Fresh off of a depressing Game 7 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers, the talented Memphis Grizzlies now have to turn their attention to the offseason and decide how to improve the team for the upcoming seasons.
With most of their core intact for the future, there will be some very tough decisions that general manager Chris Wallace may have to make for the future of the franchise.
With that being said, Wallace may have to free up some money as they already have $57.5 million tied into five players for next season, which include: Rudy Gay ($16.5 million), Zach Randolph ($16.5 million), Marc Gasol ($13.9 million), Mike Conley ($7.3 million) and Tony Allen ($3.3 million).
It will be very tough to improve the team on the free agent market and drafting No. 25 in the upcoming draft may not help much either, but there are creative ways to improve the team.
Here's five moves the Grizzlies need to make to be able to contend in the future.
There may be no bigger Rudy Gay fan than me, but the Gay-Randolph duo doesn't play very well together so a fresh start may be good for both sides.
Gay likely has the most trade value and freeing his $16.5 million can help them take a run at another small forward. This would cost less money and could allow the Grizzlies to add more depth pieces.
In addition, as unpopular as dealing Gay would be, the trade could help them strengthen their 2-guard spot, as the only way I would deal Gay is if I could make the upcoming move.
The Grizzlies need someone that can make shots and unfortunately it wasn't Gay in the postseason, shooting only 42 percent from the floor and 21 percent from behind the arc.
Packaging Gay, who would have value to Washington, the No. 25 pick in this seasons draft, and future draft considerations, could at least peak some interest from whichever teams hold picks No.2-4.
Beal could turn out to be the best pure scorer in the draft. In my latest mock draft, I have him going No. 3 overall.
He is a fantastic athlete who averaged 14.8 points per game as a University of Florida freshman, who also has range on his jumper.
The Grizzlies shot only 29 percent from behind the arc in the postseason, after connecting only 32 percent during the regular season. Acquiring perimeter shooting is a must this offseason, and if the price on Beal is too high, moving to a guy like Jeremy Lamb or Austin Rivers should also be considered.
O.J. Mayo's production has gone down from his first two seasons in the league, but he clearly has the talent to be a starter in the NBA.
Memphis may want to keep him in his sixth man role, but someone is going to offer him starter’s money. They should allow him to take it. For one, they can't afford it and second, the production he has given (8.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, .274 field goal percentage in the postseason) really doesn't reward a big raise.
Money going Mayo's way could be used for much needed team depth and instead, hire a legitimate backup point guard who has more size and better shooting.
Shooters like Ray Allen may be tempting, but Memphis needs to take a run at Steve Novak first.
He is a guy who knows his role and will come off the bench to knock down shots.
Novak made $1 million this season and after leading the NBA in three-point shooting (.472), he is due for a raise, something the Knicks likely won't be able to offer him.
Signing Novak to move up to draft one of the top shooting guards, beside the Grizzlies perimeter shooting problems, could solve their issues overnight.
Memphis needs to address depth issues across the board and letting the likes of Gilbert Arenas, Hamed Haddadi and Lester Hudson walk, won't be a problem. However, they need to make an attempt to retain Marreese Speights who did some good things after being acquired early in the season.
It will take a $3.8 million qualifying offer, or an attempt to negotiate a long term deal which shouldn't be too costly.
Speights gave Memphis a solid average 8.8 points and 6.2 rebounds which at least proved himself useful for the Grizzlies during the season.