Cleveland Cavaliers Fleece Memphis Grizzlies in Four Player Trade
The Cleveland Cavaliers leveraged the salary cap room they have accrued over the past two seasons to turn a player who had played 91 minutes in the NBA all year into two rotation players, a prospect and a future 1st round pick that will likely be a lottery selection from the Memphis Grizzlies. This is exactly the type of trade that teams in the Cavs’ situation should do. Let’s break the trade down:
The Grizzlies get:
Luxury tax relief – This trade brings the Grizzlies under the luxury tax line which not only avoids paying the luxury tax but to receive some of the proceeds of the tax paid by teams over the line.
Another shot with the current core – The alternative to getting under the luxury tax line was to trade either Rudy Gay or Zach Randolph so this gives the Grizzlies one more shot for a playoff run. If the Grizzlies have a bad playoff run this year then it is a good bet Gay or Randolph does get traded to get them out of the luxury tax for the next year or two.
Jon Leuer – Leuer does have some outside shooting ability which the Grizzlies do need but will probably not stick in the rotation. It is interesting because the Grizzlies new front office hire, former ESPN stat guru John Hollinger rated Leuer high in his draft year.
The Cavs get:
Marreese Speights – Speights fills a need for the Cavaliers since Anderson Varejao is out for the rest of the season due to complications arising from his leg surgery. He will help Tristan Thompson with rebounding and provides a jump shooter from the frontcourt which the Cavs do not have. It will be interesting if he exercises his player option for next year as he would fit in well in a big man rotation with Thompson and Varejao next year as well.
Wayne Ellington – Ellington gives the Cavs another wing to take the burden off Alonzo Gee and gives them another shooter to space the floor. He will get a lot of minutes for the rest of this year and I can see him being brought back as a restricted free agent in the summer.
Josh Selby – Selby is a bit player at the moment, only appearing in 10 games all year at 6 minutes a game. He’s only 21 and needs more time in the D-League but he could eventually become a useful bench player.
A future first round pick – The Cavs are hoping this pick is used in 2015 or 2016 when it will be between 6th and 15th. This gives the Cavs another trade chip and they could possibly make a trade for someone of James Harden’s caliber if such a player becomes available.
As a Cavs fan, I love this trade. I don’t think any of the big name free agents over the next two to three years (Howard, Paul, Love etc.) will be coming to Cleveland. This gives the Cavs assets to use in a trade for a superstar or allows them to add another young player to the core when the Cavs are hopefully capped out due to paying a superstar in Kyrie Irving and hopeful stars in Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson. If I was a Grizzlies fan I would be happy that Gay and Randolph aren’t being traded this year as this team deserves at least one more shot. They will still have trouble with outside shooting and will need to address their luxury tax situation again in the summer but I would be content with this trade for now but worried that they give up a lottery pick when it is badly needed two to four years from now.