No matter what happens to the Memphis Grizzlies the remainder of this season, it remains apparent that the team needs to acquire help on the wing moving forward. Ever since offloading the then-Mr. Inefficient, Rudy Gay, Memphis has struggled with consistent production from that area.
Tayshaun Prince is signed to a contract well beyond his ability to produce and was supposed to be a comparable fill on the wing and antithesis to Gay. Prince’s reputation as a defender has largely been exaggerated with a career defensive rating of 107. His offense hasn’t been much to speak of, especially this season at just six points per game on 40 percent shooting.
The Grizzlies are strapped a bit financially moving forward, especially if Zach Randolph opts in to the $16.5 million owed to him next season. Still, it’s imperative for the Grizzlies to at least try to make a move that improves production on the wing. Prince will be on an expiring deal next season so if they can convince a team to take him in a trade, then maybe they can pull something for one of these players to get an upgrade.
Luol Deng: A two-way player that fits their needs fairly well but not their wallet. The price tag on Deng is likely to be somewhere between $10 million-$12 million as an unrestricted free agent, which is a tough pill to swallow. But for a team like the Grizzlies who feel they are close to being legit contenders, Deng would help a great deal. He has a reliable mid-range jumper and is a decent passer who could play well off of two dominate bigs like Memphis have. The Grizzlies would have to completely sell out and get creative financially to find a way to lure Deng to Memphis.
Gordon Hayward: There will no shortage of suitors for Hayward despite a less than efficient year shooting wise. He has youth on his side and tons of skill that would translate well in the Memphis system. He would give the team another play maker which would be huge for Mike Conley’s developing offense. Salary would have to be cleared for Memphis to make a qualifying offer of any sort unless they could convince Utah to do a sign-and-trade. That’s not happening, but again a creative mind maybe getting a third team involved could potentially net the Grizzlies this promising swingman.
Lance Stephenson: “Born Ready” is set to get paid big this summer and should be highly sought after by teams without delusions of LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony. After posting career-highs across the board, one of the most appealing things about Stephenson is his ability to pass (4.5 assists this season). It would remain to be seen if his sometimes flashy style of ball would be appealing to the bland style of the Grizzlies. Then again the Indiana Pacers aren’t exactly a model of fun and excitement either, so it could work.
Trevor Ariza: Contract year Ariza has traditionally been a productive Ariza. So teams looking to bring him in need to be wary of the situation. We have seen this style before. Nevertheless he has been great for the playoff-bound Washington Wizards and figures to get a nice contract over the summer. His ability to shoot the 3 (41 percent) is an attractive compliment to the post-heavy offense of the Grizzlies and makes him an option worth exploring.
Brandon Rush: He could be a sneaky signing for a team looking for solid production from the wing position. Taking into consideration that he will be a full season removed and hopefully recovered from a torn ACL injury, Rush should come at a bargain price. He’s a guy who should be looking to prove himself after a wash off a season in Utah. A solid career shooter from 3 at 40 percent, Rush makes sense for the Grizzlies, especially if they lose Mike Miller, whose contract is up.
Tags: Memphis Grizzlies