Though Rose did still find himself suffering from his now-expected injury woes during his first season with the Grizzlies (played just 24 games), when on the hardwood Cole suggests he proved to be a serviceable role player who, in 16.6 minutes a night, posted averages of 8.0 points, 3.3 assists, and 1.9 rebounds while shooting 46.1 percent from the floor and 36.6 percent from distance.

The former All-Star has also grown quite a close relationship with superstar Ja Morant, as the two have formulated a well-documented off-the-court bond which, considering Rose was brought to Grind City, in large, because of his potential of serving as a mentor for the young guard, is something that's bound to make this front office happy with the current arrangement.

While it's undeniable that guys like GG Jackson and Vince Williams Jr. should be seen as the greater of talents at this point in time, the effect that the seasoned veteran has had and is expected to continue having on this team is truly exciting, which is why Cole believes him to be as close to an "untouchable" asset as a non-star player can be heading into this offseason.