It’s still early in the NBA season, but the Memphis Grizzlies haven’t looked like the playoff team they were last year.
Through 16 games, the Grizzlies find themselves with a record of 7-9 and would be just outside of the Western Conference playoff picture if the season ended today.
The season doesn’t end today, of course, but the Grizzlies still have their work cut out for them if they want to start competing for a postseason berth once again.
However, if the team continues to struggle, the front office might decide to go in a completely different direction and start selling off some assets, including star point guard Mike Conley.
There should be a sizable market for the talented guard, who is currently averaging 17.1 points and 4.1 assists per night. Though he’s out with an Achilles injury at the moment, he should be back in a couple of weeks.
If the Grizzlies are even further down the standings when he returns, here are three teams that could be interested in making a blockbuster trade:
New Orleans Pelicans
On a recent episode of “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” host Bill Simmons and guest Joe House discussed how devastating Conley and big man Anthony Davis could be in a pick-and-roll game.
Davis has never played with a point guard like Conley, even though Jrue Holiday has been serviceable the past couple of seasons.
It would be tough for the Pelicans to make this deal work after signing Holiday to a lengthy extension this offseason, but if they could find a way, it could really help Davis’s career.
Los Angeles Clippers
Much like above, Conley would thrive playing with a player of Blake Griffin’s caliber, and the Clippers have the piece needed to make the trade happen in center DeAndre Jordan.
Yes, Jordan’s contract is expensive, but so is Conley’s, and Conley’s contract has two more years on it than Jordan’s.
If the Grizzlies decide to rebuild, a trade with the Clippers (who might also be able to take on Chandler Parsons’ bad contract) would help them accelerate that process.
That way, the Clippers could avoid a rebuild while they still have Griffin, and the Grizzlies could cut their rebuilding time in half by getting out from under Conley’s big contract.
San Antonio Spurs
Patty Mills and Dejounte Murray have been handling the point guard duties for the Spurs this year, but neither of them have been doing a particularly great job, even as the Spurs have continued to find success.
Tony Parker will eventually return from a serious injury, but even when he comes back, he’s getting up there in age and is nearing the end of his career.
Therefore, making a splashy trade for a point guard like Conley, who could then pair up with superstar forward Kawhi Leonard and big man LaMarcus Aldridge, might be just what the Spurs need to keep their streak of incredible seasons going.