The summer of 2017 will be one of the trickiest off seasons in recent Grizzlies history. With most of the budget being spent on three players and having four of our role players enter free agency, it will be difficult finding the right players for the right price. Here’s a list of five players the Grizzlies’ should highly consider pursuing.
Over his career with the Spurs, Mills has been a consistent backup point guard who can light up the scoreboard at times, even doing so against the Grizzlies in Game 5 of the first round in the playoffs, scoring 20 points in 21 minutes. In the Grizzlies’ system, he would mesh perfectly with the spacing of the second unit and could potentially be a top scoring bench player with the shooting load he would be given.
For the 2016-17 season, Mills was paid $4.3 million, a figure that will surely increase drastically. If the Grizzlies do plan on using a good portion of their small budget to go after an above average free agent, this would be the player to do it with. Mills will be a top target for many teams this offseason, and the Grizzlies should try to be one of them.
From D-League tryouts to NBA role player, Jonathon Simmons’ story is one of resilience and hard work. This is one of the many qualities he possesses that would make him be a perfect fit for Memphis. Whether it’s a chase down block or a tomahawk dunk, Simmons is able to use his athleticism to get the upper hand over opponents of any shape and size. Even though his athletic abilities are what catches the eye, he was also a very capable shooter last season, averaging 50% from the field and 38% from behind the arc.
The issue with signing Simmons is that he is a restricted free agent this summer. With the potential he has shown, his youth, and the lower price he could possible go for, there is a decent chance the Spurs would match any offer sheet thrown his way. On the other hand, the Spurs have their hands full this offseason with big names and some more of their own players on the free agent market. Regardless of how this situation goes, Simmons is currently being paid less than $700k a year for the Spurs so an offer should at least be attempted towards getting him given our tight budget.
Throughout his career, Plumlee has shown he can be, at the very least, a solid starting center. His experience with Brooklyn and Portland gave him enough experience to show his talents, but his situation in Denver has made him a great target for the Grizzlies. He is a strong defender with the ability to play in the post, roll off picks, finish alley-oops, and is a superb passer for his position on the offensive end. With these abilities, Memphis wouldn’t skip a beat when substituting in Plumlee for Gasol.
He was paid $1.6 million for the 2016-17 season and despite being a restricted free agent, there is greater chance Denver does not match the offer sheet. The risk of over paying Plumlee while Nikola Jokic is their future big man wouldn’t make much sense and Denver will more than likely be focused on making back court improvements. Depending on how the Grizzlies’ want to run Deyonta Davis next year, this would be a great sign.
With an astounding 44% from behind the arc last year, Joe Ingles has been a lethal yet hidden weapon in Utah’s system. His shooting is what stands out, but he played point forward numerous times last season, showing he could handle and distribute the ball very well given the chance. If you look at his stats don’t let the numbers fool you; he averaged a career high 7.1 points per game in 24 minutes, but for the Grizzlies he would be more of a go-to scoring option than he was with the Jazz.
His current contract had him being paid $2.15 million for the 2016-17 season. This low contract and status as a restricted free agent makes the chances of Ingles going back to the Jazz very high, but given a lot of their money will be spent trying to retain Gordon Hayward there could be an opportunity to get this steal.
Last season, Burke only averaged 5 points, 1.8 assists, and 0.8 rebounds in 12.3 minutes per game last season coming off the bench for the Wizards. He was expected to have a bigger role coming off the bench after leaving Utah, but his minutes dwindled after Washington acquired Brandon Jennings. Even though he is a restricted free agent and his offer could be matched, I doubt this would be something the Wizards would do.
Toney Douglas was signed last season before being cut in hopes of being a point guard who could shoot and run the offense or play beside Harrison/Conley. Even though that never played out, Trey is a guard who could make this idea come into fruition and do it well. During his last season in Utah, Burke came off the bench and averaged 10.6 points, 2.3 assists, and 1.8 rebounds per game. He did this while shooting 41% from the field and 34% from three, which would only increase if Randolph returns since the floor spacing will be better for him.