According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Memphis has agreed to a multiplayer trade with Cleveland that’ll take $6 million off their payroll and get them under the luxury tax line. Remember all those rumors about a possible Rudy Gay trade? The Grizz may be keeping their starting lineup together after all. They dealt Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby (plus a future first-round pick) to the Cavs for Jon Leuer.
With Cleveland holding more than $10 million in cap space, they were able to absorb the contracts of Speights ($4.2 million this year, and a player option for over $4.5 million next year) and Ellington (just over $2 million this year with a $3.1 million qualifying offer for next year). Extra flexibility is vital for a team like Memphis, struggling to find ways to keep their high-priced core intact. Speights, although he’s a decent backup big man and played really well at times last year when Zach Randolph and Darrell Arthur were both hurt, was just making too much for a fourth big playing minimal minutes (and his shorter contract length probably made him easier to deal than Arthur).
Ellington was one of the team’s best outside shooters this season (42 percent from deep), yet brought little else to the table. In related news, Memphis also made plans to sign Delonte West to plug into Ellington’s vacated spot (they are also expected to sign Bill Walker and Sasha Vujacic). Although he’s not as good of a shooter, West played really well in Dallas last season, producing efficiently despite the highest usage rate of his career. If he buys in (a major question mark after the Mavs gave up on him), he should be an awesome third guard in that rotation.
Was this a good move for Memphis?
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