What Role Players Would Round Out the Grizzlies’ Roster?


Championship windows close fast in the NBA.

As rosters are constructed through free agency, the draft, and through trades, its imperative franchises move with a sense of urgency. In a year where the Western Conference still remains wide open, the time might be now for Memphis to make a trade and separate itself from the pack.

Small market teams have to walk their own path to the Larry O’Brien trophy. Like it or not, free agency becomes a bit more difficult to navigate because of two things: payroll and location. They don’t have the money to sign star players, and quite frankly players don’t want to play in some of these cities.

For their part, Memphis has handled their finances beautifully. They also draft impeccably well. Of the 17 guys on the roster, 14 were drafted by Memphis. They may as well have written the book on developing quality players at this point.

With an excess of assets and a full roster, it’s time for Zach Kleiman to explore their final outlet: trades.

What Do the Grizzlies Need?

Not much.

This team is just one role player away from separating themselves from the rest of the Western Conference.

There won’t be any ‘stars’ on this list or someone who will command a big payday. The extensions of Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. must be considered, and Desmond Bane is due to get paid soon as well.

So, no one making more than $18 million this season. Bojan Bogdanovic fits with this team like glove, but not really sure he needs to be making the third most on this team next season. And as much as I love OG Anunoby, I’m not inclined to sell the farm for him.

So who’s off the table for Memphis?

No trading starters. No trading Tyus Jones or Brandon Clarke either. The players on this list can all be acquired without sacrificing guys one through seven.

The remainder of the bench is fair game. The Grizzlies are in desperate need of consistent offensive production without sacrificing anything on defense and should examine everyone left on their roster as they begin packaging together trades.

Kleiman should be pursuing a bucket on offense, capable of locking guys down on defense, that isn’t making more than say $18 million a year.

Now, did that just describe Danny Green?

Maybe, but he’s not played meaningful basketball in almost 8 months. I am fully ready to eat crow should Green return and start contributing in this capacity. For the time being, however, it’s worth exploring options.

Though not considered the flashiest targets, the following players are possibly attainable for cheap. All four can also realistically move the needle for Memphis.

*all trades confirmed via*

Malik Beasley

The Trade: Memphis receives Malik Beasley – Utah receives Danny Green, Jake LaRavia, 2024 1st Round Pick (from GS)

The Jazz are in a unique situation. They currently sit at tenth in the West with a 19-21 record, and they’ve lost five in a row. Dangerously close to falling out of the play-in game, one has to wonder if Danny Ainge is getting close to ‘fire sale’ mode in Utah.

With all the talk of Jordan Clarkson, the Jazz player that fits best with this team in terms of fit/age is Malik Beasley.

His per game averages this season are currently 14.2 points, 1.6 assists, and 3.7 rebounds in 26.9 minutes. What really stands out—and what Memphis desperately need off the bench—is his three point shooting.

Beasley is averaging 8.6 three pointers a game. For comparison, the most attempts from anyone on Memphis’ bench rotation is 3.9. He’s also making his threes at a 37.4% clip.

This is exactly the type of player Memphis needs on their bench, and when you look at what it would it cost to get Beasley, the Grizzlies should definitely consider acquiring the 26 year old.

The package can basically be viewed as two firsts and a salary dump. Ainge can get draft capital as well as a high ceiling player in LaRavia, who also adds to Utah’s three point shooting.

Should Beasley be added to this unit, the Grizzlies would absolutely be one of those teams to avoid in the playoffs.

Isaiah Hartenstein

The Trade: Memphis receives Isiaah Hartenstein – New York receives Xavier Tillman, Jake LaRavia, 2023 2nd Round Pick (from MIN)

As of now, Steven Adams is the only true big on the roster.

The Knicks, meanwhile, have three on the roster after converting Jericho Sims‘ contract from a two-way to a three year deal with the team. Clearly big fans of Sims, it seems like he fits more of what they are wanting to do scheme-wise with Mitchell Robinson more so than Isaiah Hartenstein.

