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Offseason Trade Ideas to Land NBA Superstars New Sidekicks

Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

Memphis Grizzlies receive: Pascal Siakam and Malachi Flynn

Toronto Raptors receive: Steven Adams, De’Anthony Melton, Ziaire Williams, Brandon Clarke, No. 22 pick (via Utah Jazz), 2023 first-round pick (top-three protected) and 2024 first-round pick (top-four protected, via Golden State Warriors)

The Grizzlies might be in the middle of a championship run right now. Why would they consider such a dramatic change? A couple of reasons.

First, Memphis is one of just eight teams in this title race, and each ranks among the Association’s best of the best. It’s far more likely than not that the Bears aren’t parading down Beale Street this summer.

Second, for all of the player development success stories on the roster, Ja Morant remains its lone star. Adding an impact talent like Pascal Siakam—who went berserk down the stretch (26.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists in March and April)—immediately changes that.

Doing so without sacrificing Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr. or Dillon Brooks would grant the Grizzlies one of the best starting fives around.

While Siakam can serve as a focal point in spurts, his ideal role puts him alongside a superstar. Morant, who’s averaging an absurd 26.3 points, 10.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds this postseason, has reached that level and will only continue to get better. Siakam, who turned 28 in April, is young enough to remain in his prime (or at least very close to it) by the time the 22-year-old Morant reaches his.

Malachi Flynn would functionally be a footnote in this swap, though Memphis might appreciate the backcourt depth with free agency awaiting Tyus Jones after an expertly timed career year.

That’s the argument for Memphis. The incentive for Toronto is trickier since this squad just posted a .660 winning percentage once the calendar flipped to 2022. Still, the Raptors need to ask themselves if they have enough to win a title right now, and if not, whether they could add it while Siakam is still at his best.

Toronto is too talented to snag a prime draft pick and has never been a destination for free agents, so finding those missing pieces could prove a mountainous task.

If the Raptors conclude their ceiling doesn’t reach a championship level, this trade would offer different avenues to eventually get there. If Ziaire Williams maximizes his potential, he could be a featured scorer who defends multiple spots (and a fascinating co-star for Scottie Barnes).

Brandon Clarke fits the Toronto mold of long, active, athletic defenders, and De’Anthony Melton’s sweeping 6’8″ wingspan helps him function like one despite standing just 6’2″.

Steven Adams is here to make the money work, but his expiring $17.9 million salary offers significant financial flexibility.

Throw three first-round picks in the mix—for a franchise that owns all but one of its future firsts and has pulled some great selections in recent drafts (including Siakam at No. 27 in 2016)—and this could be the kind of backward step that eventually delivers a major leap forward.


Statistics courtesy of NBA.com and Basketball Reference unless otherwise noted. Salary information via Spotrac.

Zach Buckley covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @ZachBuckleyNBA.

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