And it’s final. With rumors of a deal brewing between the Memphis Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers early Tuesday morning, a trade between the two teams has finally come to fruition. With that said, Cavalier fans should be extremely happy about this one. The Grizzlies were in talks with teams regarding their current situation with Rudy Gay, who is owed $17.8 million and $19.3 million over the next two seasons respectively. Those problems seem to have been solved with one crafty trade, which includes no superstar names, with the Cavs.
When power forward Kevin Jones was assigned to Cleveland’s D-League team — the Canton Charge — it was evident that a trade would happen soon. That speculation ending up being true, as Cleveland has received three bench players in Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby from Memphis, along with a 2015 first round draft pick according to the official team website. The Cavaliers sent over the hardly-utilized forward Jon Leuer and Memphis was able to shed the $6 million that puts them under the luxury tax threshold.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN was one of the first to report on the trade:
Just filed to ESPN: Cavs & Grizzlies are in talks on a deal that would send Marreese Speights & Josh Selby for Jon Leuer. Picks involved
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) January 22, 2013
First, let’s clear up some information about the pick that the Cavs have received:
- As of right now, the pick is a 2015 first rounder
- It is protected from picks 1-5 and 15-30 in 2015 and 2016, which means when the Cavaliers do receive the pick it will be of the lottery variety
- If the above scenario does in fact not happen, the pick carries over into 2017 and 2018, when it will become protected only from picks 1-5
- If Memphis doesn’t end up in the 6-14 range in 2015/2016 or in the 6-30 range in 2017/2018, the pick will carry over until 2019
- If Cleveland doesn’t receive their pick once it reaches the 2019 NBA Draft, it becomes unprotected
Even though the three players acquired in the trade won’t be available to play tonight against the Boston Celtics, the Cavaliers also waived point guard Jeremy Pargo to create space. After filling in for Kyrie Irving following his left index finger earlier in the season, Pargo played sparse minutes. In fact, Pargo only played 86 minutes off the bench since Irving returned on December 11 against the Los Angeles Lakers. In the 25 games he has seen time in this season — which includes 11 starts — Pargo has averaged 7.8 points and 2.6 assists, while shooting 40.1 percent from the field.
And even though Jones was assigned to the Charge to make room for a possible trade with the implications such as this one, he has been recalled to get ride of the gaping hole that is on the roster until Cleveland receives the Memphis players officially. Power forward Jon Leuer was the lone Cleveland player involved in the trade, and there is no love lost in dealing him away. He only appeared in nine games for the Cavaliers and averaged 2.4 points and 1.4 rebounds. Again, Leuer was splitting time between Canton and Cleveland before finally being whisked away. He wasn’t able to get the job done on a depleted frontcourt, so his utility was far down the scale.
As for the Cavaliers, they have made their bench more applicable with their acquisitons. Ellington and Selby provide depth in the backcourt, which means that Daniel Gibson could be on his way out of Cleveland. His contract expires at the end of the season and he has been battling injuries over the past few seasons. Plus, there may be a team out there looking for a guy who could provide a fourth quarter spark in the playoffs. Ellington has played in 40 games so far this season and is averaging 5.5 points, while shooting 42.3 percent from three. The backup shooting guard will most likely see time behind C.J. Miles and Dion Waiters. In contrast, Selby has only played in 10 games for the Grizzlies. He spent a couple of games with the Reno Bighorns, but he has a higher ceiling and skill set than Pargo would have had in Cleveland at the point guard position. Shaun Livingston is doing an applaudable job for now, but we could see Selby sneak in and start playing some meaningful minutes.
Speights seems to be the player that most fans are excited about. He is listed as a power forward and will most likely take minutes away from Luke Walton, according to Conrad Kaczmarek of Fear the Sword. The 6-10 Speights is currently averaging 6.6 points and 4.7 rebounds in the 40 games he has seen action in this season. He has logged, on average, 14.5 minutes throughout the 2012-13 campaign and will see extended playing time with the Cavaliers. Out of all the players that Cleveland received in the trade, fans have to be thrilled with acquiring a guy who will take added minutes away from Tyler Zeller.
Cavalier fans have to be happy about this trade. They still have expiring contracts in Luke Walton and Daniel Gibson that could end up being traded before the February 21 deadline, they made their bench better, no horrible or glaring contracts were taken on and they got what they most wanted out of the trade — a first round draft pick. Memphis may have solved their monetary issues, but Cleveland came away with the W in this one.