So why would New York not try and move their third big who is on a moveable, team-friendly deal? Especially if it meant they could get more three point production in the process (NY currently ranks 25th in 3pt %).

That’s the basis of this package.

Ship off LaRavia and Tillman, both players who are capable of knocking down threes. Tillman has the added benefit of being able to be a small ball big for the Knicks if they need him to be.

Throw in a second round pick to make NY feel better for losing a player they recently signed, and they should jump on the deal.

For the Grizzlies, Hartenstein has the potential to really open up the bench. It gives Memphis a true center on the second unit. Brandon Clarke would be free to roam the court a bit more and focus on scoring, not just rebounding.

It’s not exactly in the same vein of the other players on this list, but this trade would help optimize what the Grizzlies currently have in the second unit.

Cam Reddish

The Trade: Memphis receives Cam Reddish – New York receives Danny Green, 2024 1st Round Pick

It’s no secret that the aforementioned Knicks are looking to move on from former lottery pick Cam Reddish.

Reddish has also made no secret of how he feels about certain players in Memphis.

This is more of low risk, high reward trade. Jettisoning Green’s contract, along with one of the many draft picks at Memphis’ disposal, should be enough to entice New York.

Now have Reddish’s numbers dropped since he was traded to the Knicks? Sure, but if Reddish is able to get back to the form he had in Atlanta he would fit seamlessly on this team.

In the four years he suited up with the Hawks he never finished a season averaging less than 10.1 points, 1.0 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game.

There’s a chance that Memphis could be the place that Cam wants to play for the first time, as well. If the Grizzlies can finally get the optimal version of Reddish, they would be wise to make this deal happen.

Gary Trent Jr.

The Trade: Memphis receives Gary Trent Jr – Raptors receive Danny Green, John Konchar, Jake LaRavia, 2024 1st Round Pick (from GS)

The Raptors are currently sitting at 12th in the East at 16-22. As such, much that was said above about the Jazz can be echoed for Toronto.

Between Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet, and Gary Trent Jr., there are some players that could make a difference for a number of squads.

This season, Trent Jr. is averaging 18.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.6 steals per game on 44.3/35.8/80.4 shooting splits. Memphis could desperately use that kind of shooting.

One sadly relevant thing—Memphis is still dead last in free throw percentage in the league. If they can get someone who is making 80.4% of their free throws it would be huge for this team.

The package Memphis can assemble to try and acquire Trent Jr. is similar to the deal above for Beasley: a salary dump, a young player, and a draft pick.

However, the Grizzlies will have to add a bit more to the deal in order to match salaries. This is where fans lose perennial Memphis favorite John Konchar.

Simply put, his December left a lot to be desired. In the 14 games Memphis played last month, Konchar only had double figures in two of the games, and he attempted two or fewer threes in six of the games.

The Grizzlies would absolutely love to see more production from this spot on the bench. If it basically boils down to a Konchar, Trent Jr. swap? Memphis would be crazy not to do it.

An eight man playoff rotation of Morant, Bane, Jackson Jr., Brooks, Adams, Jones, Clarke and Trent Jr. with Aldama, Roddy and Williams peppered in there? That’s a squad no on would want to see in the postseason.

Do These Players Move the Needle?

Short answer: yes.

The Grizzlies have done a superb job of building out this roster as is. They’ve drafted and developed their players to build a team around their Big Three in a way that would make most teams envious. This is a team very close to nabbing their first championship.

Championships are won with role players, though. If Memphis is able to trade for one, the Larry O’Brian trophy may make its way to Beale St. come season’s end.


Check out the first of our Grizz Moves series by Luke Hatmaker (@luketeno), Deck the Halls with Memphis Draft Picks. And be sure to check out the Grizz 901 Podcast, where the Grizz Lead guys get on to discuss the most recent games and much, much more!

About Luke Hatmaker

Luke is based out of Nashville, TN where he lives with his cat, Dr. Alan Grant. In addition to contributing to Grizz Lead, he is one of the hosts of the No Bluffin' Podcast for the Grizz 901 Podcast Network and is also a cast member the RPG Radio Show Podcast.

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