Grizzlies urged to make medium-risk, high-reward $14.8 million decision this summer

Dec 31, 2023; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) reacts toward Memphis
Dec 31, 2023; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) reacts toward Memphis / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

2023-24 was a season marred by injuries for the Memphis Grizzlies, as they would go on to see a record-setting number of players suit up in the navy, blue, and gold threads as a result of this lackluster health.

Heading into next year's campaign, the hope is that the ball club can put these woes behind them and, in turn, get back to their title-hungry ways with a full strength core of Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson Jr. leading the charge.

Of course, over the next several months, the front office will have to make some notable decisions regarding the state of their polarizing roster, as they not only have to take player health into account but, also, financial impacts as well.

In a recent prediction piece penned by Bleacher Report, writer Zach Buckley discussed the concept of the Grizzlies striking on a move that deals with both of these aforementioned dilemmas and would go on to surprisingly urge the team to pick up the fourth-year option of frequently hobbled sniper, Luke Kennard.

Memphis Grizzlies urged to pick up Luke Kennard's 2024-25 team option

"...his knee trouble could give them pause about picking up his $14.8 million team option. That's a hefty amount for a potentially unreliable role player, and that's before addressing the possibility of that deal sending Memphis into the luxury tax.

And yet, that's still probably a price the Grizzlies would pay, since he's such an obvious on-paper fit for this roster. Memphis, which just shot an atrocious 34.6 percent outside (29th), needs to maximize its spacing around a hopefully healthy Ja Morant. Keeping Kennard, a career 43.9 percent sharpshooter, is the simplest way to make that happen."

Zach Buckley

Throughout his seven-year NBA career, Kennard has established himself as one of the best long-range shooters in the entire league and, frankly, of all time. His 43.9 clip throughout his professional tenure is rivaled by few others, while his 48.3 three-point shooting percentage since joining the Grizzlies mid-way through 2022-23 has been a true blessing for the club when on the floor.

Of course, this latter part is why some are hesitant to see Memphis pick up his fourth and final year under contract, as he has had issues with his availability since landing in Grind City.

This past season, Kennard was limited to just 39 games played due to nagging lower body injuries, particularly his knees.

The season before wasn't much better, of course, as he saw just 59 games of action, which was partially a result of his mid-season trade to Memphis but also because of other leg ailments.

Still, the modern day game is heavily influenced by long-range shooting, and, when on the floor this season Kennard once again served as one of the league's finest marksmen, as he cashed in on 45.0 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc, ranking second-best behind only Phoenix's Grayson Allen.

Having his expertise running alongside Morant, Bane, and Jackson has proven to have magnificent impacts on the club's overall successes, and keeping him in tow could prove to be well worth it both from a game-play and, simply, familiarity standpoint.

However, being the Grizzlies currently have the seventh-highest payroll heading into next year and are teetering awfully close to the luxury tax, even with his coveted skill set taking, on his $14.8 million price tag could come with some rather negative repercussions.

Unfortunately for Zach Kleiman and company, there doesn't appear to be an easy and clear cut choice for them to make when it comes to Kennard's player option, though Buckley believes the best move to make would be to commit to at least one more year of his services.