We don't always show love to small markets on this website, but I have to give a shoutout to what is going down right now in Memphis. All this doesn't even factor in the drafting of JJJ which this all really started, but what they've been able to do these past two years is about as perfect a rebuild as you could ask for. From solid drafting, to signing a key rotation player to reasonable extension, to today's trade, the Grizzlies are putting on a clinic on how to rebuild as a small market. You look at other small market teams around the league that have spent almost a decade trying to rebuild and the Grizzlies were able to turn things around in just two years. You add in them bringing back their vintage jerseys and they are knocking this all out of the park.
This trade is interesting for a couple reasons. First, they get a young player back in Winslow who does have injury concerns but is an interesting addition to this young core. They are also set up nicely to have cap space in 2021 which is way more attractive of a free agent class than 2020 which they pretty much just punted on, and they now have a bunch of mid level contracts they can now use in future trades. That's important because we're seeing teams either be loaded with max deals or minimum deals and when that happens it's always tough to find trades. You need mid level money contracts to really pull things off and that's what the Grizzlies now have.
To go from making the playoffs and winning 43 games in 2016, to blowing it up and starting over in 2017 winning 22 games, to showing progress last year winning 33 to being a playoff team this year all while doing it in the Western Conference. That's hard as shit to do. Personally I should hate this, considering the Grizzlies being good hurts the team I root for, but you have to give credit where credit is due. The Grizzlies went about this rebuild the old fashioned way because chances are they will never be a popular free agent destination, at least right now.
But if they continue to blossom like we've seen this season and Morant/JJJ turn into superstars, this team is going to be legit for years to come and all it took was 1 down year. That's impressive no matter how you want to slice it.