HomeBasketball TodayThe Jaw-Dropping Blunder: Grizzlies' Epic Fumble at the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline!

The Jaw-Dropping Blunder: Grizzlies’ Epic Fumble at the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline!

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The Grizzlies may have jumped the gun when they decided to trade away Steven Adams before the deadline.

The 2023-24 season has long been a lost one for the Memphis Grizzlies. In the middle of the season, it seemed as though they had a puncher’s chance of climbing the Western Conference standings amid Ja Morant’s return, but that return to the hardwood was short-lived as Morant had to undergo season-ending surgery to repair his injured shoulder.

With Morant gone, the Grizzlies were already on shaky ground. But compounding matters for them were injuries to Desmond Bane and Marcus Smart, gutting the team even further and dooming them to a terrible finish a year after they claimed the second spot in the conference.

The Grizzlies are certainly hopeful of turning things around quickly when their core players return to action next season, especially when not too long has passed since they were one of the best teams in the West. Their moves at the deadline certainly weren’t that of a team that was on the precipice of a teardown.

However, one move in particular could end up being costly, especially when this player has proven to be an instrumental part of the team’s identity over the past two years. This is the Grizzlies’ biggest mistake at the 2024 NBA trade deadline.

Grizzlies’ biggest mistake at 2024 NBA trade deadline: Trading away Steven Adams for three second-round picks

It has been a while since Steven Adams has played an NBA game. His last day as an active member of the Grizzlies roster came on January 22, 2023. Since then, Adams has been on the mend, dealing with a sprained PCL on his knee that failed to get better via rest, forcing him to get surgery which has caused him to miss the entirety of the 2023-24 season.

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Adams certainly wasn’t coming back anytime soon, but it wasn’t as if the Grizzlies needed his contributions immediately. With nothing to play for but a more favorable position in the draft lottery (as well as to build winning habits for the team’s youngsters), Adams could have been around the locker room as a positive influence.

Instead, the Grizzlies traded him away for Victor Oladipo and three second-round picks just to clean their books for the next few years. That doesn’t seem to be the best use of Steven Adams’ contract.

After all, Adams, who is set to make $12.5 million next season, could have been a useful salary filler in a bigger trade that could have netted the Grizzlies an impact player. Instead, as things stand, even without Adams’ contract on the books, Memphis will be over the salary cap anyway. Sure, they would have had a huge luxury tax bill, but surely a salary dump trade involving Adams’ expiring deal would have been on the table regardless of whether they delayed a trade until the offseason.

By the offseason, there could be players that become available for trade; perhaps the Chicago Bulls, after being a middling team for so long, finally decide to trade away Nikola Vucevic. Steven Adams’ contract could have made them legitimate contenders for such a trade without having to involve Brandon Clarke or Luke Kennard.

Adams has also been a huge part of the Grizzlies’ DNA of toughness over the past few seasons. His rugged screen-setting frees up Ja Morant and Desmond Bane to do their thing on the perimeter, while his indefatigable rebounding prowess allows Jaren Jackson Jr. to play a more finesse style, not to mention it also allows Jackson to roam around as more of a free safety to anchor the Grizzlies’ defense.

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It’s no coincidence that the Grizzlies’ downfall began when Steven Adams went down with injury in January 2023. Adams was sorely missed when Memphis took on the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

At the very least, the Grizzlies’ other moves at the trade deadline can be looked at as solid moves that could help for next season. Lamar Stevens, the player they got for Xavier Tillman Sr., looks like a rotation player. Ditto for Yuta Watanabe. David Roddy was also getting lost in the shuffle, so it was a win for the Grizzlies not to fall into the trap of the sunk cost fallacy and hold onto Roddy when there was an offer on the table for him.

But it’s clear that Steven Adams will be missed by the Grizzlies organization. Perhaps this is a bet that Adams won’t be able to return to his pre-injury form, especially when he would have missed 21 months of action once he returns in October 2024. Nonetheless, trading away Adams for this return certainly looks like jumping the gun for the Grizzlies.

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