Greed is good.
If Anthony Davis is indeed intent on getting the heck out of town, it’s up to David Griffin to build a solid foundation of assets around Zion Williamson and Jrue Holiday that can contribute both now and in the future.
True, a pairing of Zion and Davis may be worth risking until the trade deadline, but the Pelicans risk losing out on the best package possible — especially if he were to sustain a significant injury.
Griffin can chase high upside young veterans on rookie deals like Jayson Tatum and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, or he can deal Davis for draft capital in the form of the presumed Knicks selection of RJ Barrett, and the Lakers anticipated pick, say Jarrett Culver or De’Andre Hunter.
Or, maybe he can get gluttonous and increase the asking price for one Ja Morant.
Source: Barring the unexpected, Memphis Grizzlies front office and ownership appear to have locked in on selecting Ja Morant with the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, and are informing parties in Chicago of such. That clears the way for R.J. Barrett to fall to the Knicks at #3.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 15, 2019
In this scenario, the Pelicans would use the Knicks and/or Lakers as a conduit to provide them with the player they value above any that either team has current access to on their roster and in their drafting position.
The Grizzlies have no need for Anthony Davis given their current timeline, but could they be encouraged to move their second selection in a three-team deal to the benefit of the Pelicans?
How highly do the Grizzlies value Morant and could he be moved in the right deal?
The Memphis Grizzlies have placed an extremely high value on Ja Morant. This can be concluded based on logic and recent reports. The logic begins with Morant himself. An extremely talented guard coming off a historic season at Murray State, Morant is viewed as a potential star. His decision-making, explosiveness, and athleticism give him an extremely high ceiling, which is very valuable in a league becoming more guard oriented by the year. Furthermore, Morant’s elite passing ability would make any NBA team’s offense significantly better as a whole. For a franchise that has been one of the worst offenses in the league for over a decade, Morant would be a huge step in the right direction as the Grizzlies rebuild.
The recent reports that the Grizzlies have “focused in” on Morant less than 48 hours after the lottery is significant. Memphis’s new front office has been very tight-lipped regarding their coaching search. With Morant, they have acted in a completely different manner, making it crystal clear publicly who they prefer with the second pick. To be able to pair Ja Morant with Jaren Jackson Jr. for the foreseeable future is an extremely fortunate turn of events. As a result, while Memphis certainly should keep an open mind with potential trade offers, it will take an absolute haul for them to the give up the right to draft Morant.
Do the Lakers have enough to make that deal? What would it take?
While it would be extremely hard to pry Morant from the Grizzlies, the Los Angeles Lakers certainly have the capability. The concept as to ‘why’ is simple. Memphis’s current roster certainly has a need to gain as many assets as possible, and that becomes even more true with the good chance Mike Conley is traded this summer. The Lakers have good young talent, and also are just two picks behind the Grizzlies at pick four.
On today's pod, @kevinarnovitz and I discussed the Lakers among AD trade destinations. Forgot to bring up the notion that NOP would refuse to deal w/ LA, though the in-depth Lakers discussion sort of implies my take on the situation. I also wrote this in my lottery recap column: pic.twitter.com/ViHxxKK4JK— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) May 17, 2019
Just last year, we saw the Atlanta Hawks trade the rights to Luka Doncic for Trae Young and a future first. The Grizzlies certainly could make that same move with their second pick. If Memphis views Darius Garland as being close in future value to Morant, they could trade back to four, pick Garland, and gain a future first or young player, such as Brandon Ingram. Another avenue could be that if the Grizzlies have a high opinion of Lonzo Ball, they could take him and the number four pick or a future first as well. While Memphis may need to add a bit on their end to compete a deal, in either case, the Grizzlies get a point guard for the future, as well as another young building block.
As can be seen, it is very logical that the Lakers could offer enough to get Morant.
Do the Knicks have enough to make that deal? What would it take?
I could take a lot of my perspective about the Lakers scenario and apply it to the idea of the Knicks trading up for Morant. With the Grizzlies needing as many assets as possible, the Knicks have the ability to offer a package that makes sense for Memphis. Furthermore, since they are further from contention that the Lakers, and also offer the chance for the Grizzlies to draft RJ Barrett, they are a more attractive trading partner.
Simply put, the Grizzlies need a young, talented guard for their future with Conley potentially being traded. The Knicks have young point guards Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina on their roster. If New York were to offer one of those two, the Grizzlies would have to consider its options. Personally, if the Knicks offered DSJ and the third pick, the Grizzlies should immediately accept.
Dennis Smith Jr is unreal man...... pic.twitter.com/zdZdm5HHjN— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) May 14, 2019
In the more realistic scenario of offering Ntilikina and the third pick, the Grizzlies would be right to consider, but could easily pass. The third pick this year and a future draft pick also could entice the Grizzlies, depending on how heavily protected the pick might be.
So, there you have it!
If Griffin does indeed move on from Anthony Davis, could he force the Lakers and Knicks to acquire Morant as collateral? Should he place as much value on Morant as many of us do here at The Bird Writes? Chances are that he has the ammunition and the willing partners to attempt to grab the second overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft. If so, imagine...
SEVEN COST-CONTROLLED SEASONS OF ZION AND MORANT?!
Think it could happen? Comment below, and big thanks once again to Shawn Coleman.
Let’s geaux, Pels!