10:21am: The trade is now official, according to press releases from the Celtics and Thunder. OKC’s release notes that the Thunder will also receive the Sixers’ 2014 second-rounder from the Grizzlies in the deal. However, that pick is heavily protected and will only be conveyed if it falls between 51 and 55. The Thunder also sent cash considerations to the C’s in the move.
TUESDAY, 10:10am: In addition to landing Lee, the Grizzlies will receive a 2016 second-round pick from the Celtics, according to Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal (Twitter link). The C’s will acquire Bayless and Gomes, while the Thunder will receive a conditional 2017 second-rounder from the Grizzlies, says Tillery. The deal is expected to be finalized today to give Boston the chance to waive Gomes before 4:00pm central time.
MONDAY, 7:32pm: Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears that the Thunder will get involved in the deal with Ryan Gomes heading from Oklahoma City to Boston. This would allow OKC to get some wiggle room with regards to the luxury tax line and possibly set up another deal. The C’s, meanwhile, are expected to waive Gomes.
Stein adds (on Twitter) that there should be some second-round picks involved as well.
7:48am: The two sides have reached an agreement, according to Stein. It doesn’t sound like the trade will involve any additional pieces besides Bayless and Lee, which is a bit of a surprise. I wouldn’t have expected the Celtics to be able to move Lee for an expiring contract, since it was less than three weeks ago that a report suggested a lack of leaguewide interest in him. In any case, it appears as if the Grizzlies and C’s will finalize the deal at some point today.
In late December, the Grizzlies reportedly offered Bayless to the Lakers in return for Jodie Meeks. Memphis came into this season with high hopes, but their 15-18 start apparently has them wanting to make big changes. Bayless, 25, has averaged 8.0 PPG and 2.0 APG, numbers that are his lowest since his rookie year.
Lee was a client of Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien and front office exec Stu Lash when they were agents. The guard has already seen his name on Hoops Rumors quite a bit this season as he was linked to a proposed deal that would have sent him and Brandon Bass to Houston for Omer Asik. Of course, those talks fizzled. Swapping Bayless for Lee also figures to please Grizzlies exec John Hollinger as Lee boasts a career-best PER of 15.3 this season compared to Bayless’ 11.2, his worst total since 2008/09.
Lee, who appears headed to the fifth team of his professional career, finds himself stuck behind Avery Bradley in the rotation and only figures to see his role shrink further when Rajon Rondo comes back to action. While his efficiency rating has been strong, it’s happening off of a career-low 16.8 minutes per game.
Bayless is in his walk year and is earning just $3.135MM while Lee makes $5.23MM this year, $5.45 next year, and $5.675MM in his final year. It’s possible that Boston will include a draft pick in the trade if they’re getting another expiring contract or a solid talent along with Bayless in the swap since the Grizzlies are taking on a three-year deal in Lee. The Grizzlies are close to the luxury tax threshold and the Celtics are even closer, so that should play a factor in the proposed deal.
Assuming no trade exceptions are used in the swap, Memphis would have to add at least one more player for the salaries to match up, so the deal may expand beyond Bayless and Lee. However, Boston has a TPE from the Paul Pierce trade while the Grizzlies have one from the Rudy Gay swap, so it’s possible for the teams to make the move without including additional players.