3:16pm: It’s a 2017 first-rounder headed from Memphis to Boston that’s top-10 protected, reports Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal (Twitter link). If the Grizzlies don’t convey it in 2017, it’s top-12 protected for 2018, top-eight protected for 2019, top-six protected for 2020, and unprotected for 2021.
10:33am: The Grizzlies acquired forward Jeff Green from the Celtics in a three-team trade that also includes the Pelicans, the teams announced in three separate press releases (Grizzlies, Celtics, Pelicans), Memphis had drawn close to acquiring the high-scoring Green Friday. In addition to Green, the Grizzlies land Russ Smith from New Orleans. Boston acquires Tayshaun Prince and a protected first-round pick from Memphis in exchange for Green, and they also receive Austin Rivers from New Orleans. The Grizzlies send Quincy Pondexter to the Pelicans along with a 2015 second-round selection. This trade will help further Boston’s rebuilding process, which has already seen the team deal Rajon Rondo to the Mavs and Brandan Wright to the Suns.
Green has one season left on his current deal, but was reported to be considering turning down his $9.2MM player option for 2015/16 in order to test free agency and secure a long-term contract. He’ll add some scoring punch to Memphis’ offense, something the Grizzlies have been seeking. In 33 games this season, the 28-year-old Green has averaged 17.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 33.1 minutes per game. His career numbers over six seasons are 14.4 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 1.6 APG, with a slash line of .440/.340/.788.
Smith, a rookie out of Louisville, has appeared in just six contests for the Pelicans this season after being selected 47th overall in last June’s draft. By contrast, Prince, who’s leaving Memphis, is a 12-year NBA veteran who appeared in 25 contests for the Grizzlies. The 34-year-old’s large expiring contract is likely what appealed to the Celtics, who are clearly looking toward building for the future rather than contending in the present.
The 26-year-old Pondexter has appeared in 30 games for the Grizzlies this season, including two as a starter. His season averages are 4.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 0.9 assists. He still has three years remaining on his contract and is scheduled to make $3,382,023 in 2015/16, $3,617,978 in 2016/17, and $3,853,931 in the deal’s final season. The sharpshooting swingman out of Washington missed almost all of 2013/14 with a stress fracture in his foot and suffered an MCL sprain in 2012/13 that cost him a good chunk of that season as well.
“The New Orleans Pelicans are thrilled to welcome back a high character person like Quincy Pondexter to our organization,” Pelicans GM Dell Demps said in the team’s statement. “Quincy is a two-way player, a multi-position defender that will add toughness along with an offensive skill set that we anticipate will help the Pelicans win games.
Rivers heads to Boston, where his father, Doc Rivers, enjoyed remarkable success as the Celtics coach before heading out west in 2013. However, there have been indications that the former 10th overall pick’s stay in Boston will be relatively short, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that the the Clippers, for whom Doc Rivers serves as coach and head of basketball operations, are interested in acquiring the young shooting guard.
“It was difficult to trade Austin Rivers and Russ Smith,” Demps said. “Russ was only with the team for a short time while Austin is an intense competitor that is continuing to improve. We will miss Austin and Russ on and off the court. We thank Austin and Russ for their contributions and wish them success in the future.”
Los Angeles GM Dave Wohl and assistant coaches Lawrence Frank and Mike Woodson have encouraged Doc Rivers to try to trade for his son Austin, even if the move might be publicly viewed as family favoritism, Wojnarowski writes. Rivers will become a free agent after this season, since New Orleans declined his third-year player option back in October.
Eddie Scarito contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter) reported that the sides had come to an agreement, though Wojnarowski maintained that there were still moving parts and later reported the final structure of the deal. The pair added numerous details along the way, and Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, John Reid of The Times Picayune, and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today also reported details.
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