NBA Rumors: Memphis Grizzlies Would Take Step Back with One of T'Wolves' Guards
The Grizzlies have engaged the Minnesota Timberwolves in trade talks in hopes of acquiring one of two guards, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions.
Memphis has interest in Wayne Ellington or Wesley Johnson – both of whom have reportedly been made available.
Neither Ellington nor Johnson would replace Mayo's production altogether, but they may be some of the more affordable options given Memphis' cap limitations.
Despite two seasons of borderline All-Star production in his rookie and sophomore campaigns, Mayo became something of an afterthought when reduced to a sixth-man in his next two years. By those measures, the bar for replacing him isn't especially high.
Though the Timberwolves don't have a premium assortment of two-guards by any stretch, they may have the kind of goods in which Memphis is interested. With Tony Allen on the payroll for at least another season, Memphis doesn't need another starter in the fold.
It just needs a scorer.
Ellington and Johnson have both struggled with their efficiency, but they've also had limited playing time to develop anything resembling a rhythm.
Ellington has never averaged more than 19.1 minutes a game in any of his three seasons, and Johnson actually saw his playing time reduced in his second season. It's no surprise, then, that both have consistently shot around the 40 percent mark for the duration of their short careers.
That's not exactly enticing for a club in need of offense.
But, there's something to be said for their youth and the possibility that a change of scenery could yield some improved results.
Ellington is just 24, while Johnson is 25 years old despite having played one less season. They're hardly prospects at this point, but their best years could still be ahead of them.
Johnson's upside seems particularly undiscovered given that he was the fourth-overall pick in the 2010 draft. His rookie season showed some promise, but he took an unmistakable step back this year with fewer minutes and a paltry 31 percent rate from behind the arc.
Ellington wasn't much better off.
Johnson has more upside, but Ellington is more affordable—both in terms of dollars and years remaining on his contract. For a team trying to save some money and take a chance, you can see why there's some interest.
That said, neither of these guys will come close to providing the perimeter shooting and potential Mayo brought to the table.
Whereas Mayo could have All-Star games in his future, the Timberwolves' castaways are unlikely to ever be more than solid role players at best.
By this point, this may be the best Memphis can do. But, it's a huge step back from the possibilities Memphis had with the 24-year-old Mayo hanging around.
Winning doesn't come easy and nor does it come cheap. The Grizzlies may find that out sooner rather than later.
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