The teams out West are adding more and more players. The Memphis Grizzlies want in on the deal, showing interest in Luol Deng of the Miami Heat and Jeff Green of the Boston Celtics, hoping to add a quality small forward to the mix to bolster their offense.
The Grizzlies have been hovering near the top of the West all season long, but need something that’s better than Tayshaun Prince or Tony Allen offensively as the both of them often make it a four-on-five situation when they’re with the ball. The problem is what they’re capable of offering.
Right now, it seems that Prince with his $7.7 million expiring contract and some draft picks, but nothing too impressive. Unless a team is tanking and simply wants to dump some salaries or get rid of players, it’s not that enticing.
Luol Deng has been OK in Miami, nothing more. He’s averaging 14.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game while shooting an impressive 50.6% from the field and 36.3% from beyond the arc while for the first time in his career playing what one might call limited minutes, spending 32.2 minutes a night on the floor, well below his career average and especially the numbers he had in recent years.
Deng fits well with what the Grizzlies have in mind – someone who can be a spot up shooter, generate some offense on his own and is a quality defender who shouldn’t find it too difficult to fit in with Conley, Gasol and Allen among others. His contract is worth $19.9 million for two seasons. It works. But have the Heat already given up on the season to a point where Deng is expendable? That’s not so certain.
In Boston it feels like everyone is available for trade, even after Rajon Rondo got dealt to the Dallas Mavericks. Jeff Green comes at around the same price, with a player option he isn’t likely to give up on next season. Green is probably better offensively than Deng right now, averaging 17.6 points per game this season while shooting 45.2% from the field. But he’s also a lot more inconsistent, isn’t as good of a defender and has already spoken about being too keen on getting traded, despite the Celtics not really thinking about him as a vital piece for the future.