NBA Trade Rumors: Sam Young Easier for Memphis Grizzlies to Move Than O.J. Mayo

Tom Firme@TFirmeAnalyst IIMarch 8, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 25: Head coach Lionel Hollins  of the Memphis Grizzlies gives instructions to Sam Young #4 during a game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on March 25, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Grizzlies 99-96. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

A great deal of trade talk has surrounded O.J. Mayo. The Memphis Grizzlies have discussed the possibility of trading him several times. However, no deals have gone through for the Grizzlies involving Mayo. The Grizzlies might be better able to move another guard with an expiring contract, Sam Young.

Sam Young wouldn't get the Grizzlies much in return, but he'd be one to move for salary cap considerations. The Commercial Appeal mentioned Young as a possible trade candidate because he has an expiring contract.

However, Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace downplayed the idea of trading Young. Wallace said:

I'm a little reluctant to trade any of these guys because I'm not sure if we'll need them in the second half of the season. Now if a deal comes through that helps put us in a better situation for the stretch run or the future, you have to take a look at it.

One would wonder why Wallace wouldn't want to trade Young. The 26-year-old guard has only played 19 games due to ankle and back injuries. He's only averaging 3.7 points and 1.8 rebounds in 11.1 minutes per game.

Young would serve the Grizzlies much better in a trade than if they keep him. His injuries have prevented him from being much of a factor this season. Young makes $947,800 this season.

While that doesn't seem like much, packaging his contract would help the Grizzlies avoid paying the luxury tax. According to, the Grizzlies are $1.438 million above the luxury tax threshold. Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley said he doesn't want to pay the tax.


Young's contract wouldn't cover that difference, but since the Grizzlies received a $1.1 million injury exception due to Darrell Arthur's Achilles injury, the Grizzlies can just make a trade to close the gap. Trading Young for a draft pick could do just that.

This could be easier than trading Mayo to clear cap space. Despite all the trade scenarios since last year involving Mayo, the Grizzlies haven't found any offers they liked. This could be because the Grizzlies value Mayo very highly. Heisley said he really likes Mayo's talent and doesn't want to trade Mayo.

He said this around the time of the blown Mayo trade to the Indiana Pacers that would have brought Josh McRoberts.

Heisley's high value on Mayo may be leading to the Grizzlies asking for more premium talent in return. That doesn't necessarily mean that Heisley's asking for an expensive player in return. On the contrary, with salary cap concerns, Heisley likely wants a cheap young player in return for Mayo would could be better than him.

Besides, Tony Allen, 30, is in the second year of a three-year deal. Since Allen would be entering the latter part of his career when his contract ends, Heisley might want a player would could fill Allen's role by then.

The Grizzlies might get the value they want in a Mayo trade in a trade involving Young. Mayo might be looking at a starting role after this year, but Young also could get a starting job if healthy. After all, Young started 46 of his 78 games last season.

If the Grizzlies can persuade a team that they're getting a potential starter in Young, that could bring the Grizzlies a first-round pick.


If that doesn't work, a second-round pick and maybe cash in return for a player in Young who the Grizzlies won't use much, but another team could, is nice.

Since he isn't a significant name, Young hasn't surfaced in trade talks. Besides, talk of trading Young before March 1 would only have been preliminary since he is in a one-year contract, and players can't be traded in their base year until March 1.

The small size of Young's contract also diminishes the likelihood that many people would plug him into trade rumors.

Still, Young could be easily traded by the Grizzlies to get under the luxury tax threshold. Since his value isn't as controversial as that of Mayo, he could glide through trade talks quickly. Dealing Young could be a smart, easy move that doesn't significantly affect team chemistry for the Grizzlies.