Wild trade idea would see Grizzlies swap Desmond Bane for high-motor, All-NBA wing

The Memphis Grizzlies are being urged to ponder on the idea of swapping out Desmond Bane for an established All-Star wing.
Dec 1, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA;  Memphis Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane (22) reacts during the second half against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 1, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane (22) reacts during the second half against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

With a healthy core of Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Desmond Bane leading the charge, the Memphis Grizzlies have proven themselves to be one of the top teams in the Western Conference standings.

Before the injury bug chomped its way through all of these aforementioned players and, frankly, the team as a whole, Memphis had found itself embarking on three-straight playoff excursions, had been crowned Southwest Division Champions twice, and, in total since 2020-21, sported a stellar regular season record of 145-91.

However, despite all of these accomplishments and successes, the farthest Taylor Jenkins' club has gotten was to Game 6 of the 2022 Western Conference Semifinals, and, most recently, they missed the postseason entirely after putting up a putrid record of 27-55.

With their gap year coupled with the emergence and continued development of youth-filled title contenders such as the Minnesota Timberwolves and the reigning top-seed Oklahoma City Thunder, one could make the case that this once promising Grizzlies team has fallen a bit behind in the race to be crowned kings of the west.

Though many are stressing patience out in Grind City, as their foundation has the makings and proven track record of being an elite squad in the conference, Bleacher Report's Greg Swartz recently suggested that striking a blockbuster deal for the likes of Miami Heat centerpiece Jimmy Butler could be a way for them to solidify their status as a "powerhouse," even if it means parting ways with Bane in the process.

Idea of Grizzlies trading Desmond Bane for Jimmy Butler proposed

While discussing "surprise landing spots" for seven of the league's most rumored trade targets this offseason, Butler, who The Ringer's Howard Beck feels will end up being moved, was seen linked to the Grizzlies by Favale, as he believes his pairing next to Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. "would certainly make a statement."

"A deal based around Desmond Bane seems like the most likely outcome. Losing Butler hurts, although it gives the Heat a new 26-and-under core of Bane, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Nikola Jović to build around without worrying about an extension for Butler.

Memphis would then move forward with Butler as a secondary scoring option to Morant and still have Jackson, Marcus Smart, GG Jackson, Brandon Clarke, Luke Kennard (team option), Vince Williams Jr. and others on the roster.

This would be an incredibly tough group overall with an extra fear factor added in with Butler, making the Grizzlies a team no one would want to face in their presumed return to the postseason."

Greg Swartz

Coming off his 13 season in the association, Butler found himself once again putting forth sensational all-around efforts, as he finished the campaign sporting impressive all-around averages of 20.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.3 steals while shooting a highly efficient 49.9 percent from the floor and a career-high 41.4 percent from distance.

Throughout his career, the veteran has established himself as one of the best two-way wings the game has to offer, and has accumulated six All-Star nods, five All-NBA selection, and five All-Defensive team honors in the process.

He's also proven to have a motor that is rivaled by few others in the association, as he's guided several overlooked ball clubs on deep postseason runs, most notably during the 2022-23 season where Butler brought the eighth-seeded Miami Heat to the NBA Finals, making them just the second team in league history of such a rank to reach a championship round.

Without question, the wing is a player who could help strengthen virtually any team's title odds, and, according to recent rumblings, his services could realistically find themselves up for grabs on the trade market.

However, would he be worth it for a team like the Grizzlies to take a shot on, especially if it means coughing up their budding star Bane?

Though he may not have the accolades and established star pedigree that Butler does, there are a ton of reasons why a swap of the two should give Memphis serious pause.

For starters, Bane is still just 26 years old, is coming off a career year (23.7 points, 5.5 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 1.1 steals), and is under team control through 2028-29 after agreeing to terms on a five-year, $197 million contract extension last offseason.

Butler, meanwhile, is eight years his senior (34) and is entering into the second-to-last year of his current deal (three years, $146 million) that holds a team option for the 2025-26 season.

While the star guard is certainly one of the best talents in the association, during his professional tenure he has shown a willingness to jump ship with all the stops he's made along the way (we all remember what happened in Chicago, Philadelphia, and, of course, Minnesota, right?!), and, based on recent rumblings, he could be adding another example of this to the books with his questionable standing with Miami.

With this in mind, though an argument could be made that a swap of these two players could make Memphis more of a contender in the immediate future, they realistically could run a serious risk of capping their championship window to only a season or two, whereas holding onto Bane could leave it open for far longer.

On top of all this, Butler has an extensive track record of dealing with nagging injuries over the course of his career, as he's played in over 67 games in a season just twice while, on the flip side, has played in less than 60 five times.

Why would the injury-ravaged Grizzlies want to trade away an entering-his-prime two-guard who has an already established rapport with fellow cornerstones Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. in exchange for an oft-hobbled star who, though admittedly still playing at a high level, is at the tail end of his prime and, based on history concerning people of his age, is on the verge of decline?

Answer: They wouldn't, which is likely why Swartz tabbed Grind City as a "surprise" landing spot for him this offseason in the first place.

Not only would the surprise be a trade of this kind being made at all, but Memphis' interest in partaking in it.