The “Cleveland Plain Dealer” reported Tuesday, that the Cleveland Cavaliers, completed a multi-player trade with the Memphis Grizzlies. Although the deal did not involve any All-Star caliber players; it is expected to help both the long-term and short-term prospects for each franchise. For Memphis; it was all about shedding salary so that fears of having to trade Rudy Gay or Zach Randolph, or be penalized by the NBA Salary cap are gone. Cleveland acquired a big man who has yet to reach the potential that some thought he possessed, to help them bolster their front-court for the short-term. They will also receive what could potentially be a valuable future first round pick in the NBA Draft.
Heading to the Cavaliers; are forward Marreese Speights and guards Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a future semi-protected first round pick from the Grizzlies. The Cavaliers sent reserve forward Jon Leuer in return, a player who was seeing very little time on the floor in Cleveland. Although Selby and Ellington, could add depth to Cleveland’s back-court; Speights will most likely be a contributor early on; as he tries to fill the void left by center Anderson Varejao whose campaign has ended. The native of Brazil suffered a pulmonary embolism; while undergoing surgery to repair a torn quadriceps muscle.
Speights has shown flashes of greatness since entering the Association, in 2008 as the Philadelphia 76ers took him mid-way through the first round of the NBA Draft. The Sixers had high hopes for him as a cornerstone for their franchise early on, but his lack of consistency, caused them to sour on the big man and he went to Memphis before the beginning of last season. Now in his fifth season in the Association; he has averaged 7.4 points and 4.3 rebounds for his career. Cleveland’s first shot at getting the Grizzlies first round pick, takes place in 2015. The first two-years, Memphis will keep the pick if it is in the first five selections, they also keep the player if taken between 15-30. In 2017 and 2018, Memphis would still keep a top five pick, in 2019 no restrictions remain.
What Memphis mainly gets out of this transaction; is peace of mind; now knowing that shedding six million dollars in salary; will make it a lot easier to hold onto both forwards Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph, the heart and soul of the squad. Memphis has a record of 26-14 through Tuesday night and the two forwards are key to the Grizzlies going far this season. There has been trade talk centering on Gay for most of the year; although Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins, said earlier this season, he would be against the move.