The Press Release:
The Memphis Grizzlies acquired guard/forward D.J. Kennedy from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for guard Jeremy Pargo, a 2014 second round pick and cash considerations, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.
Kennedy (6-6, 215) made two appearances for Cleveland as a rookie last season, recording 6.0 points and 3.5 rebounds on .417 shooting in 29.5 minutes after being called up from the NBA Development League’s Erie Bayhawks on April 21, 2012.
The 22-year-old posted 15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists on .447 shooting in 37.3 minutes in 44 games (all starts) for Erie. He also averaged 14.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists in the Bayhawks’ three postseason games.
The Pittsburgh native enjoyed a four-year career (2007-11) at St. John’s University, where he became just the third player in school history to total at least 1,500 points, 750 rebounds and 150 steals, joining Malik Sealy and George Johnson.
Pargo (6-2, 219) averaged 2.9 points and 1.3 assists on .333 shooting in 9.6 minutes in 44 games (five starts) as a rookie for Memphis last season. The 26-year-old Gonzaga product originally was signed by the Grizzlies as a free agent on Dec. 10, 2011.
Who He Is:
Kennedy had a long if not particularly distinquished career at St Johns of the Big East. Part of the reason may have been a coaching change that occured during his time at St. Johns taking away a majority of his ball-handling responsibility and making him more of a slasher than shooter.
As a Junior, Kennedy was clearly the best player on St. John’s roster despite not being highly skilled offensively. He has been a very effective defender and is very good operating as a point forward type of ball distributor.
In the pros Kennedy is more comfortable as a guard than small forward where he is slightly undersized at 6′ 5″ tall. In the D-League Kennedy showed a decent scoring touch averaging 15.1 PPG on 44% FG shooting with a respectable 36.4% shooting from behind the arc. He played in two games last season for Cleveland averaging 6 PPG with a career high 12 points in his debut with the Cavs.
What it Means:
This is simple. While D J Kennedy could provide some deep relief behind Rudy Gay and Quincy Pondexter at Small Forward now that Dante Cunningham has been traded. The reality is likely that Kennedy, who has a non-guaranteed contract, will be released before the start of the season.
The Grizzlies are reportedly interested in Hamed Haddadi according to our friends at Straight Outta Vancouver (corrected from early version). If that signing happens then it is highly unlikely the Grizzlies will keep 15 players on the roster to start the season, especially considering their cap situation. This makes Kennedy the most likely player to drop since he won’t cost the Grizzlies anything to do that.
Basically this move was a salary dump for the Grizzlies, albeit a small one. Pargo’s salary was guaranteed this year and this move, in conjunction with the Cunningham trade earlier this week, frees up some much needed money. Remember, with the Grizzlies over the luxury tax threshold, every dollar saved means two dollars to the bottom line.