The 2023-24 free agency period is approaching quickly, and the Memphis Grizzlies are clearly already thinking about how to approach their offseason.

Fortunately for them, the only rotation player whose contract with the franchise expires this offseason is Dillon Brooks, a high-quality wing defender whose future with them seems to have already been decided. While this ensures that the Grizzlies will need to locate a replacement with a defensive bent this offseason, there are a couple of free agent options that will not only be cheaper but less attention-seeking as well.

That said, the Grizzlies have more than just one need this offseason, which is why these three players should be early free targets.

3 early NBA free agency targets for Grizzlies in 2023 offseason

Cory Joseph

In the event that the Memphis Grizzlies foresee themselves trading backup Tyus Jones for any reason, Cory Joseph is going to be the best option to replace him. A savvy veteran that knows how to work his teammates open and loves to focus on his defense, Joseph is also a player that could accept being a third-string option for the Grizzlies in free agency. Especially with him knowing that Jones will be on the final season of his contract in 2023-24.

A player that the Grizzlies could sign with their $4.5 million bi-annual exception, bringing Joseph in on a short-term deal as depth would be wise for a team that only has two lead guards. If one of Jones or Ja Morant was to go out, Memphis would be happy having Cory Jo on board, as the 31-year-old is still relatively productive at the stage of his career.

Over the past three seasons, Joseph has averaged 7.7 points, 3.5 assists and 0.7 steals per game in 22.5 minutes per game. All while shooting 44.9 percent from the field, 38.4 percent from 3-point range, and starting 54 games in that stretch.

Torrey Craig

In replacing Dillon Brooks, the most affordable option might be Torrey Craig. In fact, one of the best 3-and-D players — price point aside — that will be free agents this offseason is Craig.

An under-the-radar option for the Memphis Grizzlies, Craig has been well-regarded on the defensive end since at least the 2019 NBA Playoffs, in which he averaged 6.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game while playing strong defense against the DeMar DeRozan-led San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers. Notably, he shot 47.2 percent from the field while starting in 11 of their 14 playoff games. Craig has averaged 6.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game over the past three seasons, shooting 46.0 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from 3.

Craig is a multi-positional defender that's guarded stars like Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Donovan Mitchell over the past few years, and well. A tough player with a warrior's spirit, Craig will use his athleticism, awareness, and defensive intensity to make a number of impact plays for Memphis.

James Johnson

James Johnson is simply the veteran voice that the Memphis Grizzlies need. And, ironically enough, it was Dillon Brooks that made that clear. Not just because his juvenile antics are poor for optics and unbecoming of a serious, championship-level team. It's also because he name-dropped former Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem when discussing the types of veterans that could be good for the Grizzlies.

When factoring in toughness, seriousness, and competitiveness, Johnson can be every bit the leader that the Grizzlies need. In fact, Johnson inspired images of former Grizzlies fan favorites like Zach Randolph and Tony Allen because he exudes a no-nonsense attitude. Furthermore, for a franchise with not only Brooks but Ja Morant constantly being called out for being ‘fake tough guys,' bringing in a real tough guy like Johnson will make many people change their perspective of the team.

Johnson may not be relied upon for minutes throughout the entire season, especially on a team with so much depth at power forward. However, if he did get to take off his warmups, then his gritty defense and ball-movement could be beneficial. Nonetheless, what he provides the Grizzlies off the court could be more important than what he accomplishes on it.