3 ways Memphis Grizzlies can utilize biggest perk from Dillon Brooks sign-and-trade

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Just when it appeared the Memphis Grizzlies’ roster was set for the preseason, they pulled a sign-and-trade out of their hat to reshape how Memphis may look this season.

The Grizzlies acquired guard Josh Christopher in a deal that sent Dillon Brooks to the Houston Rockets. Acquiring Christopher puts the Grizzlies at 17 standard contracts, and they’ll need to be at 15 by the start of the season.

Getting Christopher, a former first-round pick entering his third season, was a solid return, but the sign-and-trade might have been most significant, as it granted the Grizzlies a traded player exception that can be stored in the vault for a future deal. A TPE effectively allows the Grizzlies to make a trade for a player without having to match the salary.

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According to the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Grizzlies can use the TPE to replace Brooks with player contracts that are no more than “100% of the pre-trade salary of the traded player.”

According to Spotrac, Brooks made $11.4 million last season. When factoring in Christopher’s involvement in the deal, plus Memphis acquiring Isaiah Todd from the Phoenix Suns for pick swaps in a separate move, Memphis is expected to have a TPE around $7 million.

Teams don’t always use their TPEs, but it’s another option the Grizzlies have entering the 2023-24 season.

Package deal trade

If Memphis uses the TPE, this is the most likely option.

The Grizzlies have 17 players. While general manager and president of basketball operations Zach Kleiman has cautioned the idea of him making a major move, the $7 million TPE combined with at least two other contracts could allow the Grizzlies to acquire an expensive impact player while eliminating the roster crunch.

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Save the TPE for later

The Grizzlies have one year to use the TPE — it expires July 8, 2024 — so they could opt to save it. When the roster gets set to 15, Memphis will start its regular season, and perfect health is never a certainty.

Injuries played a role in halting the Grizzlies’ NBA championship aspirations last season. Having the TPE available at the trade deadline could help Memphis address any midseason weaknesses that arise because of injuries or underperformance.

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Insurance policy (don’t use it)

Think of the TPE as an insurance policy. If the Grizzlies don’t use it, that means there is strong confidence in the 15-man roster, and some of the young players have taken a step forward.

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While letting the one-year period run out sounds boring, there’s no need to use the TPE if the roster is in good standing.

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: How Memphis Grizzlies can maximize Dillon Brooks sign-and-trade value

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