After weeks of speculation, the Memphis Grizzlies have finally pulled the trigger on a trade. Instead of it being a blockbuster involving Rudy Gay or Zach Randolph, it's a cost-saving deal.
The franchise has reportedly shipped forward Marreese Speights, guard Wayne Ellington, guard Josh Selby and a 2015 draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for forward Jon Leuer, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Steve Kyler of Hoopsworld.
Windhorst later reported that Jeremy Pargo was waived to make the deal work.
While the players are solid, the first-rounder is an extremely valuable one for the Cavs, as Windhorst found it has great potential to land in the lottery:
[The pick] has protections that would send Cleveland the next draft pick the Grizzlies have between Nos. 6 and 14 from this season through 2016, making it a likely lottery selection. It is the sixth first-round pick the Cavs have traded for since 2010.
This deal will save the financially frugal Memphis organization over $6 million (as per Windhorst), and this was likely the main motivation for getting it done.
Speights is the most notable player to be moved, considering the fifth-year pro was selected No. 16 overall in the 2008 draft by the Philadelphia 76ers.
Speights can be effective at times, but he's not likely to evolve into a star.
The 6’10” big man never panned out with that organization and was acquired by the Griz in a three-way trade just over a year ago. He agreed to a new two-year, $9 million contract prior to the 2012-13 campaign, but he hasn’t lived up to expectations.
In 40 games this season, Speights is logging just 14.5 minutes per and has started in just two contests. He is averaging 6.6 points and 4.7 rebounds during that time.
Ellington is another solid bench player. The fourth-year man out of North Carolina has averaged 6.3 points on 41.1 percent shooting over the course of his career.
He was selected No. 28 in the 2009 draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves before being traded this past summer for Dante Cunningham. The swingman is set to become a restricted free agent after the season.
The other players in this deal are throw-ins and rather insignificant.
Selby, a second-round pick in the 2011 draft, has played sparingly during his two seasons with the Grizzlies and has averaged 2.2 points during his career. Leuer is also a 2011 second-rounder who hasn’t made much of an impact during his short tenure in the Association.
Which team won the trade?
Grizzlies Cavaliers Draw Submit Vote vote to see results
This trade shouldn’t shake up the landscape in the NBA at all, but it does give the Grizzlies more financial flexibility. That's a big reason why they have allegedly been floating feelers concerning Gay and Randolph to other franchises.
It’ll be interesting to see if this small move will lead into something bigger closer to the Feb. 21 trading deadline.
Cavs are stockpiling picks.