The Grizzlies are at something of a crossroads this offseason. While the deals were seen as minor, in dealing Courtney Lee and Jeff Green for primarily draft pick considerations (Lance Stephenson was acquired to make the money work), it begged the question: are the Grizzlies planting the seeds to launch into a rebuild if the playoffs are not fruitful?
With that, what Grizzlies may be available this summer?
Mike Conley: Regardless of what you think of Mike Conley, one thing is true: if the Nets believed Lionel Hollins was not the coach going forward, that he had a relationship with Conley was not a reason to keep him. It’s time for culture change in Brooklyn, and part of culture change is creating a culture where all players are appreciated, but also evaluated, scrutinized, and judged by management. No player can be bigger than the franchise. The Nets made those mistakes with Deron Williams. And it’s time to stop making them. Beyond that, Conley is the classic “simultaneously overrated and underrated” player. On one hand, his strong impact defensively, managing the offense, and as a leader does not reflect itself statistically, leading to some underrating him by lazily citing counting stats. On the other hand, his attackers breed counters, and overcompensation to make their points in opposition, which leads to some overrating. What Conley is, is a very good, not great, point guard. The worry: he’s about to get paid like a great point guard, and may sleep from very good to good, or perhaps above average, on his next contract. Is that worth it for Brooklyn?
JayMychal Green: Green is a raw, undrafted power forward, so is perhaps similar to Chris McCullough. However, that means he fits the profile of the type of piece the Nets need to pursue. Green has had several recent productive games, and plays with energy and passion. The Grizzlies are unlikely, however, to decline his $980,000 team option.
P.J. Hairston: Hairston is a second year player who the Hornets gave up on, and who the Grizzlies are giving a chance to prove he is an NBA player. Hairston has talent. He is also obtainable, as he does not figure to be a Memphis priority this summer. As a young player who has not had much of a chance, and who may be eminently available, Hairston fits the profile of a Nets free agency target.
Matt Barnes: For a contender, Matt Barnes is the type of attitude and defense you want on your bench, in many ways. During a rebuild, he is not the type of veteran you want around your young players.
Mario Chalmers: Chalmers is a decent role playing guard, marginally better than what the Nets already have at point guard, but not moving the needle. The Nets simply do not need more fringe reserve guards. In Chalmers’ case particularly, he is eight years into his career, and the Nets need to look at, outside of stars and legit starters, young players with potential upside, rather than known role players. Those come closer to contention.
Vince Carter: Carter is extremely popular among Nets fans for obvious reasons. He was fantastic for the Nets during 2004-2009, and is still one of the league’s hugest names. However, he offers little at this point, as a basketball player. Carter could be a great veteran leader off the Nets bench, but beyond that, provides little value at this point. The Grizzlies have a $4.3 million team option that seems smart to decline.
Lance Stephenson: Stephenson has talent, but he flamed out of Indiana, Charlotte, and Los Angeles, despite playing with and playing under some extremely strong leaders. He is thriving early in Memphis, but will it last? For a Nets team trying to teach young players a culture of hard work and character, Stephenson is a bad fit. He is the type of talent you can try to import into an established culture and see if it works; not the type of talent you add when trying to build a culture from the ground up. The Grizzlies have a $9.4 million team option.
Chris Andersen: Andersen has little left in his basketball tank. And, like Stephenson, he is not the type of player you want to bring in when trying to develop a culture from the ground floor.
Jarrett Jack for Brandan Wright: There is not much for the Nets to work with here. However, if the Grizzlies do decide to retool or rebuild, they may not want Wright signed through 2018. This feels unlikely because Wright is signed to a reasonable contract, but perhaps Memphis looks to ditch some long term payroll. This deal would have to occur in June so the Grizzlies could then decline Jack’s option for next year.