The Celtics have acquired Donte Greene from the Grizzlies in exchange for Fab Melo and cash considerations, the C's announced today in a press release. Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal first reported that the two sides were working on a deal involving Greene and Melo.
Melo, the 22nd overall pick in last year's draft, only appeared in six NBA games for the Celtics in 2012/13. The Syracuse product spent most of the season with Boston's D-League affiliate, averaging 9.8 PPG and 6.0 RPG in 33 contests for the Maine Red Claws. While he's considered a young big man with raw potential, he's also viewed as a long-term project, and given his lack of significant progress in his rookie season, it seems the Celtics didn't want to wait on him.
By moving Melo's guaranteed rookie-scale contract in exchange for Greene's non-guaranteed minimum salary deal, the Celtics immediately reduce team salary by about $300K, and could shave another $1MM or so off by releasing Greene. Considering Boston was above the tax line by about $780K before the deal, those savings could be crucial.
The Grizzlies should create a trade exception worth Greene's salary ($1,027,424) in the transaction by absorbing Melo using the rest of their Marreese Speights TPE. For Boston, Greene can't be absorbed using the minimum salary exception since he's on a three-year deal, so the C's create a small TPE worth the difference between Melo's salary and Greene's ($283,816).
Both the Grizzlies and Celtics now have 14 guaranteed contracts on their respective rosters. The Grizz will likely add a 15th when they officially announce the signing of Nick Calathes.