It’s about time the Memphis Grizzlies pulled the trigger on a trade.
According to a report by Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, the Grizzlies will be sending forward Marreese Speights, guards Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby and an unspecified 2015 draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for forward Jon Leuer.
Prior to the 2012-13 season, Speights signed a two-year, $9 million deal with Memphis. He has “bird-rights”, which means he would have to approve the deal, but according to the reports, he already has.
GRADE FOR MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES: B
From a financial standpoint, this deal will save Memphis roughly $6 million dollars and push the team under the tax-line, avoiding a $4 million dollar tax bill. Saving money is certainly the name of the game these days for the Grizzlies, so that’s big.
Through 40 games this season, Speights is averaging 6.6 points on 42% shooting. He’s also grabbing 4.7 rebounds and blocking 0.7 shots a game. His numbers have taken a hit across the board, and it became clear to the Grizzlies that he was under-performing and not living up to his new contract.
Jon Leuer, a two-year pro out of Wisconsin, is essentially a throw-in. He’s played in only nine games this year for the Cavaliers, while averaging 2.4 points and 1.4 rebounds.
Could this deal be the precursor to a far greater trade involving one of the Grizzlies stars down the road?
GRADE FOR CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: B +
The Cavaliers gave up nothing in Leuer and wound up with three rotational players who can step in immediately and play steady minutes, as well as a draft pick.
That’s not a bad haul for someone as insignificant as Jon Leuer.
With starting center Anderson Varejao now out for the season after an apparent blood clot was discovered in his lungs, Cleveland needed to find a replacement big man to help fill that huge void.
It’s going to be a near impossible task for Speights to match Varejao’s 14.1 points and 14.4 rebounds, but the Cavaliers could have done a lot worse. Perhaps a change of scenery and a larger role is just the kind of boost Marreese needs to revitalize his season.
Wayne Ellington, a third-year player out of UNC, is averaging 5.5 points and 1.1 rebounds a game. He’s a solid shooter (42% from three-point range) who can help spread the floor if need be. He’s set to become a restricted free-agent this summer.
Josh Selby, a second-round pick in the 2011 NBA draft, has had little playing time for Memphis (5.5 minutes) this season.
This trade isn’t going to make or break the Cavaliers, as they will more than likely continue to find themselves near the bottom of the Eastern Conference for the remainder of the season.