Memphis Grizzlies trade rumors: On the playoff fringe, could any big moves happen?

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The Grizzlies could keep, buy or change strategies and sell. Either way, another deal is possible for Memphis.

The Memphis Grizzlies entered the season with high expectations, but injuries and poor performances have left the team in a precarious position entering the trade deadline. On the cusp of a playoff appearance after a hot few weeks, it's hard to say where the Grizzlies go next.

Do they try to get healthy, add another piece and hope to make one more run with the current core? Or do they accept that a title isn't possible and cut the cord, looking to possibly deal their most expendable veterans? The Grizzlies' front office has a tough situation to parse through this week.

Buy or sell?

This is the simplest question that needs to be answered: Are the Grizzlies a buyer or a seller?

Bookmark This

Every other decision Memphis makes in the coming days stems from that initial decision. For now, the Grizzlies appear to be buyers. If they continue to believe the past few weeks of strong play aren't a fluke, we'll hear Memphis in the mix for upgrades at small forward or on the bench.

Tayshaun Prince has been a disaster this season, shooting 39 percent from the field while looking like a shell of his old self on the defensive end. At age 33, he appeared to already be nearing the end of his career, but the Grizzlies are playing him nearly 27 minutes a night. Even a guy like Mike Dunleavy would be a huge upgrade there.

On the other hand, the Grizzlies looked pretty terrible without Marc Gasol earlier this season, and the Western Conference is as strong as it's been in a while. Maybe the best move for Memphis is to try to sell off guys like Prince, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen, retooling the roster for sustainable success in the future.

Z-Bo on the go?

Regardless of the Grizzlies' direction, expect some teams to try to pry Randolph before the deadline. Even on the downswing of his career, he remains a quality power forward and a guy who's historically stepped up his game in the postseason.

Assuming Gasol and Mike Conley are untouchable, Z-Bo will be the guy on Memphis that other teams want.

With a hefty $16.5 million player option for next season, Randolph won't come cheap, but few players on the market are this good. He's averaging 17.5 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game this season, his best per-game numbers in three years.

A week ago, it was reported that the Suns inquired on Randolph and were rebuffed by the Grizzlies, so he may not end up being available. Still, he's talented, a deal makes some sense, and that means we'll hear more rumors about Randolph before Feb. 20.

Replacing the Prince

We mentioned this before, but Prince has been bad this season. Like really, genuinely terrible. Among guys averaging 20-plus minutes per game, nobody has a lower true shooting percentage than Prince.

His shot chart looks like this:


Meanwhile, Prince can't create his own shot, and his assist rate is the lowest it's ever been. Unless Prince is getting a layup or an open three from the right corner, he is your offense's worst nightmare. He's also a declining defender and a weak rebounder for his position.

So, if you were wondering where the Grizzlies would look for help, this is the spot. Big man depth might be nice, and another guard who could handle the ball and score would be delightful, but taking those 27 minutes Prince plays every night and handing them to someone else would likely do wonders for this team.

Who might be a possible fit here? The aforementioned Dunleavy is one possibility, and veterans like Danny Granger, Caron Butler, Martell Webster and Richard Jefferson could also be available. There should be plenty of options if Memphis wants an upgrade. It wouldn't be hard.


Get news, links and Ziller's #hottakes in your inbox every weekday morning.

More from SB Nation NBA:

Ziller: The best (and worst) of NBA All-Star Weekend

Flannery: Kobe Bryant faces his basketball mortality

Kyrie named MVP, Melo breaks records as East beats West

Sunday Shootaround: A new age of stars in the NBA

Ranking all 21 jams from the Slam Dunk Contest | All-Star Saturday night

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.