Team to watch at trade deadline

In addition to my PER Diem column on the Suns’ efforts to trade Amare Stoudemire, I want to mention another important team to watch heading into the trade deadline: the Memphis Grizzlies.

With $3.2 million open, the Griz have more salary-cap space than any other team and can take on a player making as much as $7.5 million if they put Steven Hunter’s expiring $3.6 million deal and Marcus Williams’ $825,000 contract into a trade.

The Grizzlies also have a first-round pick from the Lakers they can throw into the equation, and they have a clear cause for action: They’re making a strong bid for a Western Conference playoff berth but have one of the league’s least productive benches.

The issue for Memphis is that it can do only a short-term rental. The Grizzlies are trying to position themselves to be able to re-sign Rudy Gay while remaining under the luxury-tax line next season, which means they can’t take on more 2010-11 money.

I’m told the Grizzlies could make a deal for Miami’s Dorell Wright at any time of their choosing -- such a swap would put Miami under the luxury tax and give the Grizzlies another wing player, which is what they’re targeting -- but Memphis is waiting to see if better options come available as the deadline approaches. The Grizzlies also could rent out their cap space to facilitate another deal, as they’ve done on several occasions over the past two years.