Grizzlies land Heat guard Mario Chalmers in four-player trade

Veteran point guard Mario Chalmers is averaging 5.5 points per game this season.

Winslow Townson/Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies completed a four-player trade with the Miami Heat on the heels of the team’s 3-5 start, the two teams announced on Tuesday.

The crux of the trade is point guard Mario Chalmers, a Heat starter during the team’s four consecutive NBA Finals runs, who should add some depth and quickness to coach Dave Joerger’s bench.

The Grizzlies sent backup guard Beno Udrih and big man Jarnell Stokes in exchange for Chalmers and second-year forward James Ennis.

Chalmers is not the solution to Memphis’ early-season issues. However, he could serve as a spark off the bench, help spell minutes for starter Mike Conley and, in a potential playoff setting, provide a veteran ball-handler in reserve.

Chalmers, the former Kansas star now in his eighth NBA season, is averaging just 5.5 points and 3.2 assists in a backup role. Though he shot the ball well from the outside during the LeBron James era in Miami, he’s hitting just 9.1 percent of his 3-pointers this season — a blip that certainly needs to correct itself for a Grizzlies team in desperate need of outside shooting. Miami’s acquisition of Goran Dragic and the addition of young wings Justise Winslow and Tyler Johnson cut into Chalmers’ playing time in Miami.

"This is a tough day for myself and the organization in trading Mario Chalmers and James Ennis,” Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement. "Mario was a part of two championships with us and Ennis is a solid young player, but it is part of the business and it was a move necessary to make because of our crowded backcourt. We feel that it is in the best interest of Mario and we want him to be successful and be a part of a good team."

Miami saves some luxury tax money in the trade — Chalmers is getting paid $4.3 million this season before becoming an unrestricted free agent — while Memphis gets the player it’s been rumored to be after for two weeks now.

This was not a swing-for-the-fences deal for the Grizzlies, but it is a move made in light of the team losing four of its past five games with the Warriors, Thunder, Rockets and Spurs on the docket over the next six games.