NBA

Trade grades: Grizzlies send Patrick Beverley to Timberwolves for Jarrett Culver and Juancho Hernangomez

Patrick Beverley is on the move once again. After being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies by the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, the defensive-minded guard will be heading further up north to the Minnesota Timberwolves, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. In return, the Grizzlies are receiving Jarrett Culver and Juancho Hernangomez from the Wolves. 

It’s a pretty odd trade, so let’s break it down from both sides and hand out some grades.

Timberwolves

It’s unclear what the goal of this move is for Minnesota. Up to this point, the only moves the Wolves have made in the offseason are trading away Ricky Rubio for Taurean Prince, and signing second-year player Nathan Knight. It’s obvious Minnesota is hoping for growth from within, mainly surrounding the partnership between Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell who played limited minutes last season due to injuries, and the continued improvement of Rookie of the Year runner-up Anthony Edwards

But trading for Beverley is a move you make if you’re a playoff team, and nothing the Wolves have done so far have shown they’re ready to compete against a tough slate of Western Conference teams. If the playoffs are the goal, then Beverley will certainly bring an edge on the defensive side of the floor, something this team sorely needs as it ranked 28th in the league last season on that end (114.5). But if that goal isn’t reached this season, then the Wolves just traded for a 33-year-old guard on an expiring contract while losing a young guard in Jarrett Culver who has shown flashes over his two-year career. 

There is always the possibility that the Wolves flip Beverley for something else during the offseason, as contending teams assess their roster and decide they need a defensive agitator like him on their roster. If that’s the case, then Minnesota could get a decent return for Beverley, but for right now, this move is pretty head scratching my the Wolves. Grade: C

Grizzlies

I’m actually surprised Memphis didn’t keep Beverley considering he would’ve fit right into that whole grit-n-grind thing the city has going on. But in doing so, Memphis got back Culver, who was limited last season after having season-ending ankle surgery, and Hernangomez, who can space the floor as a power forward. While Beverley would’ve helped Memphis in the immediate future in its quest to compete for a playoff spot out West, several of the other moves the Grizzlies made in the offseason signaled that this team is looking past just the next two years, which is why trading Beverley makes sense.

Memphis is a young team and could eventually be title contenders later on down the line, but it significantly exceeded expectations last season when its secured a playoff spot. After a first-round loss to the top-seeded Utah Jazz it showed just how much distance the Grizzlies needed to cover before becoming a mainstay in the playoffs. There’s no need to rush the development of Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane, so adding in a former lottery pick who will be entering Year 3 of his career fits right in with the timeline of Memphis’ nucleus of young talent. 

The addition of Hernangomez is a low risk, high reward situation, because his 2022-23 contract is non-guaranteed, and if he doesn’t work out then Memphis doesn’t have to bring him back next season. He suffered a dislocated shoulder during the Olympics with Spain, which kept him out of the competition, but if he’s able to be healthy for the season he can space the floor to allow Morant to get into the paint, and gives the Grizzlies another big body to try to fill the void left by Jonas Valanciunas. Grade: B-minus



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