Despite having a roster consisting mostly of young players, the Memphis Grizzlies have managed to remain competitive in the 2019-20 NBA season, currently sitting in the No. 8 spot in the deep Western Conference with a 17-22 record. However, though they continue to show improvements with their performance on both ends of the floor, the Grizzlies are still expected to be active sellers before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. As of now, one of the likely trade candidates in Memphis is veteran small forward Jae Crowder.
According to Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report, the Grizzlies may consider engaging in a trade deal with the Western Conference No. 1 seed Los Angeles Lakers involving Crowder. In the proposed trade deal, the Grizzlies would be sending Crowder to the Lakers in exchange for Kyle Kuzma and Avery Bradley. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
If the trade becomes a reality, it would help both the Grizzlies and the Lakers fill the needs to improve on their rosters. Crowder may not be the player (Andre Iguodala) that the Lakers are looking to acquire from Memphis, but Bailey believes that his potential arrival in Los Angeles would make the Purple-and-Gold a more competitive team in the Western Conference this season.
“Crowder would signal L.A. doubling down on the defense-first nature of LeBron and AD’s supporting cast. He can guard pretty much anywhere on the floor and could spare either of the stars by spending time on the opposition’s top forward. On the other end, he’s shown a bit more playmaking this season, averaging a career-high 3.0 assists. But his three-point percentage is a dismal 32.4 over the last three seasons. There is at least some value in the 5.6 attempts, though.”
Though Crowder is playing a major role with their recent on-court success, the suggested trade is a no-brainer for the Grizzlies. Instead of taking the risk of losing Crowder in the 2020 NBA free agency without getting anything in return, the potential deal would enable the Grizzlies to turn his expiring contract into a young and promising talent in Kuzma and a defensive-minded veteran in Bradley.
Kuzma would be an incredible acquisition for the Grizzlies, especially now that they are currently in the middle of a rebuilding process. At 24, Kuzma perfectly fits the timeline of Grizzlies’ franchise cornerstones Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. The Grizzlies won’t miss Crowder much since they would be also receiving Bradley. Aside from being a lockdown defender, Bradley would also provide a veteran presence in the Grizzlies’ locker room for the rest of the 2019-20 NBA season.