The Boston Celtics are expected to acquire Jerryd Bayless from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for guard Courtney Lee, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. USA Today's Sam Amick reports that it's possible other pieces could be involved in the deal, which could go through Monday after a scheduled trade call.
Bayless, a slashing combo guard, is averaging 8.0 points and 2.0 assists per game and shooting 37.5 percent overall. While Stein reports the Celtics have liked Bayless for some time, the key part of the deal is the guard's $3.1 million annual contract that expires after this season. By trading for Bayless, Boston sheds Courtney Lee's contract that increases from $5.2 million annually this year and runs through the 2015-16 season, giving the team more flexibility in the midst of a rebuild.
The more than $11 million left on Lee's deal will be somewhat absorbed by the $7.5 million trade exception the Grizzlies acquired in the Rudy Gay deal last season.
Lee is averaging 7.4 points per game this year and is shooting 44 percent from three-point range. He gives the Grizzlies a long-term backup guard behind Mike Conley and one who can space the floor around the low-post combination of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. That could help immediately this year with bench shooter Quincy Pondexter out due to a foot injury.
Lee was the client of Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien and director of player personnel Stu Lash when they were agents.
This summer, the Celtics reportedly wanted to trade Lee or guard Jason Terry's similar contract in the deal that would have sent Kevin Garnett to the Los Angeles Clippers. Boston moved Terry in the blockbuster trade with the Nets, leaving Lee to play a reserve role in 2013-14. He is playing 17 minutes per game behind Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford.