Grizzlies get: Forward Justin Holiday
Having unsuccessfully attempted to deal Brooks and Selden plus second-round picks to acquire Kelly Oubre as part of last month's failed three-team trade with the Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards, the Grizzlies re-baited the hook to land Holiday in a deal expected to in fact be completed.
While Holiday doesn't at age 29 have the long-term potential of Oubre, his 3-and-D skill set is more helpful in the here and now. Remarkably, because of the low replacement level on the wing and the long minutes Holiday was logging in Chicago (34.9 per game, putting him 14th in the league), he ranks just outside the NBA's top 30 in wins above replacement player by my metric this season (3.7 WARP).
That will be useful for a Memphis team that has lost eight of its past 10 games to slip from sixth in the Western Conference three weeks ago to a tie for 10th entering play Thursday. Even after the summer additions of starters Kyle Anderson and Garrett Temple, wing was the obvious spot for the Grizzlies to upgrade. Their backups at shooting guard and small forward, including Brooks and Selden, have struggled.
Brooks had a .487 true shooting percentage in the month of November, dragging down his overall efficiency to unacceptable levels for a score-first player. Meanwhile, Selden's 32 percent 3-point shooting and his penchant for overexuberant mistakes made it hard for coach J.B. Bickerstaff to trust him on the court. The other, more valuable Brooks ( Dillon) has been hit or miss since returning from injury, scoring 33 points on 11-of-21 shooting in his two best games but totaling 7 points on 3-of-15 in the two others.
Holiday is versatile enough to play alongside any of Memphis' other wings, allowing him to start or come off the bench depending on how Bickerstaff's rotation shakes out. Holiday has established himself as a league-average 3-point shooter (he's been between 35 and 36 percent each of the past three seasons) on increasing volume. So far this season, Holiday is one of 14 players in the league averaging at least seven 3-point attempts per game, which will help a team that ranks 28th in the league in made 3s on a per-game basis.
Defense was Holiday's calling card before he developed as a shooter in his mid-20s, and his length and diligence at that end of the court will fit right in with the Grit 'n' Grind 2.0 Grizzlies. At a listed 6-foot-6 and 181 pounds, Holiday isn't quite big enough to deal with the Kevin Durants of the world, meaning Anderson will still have to handle those assignments, but Bickerstaff will no longer have any defensive liabilities in his wing rotation.
Though Holiday is making a modest $4.4 million this season, dealing two players on minimum-salary contracts for him still pushes Memphis within $500,000 of the luxury-tax line, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks. That will prevent the Grizzlies from filling their open roster spot with a player on a guaranteed contract for the time being. That spot could, however, be useful come buyout season.
The cost to Memphis here is a pair of second-round picks, both of which have a chance to end up in the top half of the round and be reasonably valuable. I'd have felt better about dealing those picks for someone like Oubre with the potential to help the Grizzlies long term, but as Marks noted on Twitter, Holiday's early Bird rights could help Memphis re-sign him as an unrestricted free agent this summer.
From the Bulls' standpoint, this deal was somewhat more straightforward. Holiday's skill set held relatively little value to a non-contender, and in the final year of his deal he was all but certain to get moved by the deadline. The question was mostly who could offer the best second-round picks in return. There's certainly upside in getting Memphis' picks. If something happens with Mike Conley or Marc Gasol, we've seen the Grizzlies slide in the standings before.
The one complication from Chicago's perspective was trading one player for two with a full roster, which means the Bulls had to waive backup guard Cameron Payne. That closes the book on a disappointing Chicago tenure for Payne, the centerpiece of the Bulls' 2017 deadline deal sending Taj Gibson to the Oklahoma City Thunder. After missing much of that season due to a broken bone in his foot, Payne has never been able to make good on the promise he showed at Murray State. Since Payne was in the final year of his rookie contract, waiving him has no long-term cap ramifications for Chicago.