MEMPHIS — “We’re no longer the hunter. We’re the hunted “

The last several days, the Grizzlies front office was hard at work ahead of the deadline.

Working the phone was General Manager Zach Kleiman, trying to land a number of high profile player.  Kleiman was willing to part with this team’s many assets to do it.

The Grizzlies just couldn’t get a deal done.  But it wasn’t for a lack of trying. 

“We were very willing to be aggressive, maybe even overly aggressive if we could get the right player. At this deadline, there were several guys where we made offers, that if they were accepted, you know, you all would have said, wow,” Kleiman said.  “We’re, of course, motivated by one thing which is going out and trying to win a championship this year and beyond.”

The other big story line to Thursday’s trade deadline was what the Grizzlies didn’t do.

Moving veteran forward Dillon Brooks..

“Dillon Brooks is a huge part of this team. Dillon Brooks is not someone who was shopped or anything to that effect at the deadline,” Kleiman said.  “He’s someone who we view as a critical component of this group and very much hope and could see him playing a big role for us for years to come.”

Though Memphis still sits in second place in the Western Conference, their path to an NBA Championship increased in difficulty just this week alone.  

Both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have joined the mix.

“I mean, the West has always been good. But yeah, I mean, it seems like every superstar ever is in the West now. It’s going to be a fun ride,” said Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane.  “Regardless who we see in the first round is going to be a good match up. I think it’ll be good for our growth and our evolution as team.”

“The West was already tough before the deadline happened. And now, obviously, it’s loaded,” said Grizzlies guard Tyus Jones.  “I mean, it’s hard to ignore. But at the same time, our motto stays the same. Focus on the Grizzlies, focus on what we’re doing.”