While using ESPN's Trade Machine earlier tonight, I came across this trade for the Memphis Grizzlies that would almost guarantee them a trip to the postseason. Here are the basics:
Memphis Grizzlies would receive Shane Battier and Courtney Lee.
Houston Rockets would receive O.J. Mayo, Hasheem Thabeet and DeMarre Carroll.
For a more in-depth look at the details of this deal, go to this link to view the trade using ESPN's Trade Machine.
This trade would work out for four reasons:
1. The Grizzlies would acquire a small forward in Shane Battier who could instantly step into the lineup and help fill in during Rudy Gay's absence. Battier is arguably one of the most popular players in the franchise's history while they have been in Memphis, and the fans here would welcome his return.
2. Courtney Lee is a solid guard who is capable of scoring points in bunches, and doing so from almost anywhere on the floor. Houston is reportedly willing to move Lee and they would acquire a solid replacement with the addition of Mayo in this deal.
3. Houston would receive a center in the move, which they have been trying to accomplish since Yao Ming's injury. While Thabeet clearly is still learning and growing as a player in the NBA, he wouldn't be needed as a starter or for major minutes with the Rockets. Instead, he would just be a healthy big man to eat minutes and occasionally step in when needed.
4. Mayo clearly needs a change of scenery, but the Grizzlies supposedly haven't been pushing to move him. However, I don't think they would have a choice if they were presented with a chance to unload Thabeet, acquire another young and talented shooting guard to replace Mayo, and land a solid veteran small forward who is already loved in Memphis all in one deal.
If the Grizzlies somehow managed to swing this deal, Battier's veteran leadership and physical style of game would be a valuable addition to their lineup and would definitely help them in their march toward the playoffs.
Even though Battier isn't nearly the offensive force that Gay has been for Memphis, he is one of the top defenders in the NBA. He would also provide the Grizzlies with a much-needed threat from downtown, as they currently rank last in the NBA in three-point makes per game.
Lee's addition would give the Grizzlies an even deeper backcourt than they already have, and would also give Lionel Hollins the option of playing Sam Young more at small forward at times while Gay is out nursing his injury.
While Lee is only in his third season in the NBA and is still a very young player, he has been through plenty of veteran experiences ranging from reaching the NBA Finals as a rookie with the Orlando Magic to being on the historically bad New Jersey Nets team from last season.
Both Battier and Lee are solid defensive players and would help improve the Grizzlies on the defensive side of the ball, which is a very big need for Memphis. While they are already ranked 14th in the league in points allowed per game at 97.9, the addition of these two would likely help boost Memphis up a couple spots in that category.
Hollins would have the option of playing Tony Allen, Lee and Battier at the same time when the team needs a stop, and there aren't too many backcourts around the NBA that can score on that lineup easily.
While there is no way to know for sure if this trade would land Memphis in the playoffs this season, I think it would provide them with the best chances of doing so moving forward.
Considering the trade would make sense for both teams involved, perhaps there is a chance the two teams can come to agreement on a trade involving these players during the next week.