Since first becoming a staple of trade rumors last month, San Antonio Spurs shooting guard DeMar DeRozan has been linked to various teams around the NBA, with reports suggesting that the Spurs should kick off their rebuilding process by shipping him and veteran big man LaMarcus Aldridge to another organization. The Memphis Grizzlies have not been mentioned as one of DeRozan’s most likely destinations, but a new report suggests that trading for him might be a good way to speed up the team’s own rebuild.
In a list of midseason trade suggestions for all 30 teams in the NBA, Bleacher Report recommended a deal that would allow the Grizzlies to land DeRozan in exchange for two of their key players — center Jonas Valanciunas and forward Jae Crowder. According to the publication’s Andy Bailey, such a move would allow Memphis to start promising big men Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke, both of whom are part of the team’s young core, along with rookie point guard Ja Morant. He added that Valanciunas wouldn’t be difficult to trade due to his contract, which would pay him only a combined $29 million in the two seasons after 2019-20.
“[C]learing any long-term money gives Memphis more flexibility,” Bailey added. “And it might even make them more of a candidate to take on other teams’ bad contracts when combined with draft assets.”
Talking about how DeRozan could benefit the Grizzlies, Bailey wrote that his status as a four-time All-Star and one of the best scorers in the league should help “put fans in the seats” while Memphis’ young players continue to develop and “work through their growing pains.” Currently, DeRozan is averaging a team-leading 21.4 points, along with 5.6 rebounds, and 4.8 assists for the Spurs, whose 9-15 record puts them at 12th in the Western Conference, per Basketball-Reference.
Although it’s not clear whether the Grizzlies are actually interested in acquiring DeRozan, they aren’t the only dark horse team that has been mentioned in recent days as a potential destination for the high-scoring guard. As reported on Thursday by The Inquisitr, the Atlanta Hawks were suggested this week as one of DeRozan’s possible landing spots, mainly due to their lack of scoring options behind budding stars Trae Young and John Collins.
As for San Antonio, Bailey noted that moving DeRozan to Memphis would give the team’s younger guards, including Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, and Lonnie Walker, more playing time and more chances to develop their games and improve their chemistry on the floor. The Bleacher Report writer also described the Spurs as a team that’s determined to maintain its “old-school” style of play, which would make Valanciunas an ideal — and fairly affordable — fit as a center who plays close to the basket.
Summing things up, Bailey predicted that a Spurs starting lineup with Valanciunas, Aldridge, Crowder, and two of the aforementioned young guards might be good enough to help the team return to playoff contention.