Earning a place in the NBA playoffs was an outstanding effort from a Memphis Grizzlies team that were undermanned and written off all season. In fact, their dramatic win over the Golden State Warriors could be the reason they are considered as postseason candidates next year.
The Grizzlies have a startlingly talented young core who proved a lot of critics wrong behind Ja Morant's immense offensive displays. Their front office has retooled the roster with shrewd trade acquisitions and by finding value in the NBA draft. They are a team that will grind until the final whistle and have a two-way anchor in Jonas Valancuinas at center.
However, there are always ways to improve a team and in this article, we will examine three players who could depart the Memphis Grizzlies this summer to make way for other talent.
3 players the Memphis Grizzlies could move on in their offseason trading
Not many predicted the Memphis Grizzlies to go into the Chase Center and defeat the Golden State Warriors to advance to the playoffs. Morant and co. will hope they have now set the record straight and should be considered playoff hopefuls for years to come.
Despite the established nature of the team - 13 players are under contract through next season - they need one or two more scorers to make them contenders in the postseason rather than a team there to make up the numbers. These three squad members could be used to do just that.
#3 Jaren Jackson Jr.
It's fair to say Jaren Jackson Jr.'s season with the Memphis Grizzlies has been turbulent. The side were reported to be frustrated by his injury history, having not played in more than 60 games in any of his three years with the team.
Nevertheless, he has shown glimpses of why they drafted him fourth overall in 2018 and he played in all five of their playoff games against the Utah Jazz. The highlight of which came in game four when Jackson put up 21 points and six rebounds.
Jackson's ceiling of potential is high and he could be a cornerstone of the Memphis Grizzlies' future. He is eligible for a rookie contract extension in the summer, though the organization's hierarchy will have to consider how they see his future unfolding before making any decisions.
Jackson has already proven himself to be a top-level two-way talent, but with his injury history the Grizzlies could be reluctant to give up a large sum to him in a new deal.
#2 Justice Winslow
The Memphis Grizzlies face an intriguing decision in the offseason when they evaluate the future of Justice Winslow. Should they pick up his $13m team option on the final year of his contract, they will be an over-the-cap team this summer. Decline it, and they could open up $22m worth of cap space. That is a huge sum of money and certainly worth investing in a player worth more than Winslow.
Brought into the side in February 2020, Winslow has made just 26 appearances for the Grizzlies after struggling with injuries this year. While he is still young - 25 - and could return to the form shown in Miami, Winslow's contract seems unappealing from the Memphis standpoint. They already have two readymade starters in the frontcourt and would likely not like to pay north of $10m for a player to come off the bench and average 6.8 points.
#1 Tyus Jones
As a small-market side, the Memphis Grizzlies will need to be careful in how they go about their business in the offseason. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't at least try to cobble together a trade package to bring in a consistent scorer. The Grizzlies have a number of pieces they can brand together, including backup point guard Tyus Jones, who is on an expiring contract.
Jones averaged 6.3 points and 3.7 assists off the bench this year as Ja Morant's replacement and shot at 43% from the field. However, they are not exactly numbers that will jump off the page and the Grizzlies will certainly feel they can find more value for money on the market than the $8.3m he is set to earn.
Not only that, but Morant's importance to the franchise is only going to increase, and with that his minutes. Memphis may want to find out what they can gain in return for Jones prior to losing him for free next year.