Grizzlies trade idea swaps Luke Kennard for recent lottery-selected wing

Brooklyn Nets v Memphis Grizzlies
Brooklyn Nets v Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages

Though we may be a month past the NBA trade deadline, this hasn't seemed to stop people from discussing the "what could have been" scenarios, and, to Bleacher Report's Zach Buckley, the belief is that the Memphis Grizzlies may be kicking themselves for not making one particular move.

Prior to the February 8 cutoff, GM Zach Kleiman made it clear that the ball club was looking to play the role of sellers, as they opted to part ways with several players to clear cap space, add more future-oriented draft capital, and free up some roster spots.

In reality, the biggest move made by the team was the blockbuster trade that sent Steven Adams to the Houston Rockets but, in the eyes of Buckley, Memphis probably should have offloaded veteran Luke Kennard as well, as he recently constructed a hypothetical trade scenario that he believes Memphis "wishes" they could still make.

Grizzlies trade idea flips Luke Kennard for package with Jett Howard

Luke Kennard, Magic trade

Citing their current lottery-bound status despite boasting a rather lofty payroll that is projected to rank eighth-highest in the association come next season, Hughes argues that parting ways with Kennard's remaining salary (earns an average of $14 million) and swapping him for a more diverse and higher-upside string of talents could be an intriguing scenario for the Grizzlies.

"He is an elite long-range shooter (career 43.9 percent), but he's also a 27-year-old specialist. That description hardly feels off-limits with a .339 winning percentage that will likely worsen given Memphis' myriad injury problems.

That's especially true if a shooting-starved squad like the Magic was willing to give up real assets to get him. That'd be the case here. Howard was last year's 11th overall pick largely on the strength of his outside shooting, so Memphis could conceivably wind up with a younger, cheaper version of Kennard. Plus, the Grizzlies would gain a future second and the option of keeping Ingles ($11 million team option), who could be helpful to have when this roster is healthy and ready to compete again."

Zach Buckley

Though this move would not aid much in winning ways during these final games in 2023-24, Buckley's philosophy behind his proposal is more geared toward better equipping the Grizzlies for next season where, with Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Marcus Smart all expected to be healthy, they'll be looking to get back into the championship contender conversation.

Kennard is certainly someone who could still provide positive contributions to a championship-hungry team, as he boasts impressive career averages of 10.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.0 assists on 44.0 percent shooting from deep.

On top of this, as of late, he's been playing lights-out basketball, as he's averaging 12.8 points, 2.9 assists, and 2.0 rebounds on an electric 51.8 percent shooting clip from deep over his last 10 outings, thus strengthening his care to remain in tow heading into next season.

That said, swapping him out for a package headlined by a 20-year-old recent lottery pick who is projected to be a knock-down sniper from deep (shot 36.8 percent from long-range during his lone season at Michigan) while cutting down on the payroll and deepening their depth chart in the process is certainly an entertaining thought.

Though the Grizzlies may not be able to make such a move at this point in time, perhaps they may look to make a similar deal come the offseason.