Best Bargain-Bin NBA 2014 Free-Agency Options for the Memphis Grizzlies

Tom Firme@TFirmeAnalyst IIJuly 6, 2014

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 4: Vince Carter #25 of the Dallas Mavericks goes up for the layup against the San Antonio Spurs in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs on MAY 4, 2014 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photos by D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Memphis Grizzlies are forced to pick from the bargain bin by their proximity to the luxury tax threshold. With about $7 million to spend under the threshold, the Grizzlies don't have room for using both the full mid-level exception and the biannual exception without dumping Tayshaun Prince.

Even then, the Grizzlies might want to split the mid-level exception on two players. 

One problem that this small-market franchise faces is that its main free-agency target, Mike Miller, is pushing the price.'s Gary Parrish noted that Memphis' shot at retaining the sharpshooter is diminishing because of this.

Parrish quoted a source that said, "He really wants to stay in Memphis if everything's equal. But, right now, everything isn't equal. It isn't really close. So we'll see."

Miller, who took the veteran's minimum to sign with the Grizzlies last year after the Miami Heat amnestied him, may become too expensive for Memphis to use a split portion of the mid-level exception. As much as his three-point shooting and floor spacing are worth to the team, his age and durability don't warrant a figure near the full exception amount of $5.3 million.

Considering that and the Grizzlies' need for more shooting besides their legendary gym rat, they must mull other cheap free agents.

Vince Carter

Carter has turned into a neat role player in recent years—one who's willing to sacrifice money for a shot at a title.

Carter, who earned $9.3 million in the past three years from the Dallas Mavericks, could be a candidate for the split portion of a mid-level exception.

The 37-year-old has managed to be fairly productive in his waning years. He averaged 11.9 points per game in 2013-14 and 13.4 the year before while playing 24.4 and 25.8 minutes per game, respectively.

He hasn't shot well inside the arc but keeps nailing three-pointers. He shot 39.4 percent last season and 40.6 percent in 2012-13.

His heroics kept the Mavericks alive in the playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs. He hit 48.4 percent from three-point range and drained the game-winner in Game 3.

Carter remains aggressive off the bench, averaging 10 shots per game and holding a 23.1 percent usage rate.

Luring him to Memphis might not be easy, since a number of teams are chasing him, as Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders tweeted.

Matt Bonner

Bonner's three-point shooting is simply irresistible. The 10-year veteran shot 42.9 percent from long range last season and is 41.7 percent for his career.

He's increased his focus on the three-pointer through the years. While 50.6 percent of field-goal attempts in his career have come from long range, 59 percent or more have been threes in four of the past five seasons.

That Bonner doesn't work the boards much, averaging per 6.8 rebounds 36 minutes, is manageable.

Having two stretch 4s on the bench seems anathema to the Grizzlies' ethos, but it would work. As long as Bonner or Jon Leuer is paired with Kosta Koufos, one of the league's most effective rebounders, the glass would be ably patrolled.

Bonner has always taken a salary considered modest by NBA standards. The past three years are the only ones in which he's earned more than $3 million. This could allow the Grizzlies to get him for a split portion of the mid-level exception.

P.J. Tucker

Tucker turned the corner as a scorer last season, seven years after his first NBA season. He averaged 9.4 points per game on 43.1 percent from the field.

He also started taking greater interest in three-point shooting, launching 31.1 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc, compared with 15.8 percent the year prior. He made good, hitting 38.7 percent from long range.

Also, the 29-year-old hits the boards, averaging 6.5 rebounds per game last season.

His defense was decent as he averaged 1.4 steals per game and allowed 106 points per 100 possessions.

Tucker could be easy to squeeze in since he's earned the minimum salary in each of his three NBA seasons. However, the Phoenix Suns can match any offer since he's a restricted free agent.

Brian Roberts

Roberts is a tantalizing backup point guard option in case the Grizzlies don't guarantee Nick Calathes' 2014-15 contract.

The Grizzlies have shown interest in Roberts, as Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops tweeted.

Roberts, whose numbers may be a bit inflated on a woeful New Orleans Pelicans squad, averaged 9.4 points and 3.3 assists in 23.2 minutes per game while shooting only 42 percent from the field.

The 28-year-old would help space the floor. He takes most of his shots from the perimeter, including 28.2 percent as long twos and 30.6 percent from downtown. He's a decent three-point shooter, hitting 36 percent.

The second-year player controls the ball well, averaging 2.1 turnovers per 36 minutes and holding a 12.9 percent turnover rate.

One thing that is certain about him is that he knocks down free throws, having hit 94 percent.

Roberts, who started 42 of 78 games last year, would be capable of filling in if Mike Conley were to get injured.

Unless otherwise noted, advanced metrics come from


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