All the talk this season is about the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference, but it is time to start paying attention to the Memphis Grizzlies. They are the second youngest team in the NBA, but the Grizzlies are extremely good and look like a group of multi-year veterans.
At 22-14 on the season, the Grizzlies are currently the 4-seed in the Western Conference and this is just the beginning for them. They may only have three players on their roster with at least six years of NBA experience, but this team is growing and getting better every single time they take the floor.
Led by third-year guard Ja Morant, Memphis has balance at every position, have multiple double-digit scorers on their roster and are currently inside the Top-12 for both offensive and defensive rating in the league.
After making the playoffs a season ago as the 8-seed and losing to the Utah Jazz in the first-round, the Grizzlies have high playoff aspirations this season and they could very well end up being a team that advances past the first-round this season.
So what is next for Memphis and what are they missing to really become a championship-level team?
Jaren Jackson Jr., Dillon Brooks, Desmond Bane and Kyle Anderson make up a strong secondary core around Ja Morant, but this team is lacking that second star-level player next to Morant right now. Maybe Jackson Jr. or Brooks could develop into this kind of player in time, but going out and possibly adding an All-Star at the trade deadline could be the difference in the Grizzlies becoming a real championship-level threat in the Western Conference.
Finding a trade for him could be difficult given his current situation, but the Grizzlies should be monitoring Brandon Ingram’s availability at the trade deadline this season.
The Pelicans are currently 13-22 and showing no signs of improvement, Ingram could request a trade should he feel like this team is not going anywhere. He is under contract long-term and does not have to worry about getting paid, which is why the 24-year-old forward could be a sneaky player to be on the move soon.
Can Memphis make a trade for Brandon Ingram work? Let’s take a look at what the Memphis Grizzlies could offer the New Orleans Pelicans for their All-Star.
Memphis Grizzlies Receive: F Brandon Ingram, C Jaxson Hayes
New Orleans Pelicans Receive: F Dillon Brooks, F Kyle Anderson, G De’Anthony Melton, UTA 2022 1st Round Pick (Top-6 Protected, via MEM), MEM 2023 1st Round Pick (Swap, More Favorable to NOP)
Because of how much he makes and because of the fact that he is the New Orleans Pelicans’ best talent, the Memphis Grizzlies are going to have to be alright with the idea of trading away some of their core talents for Brandon Ingram.
Dillon Brooks has been a key part of Memphis’ success through the years and they have been unwilling to trade him, but he would almost definitely have to be on the move to acquire Ingram because of his contract and because of his talent.
While they are just $1.6M over the salary cap this season and have plenty of room until they reach the tax line, Memphis would need to try and match Brandon Ingram’s contract as best as they can.
Kyle Anderson and De’Anthony Melton’s contracts add up to about $18.7M combined and while Memphis could send out an extra $5.7M in contracts to make this deal work, the Pelicans are going to want Brooks to replace Ingram on the wing.