The last trade to go through before Thursday’s deadline was one of the most fascinating. The Grizzlies shipped Jeff Green to the Clippers in return for a future first-round pick and Lance Stephenson, adding to a cast of characters that already included Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, Matt Barnes and the newly acquired P.J. Hairston and Chris Andersen. The trade was a clear win for Memphis, getting a pick for Green’s expiring contract, but the question remained of what to do with Stephenson.
Next year’s $9.4 million on Stephenson’s contract is a team option, and given his up-and-down play, it’s unlikely the Grizzlies keep him around barring a major turnaround in the stretch run of this season. And if the deadline had shaken out a different way, he might have been cut loose before then — the Clippers discussed a Stephenson-Channing Frye swap with the Magic in which Orlando would have waived Stephenson.
If Grizzlies brass decides to do that, head coach Dave Joerger and the rest of the team won’t be happy.
Via The Vertical‘s Adrian Wojnarowski:
At this point, the Grizzlies might as well keep Stephenson around at least through the end of the season and see how it goes. With Marc Gasol done for the year, they’re going to need all the help they can get if they want to stay in playoff contention. If it doesn’t work, they can cut bait in June. If it does, they can keep him next season at a reasonable price.