FTF Memphis Grizzlies - 2019 Free Agency

Welcome back to another edition of Flip This Franchise!

With the moratorium period wrapping up, the Grizzlies added two major pieces to the future development of the franchise by locking up Jimmy Butler and Demarcus Cousins on 4 year deals each worth $134M. With 4 out of our 5 starters above an 80 OVR plus a solid young core coming off the bench, highlighted by our 5th overall pick Cam Reddish, Memphis will hope to flip the script in the 2019-20 season. Before free agency begins, let’s take a look at the updated depth chart post-moratorium period. 

Pre-FA Depth Chart

PG: N/A

SG: Caris LeVert (81 OVR, age 24)

SF: Jimmy Butler (89 OVR, age 29), Cam Reddish (78 OVR, age 19)

PF: Jaren Jackson Jr. (81 OVR, age 19), Ivan Rabb (76 OVR, age 22), P.J. Washington (72 OVR, age 20)

C: Demarcus Cousins (89 OVR, age 28) Mitchell Robinson (77 OVR, age 21)

Taking a look at this depth chart, the major gaping hole is in the backcourt, with LeVert being the lone guard in the line-up. With that said, finding guards will be the main emphasis in free agency, along with filling in other smaller spots with the best available players. Using that philosophy, the Grizzlies decided to sign the following players. Each acquisition includes my reasoning for the move.

Free Agent Signings

Elfrid Payton, PG (77 OVR, age 25) 2 YEARS/$18M

Payton becomes an instant starter on a relatively cheap two-year deal. As a 77 OVR player at 25 years old, Payton’s value is only projected to grow and provides great value at the defensive end (B Perimeter D) as well as a playmaker (A- PLMK). With already four solid scoring options in the starting line-up, adding a playmaker at the PG position was a huge priority. 

Shake Milton, SG (77 OVR, age 22) 2 YEARS/$16M

Milton not only is a 77 OVR at just 22, but he also is an offensive weapon with great all-around scoring ability (B- INS, B MID, A+ 3PT). Not to mention, Milton is a versatile player and can be used at either guard position. With his potential, it was hard not to lock him up on another relatively cheap two-year deal.

Avery Bradley, SG (76 OVR, age 29) 1 YEAR/$4.8M

Bradley provided great help for the Grizzlies in the 2018-19 season and has proven to be one of the premiere defensive players in the NBA throughout his career. We are also looking to use Bradley to help mentor Milton on the defensive side of the ball. 

C.J. Miles, SF (75 OVR, age 32) 1 YEAR/$8.7M

Miles accepted the deal as a result of the player-option he had for the 2019-20 season and is a player that the Grizzlies will be looking to deal in exchange for draft picks/cap space before the start of the season. 

Thabo Sefolosha, SF (75 OVR, age 35) 1 YEAR/$3M

Sefolosha is another player who has proven to be a premiere defensive threat throughout his NBA career. If you can’t tell already, the Grizzlies are going with the motto that “Defense wins championships” and Sefolosha helps do just that. However, do not expect him to see significant minutes. 

Raul Neto, PG (73 OVR, age 27) 1 YEAR/$1.5M

As a result of the Miles signing, the Grizzlies had no choice but to bring a PG in on the veteran minimum, as previous potential options such as Jeremy Lin and Tomas Satoransky decided to look elsewhere. The only positive on the Neto signing is that he knows the playbook after being with the team last year. Even with this signing, expect the Grizzlies to trade for a backup PG before the season starts.

Kyle O’Quinn, C (72 OVR, age 30) 1 YEAR/$1.5M

O’Quinn comes in as the Grizzlies’ third and oldest center on the team, with Robinson and Cousins in front of him in the line-up. Don’t expect to see any minutes for O’Quinn, unless Cousins’s prior injuries become a problem. If so, O’Quinn has the experience to provide above-average backup minutes.

After our free agent signings, Memphis’s depth chart now looks like this.

Current Depth Chart:

PG: Elfrid Payton (77 OVR, age 25), Raul Neto (73 OVR, age 27)

SG: Caris LeVert (81 OVR, age 24), Shake Milton (77 OVR, age 22), Avery Bradley (76 OVR, age 29)

SF: Jimmy Butler (89 OVR, age 29), Cam Reddish (78 OVR, age 19), C.J. Miles (75 OVR, age 32), Thabo Sefolosha (75 OVR, age 35)

PF: Jaren Jackson Jr. (81 OVR, age 19), Ivan Rabb (76 OVR, age 22), P.J. Washington (72 OVR, age 20)

C: Demarcus Cousins (89 OVR, age 28) Mitchell Robinson (77 OVR, age 21), Kyle O’Quinn (72 OVR, age 30)

Stay tuned for the next segment of Flip This Franchise to see what moves the Grizzlies make to finalize the roster before the start of the 2019-20 regular season. Would love to hear some FTF fans’ thoughts on free agency as well as who the Grizzlies should try and trade for at PG! Tweet me your opinions @christhorkilsen

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