Wolves, Grizzlies Swap James Johnson, Gorgui Dieng

UPDATE: This trade is now official. See this story for more details.

The Timberwolves and Grizzlies have agreed to a trade that will send forward James Johnson to Minnesota and big man Gorgui Dieng to Memphis, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Johnson is technically still a member of the Heat but is being traded to Memphis in the six-player Andre Iguodala trade. The Dieng deal with the Wolves may be folded into that transaction to make it a three-team trade, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

As Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian observes (via Twitter), swapping Johnson for Dieng will add a little more salary to Memphis’ books this season and next year, but the Grizzlies view the big man as a better fit on their depth chart.

Dieng, who is under contract for $16.23MM in 2019/20 and $17.29MM in 2020/21, has averaged 7.4 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 46 games (16.9 MPG). He was particularly effective during Karl-Anthony Towns‘ injury absence, posting 12.9 PPG and 8.9 RPG on .463/.409/.806 shooting in 15 starts during that time.

Johnson is making approximately $15.34MM this season and holds a $16MM option for next season. By trimming more payroll, the Tiimberwolves will be just $1.1MM above the luxury tax line with this move, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.

Both teams have been extremely active prior to the deadline, as Minnesota was also part of four-team blockbuster that landed it D’Angelo Russell.

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14 thoughts on “Wolves, Grizzlies Swap James Johnson, Gorgui Dieng

  1. JBHoops

    This is…. nonsensical for the Grizzlies. What in the world? Dieng is not good and vastly overpaid next year. I don’t get this.

      • JBHoops

        I mean…is he? Dieng has an awkward body and shot motion. James Johnson is old but he’s at least reasonably athletic. Plus Dieng makes $17 million next year, which is awful. I don’t think it makes sense.

        • Curtisrowe

          Johnson has a player option next year for about 17 million, so it’s a wash, because you know he is going to pick that up. . I would rather have Dieng than Johnson at this point.

        • elscorcho the marlin
          elscorcho the marlin

          Reasonably athletic? He can kick a can off the hoop. He’s a martial artist.

    • fishy 9 dogs

      Please watch some highlights from when he started for KAT this year. His low numbers are from lack of opportunity. Dieng can ball.

    • jobbins

      Do you not see the 3-pt %? MN sucks and he will be better utilized in Memphis and we only have one true center so we needed the depth as well. it’s a great move for Memphis. Not all fans could run a NBA team.

      • JBHoops

        Let me know how you feel about Dieng after watching him with Memphis for like 10 games. I just don’t believe in guys long term that move awkwardly and have to cock the ball to shoot. I feel pretty good about that with the history of the league.

  2. formerlyz

    Minnesota wanted to sign JJ when he was FA a couple of years ago, and tried to trade for him a couple of times. He is a great fit next to KAT at the 4, and as a small ball 5 in certain lineups…

    Memphis could have used a backup big to give them some minutes behind JJJ and JV, so makes sense

    • x%sure

      Towns has not being paired well with any other big, including Deng, so a tryout to JamesJ.

      Good risk too by Memphis, if Towns held them back from more success. Towns can be hard to figure.

  3. Grimjac

    Johnson has the tough guy reputation that the wolves have missed since the KG days.

  4. Minny will have
    Russell Culver Okogie Johnson and Towns as starting 5 with Layman off the bench

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