The Timberwolves have tried in vain to convince the Grizzlies to swap Courtney Lee for Kevin Martin, Sam Amick of USA Today reports (video link). Martin has his fans in the Memphis organization, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities, but no indication exists that the Grizzlies will go for Minnesota’s proposal, Wolfson tweets. Grizzlies want to preserve their cap flexibility for the summer ahead, according to Amick, and while Lee is on an expiring contract, Martin has a player option worth close to $7.378MM for next season.
Minnesota made Martin available in trade talk last month, as Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press reported, and Amick indicates that it’s unlikely that the veteran shooting guard finishes the season on the Timberwolves roster. The Kings are high on him, as Wolfson reported, but a deal has yet to materialize with the February 18th trade deadline set for six weeks from today. He played Tuesday for the first time after failing to appear in Minnesota’s previous seven games partly because of a wrist injury but primarily because the team wanted to give Zach LaVine a chance to play shooting guard.
Lee, like Martin, has seen statistical declines this season, with his normally reliable 3-point shooting dropping from last season’s 40.2% rate of accuracy to 31.9%. That’s a problem for the Grizzlies, who lack outside shooting, and Lee has been in and out of the starting lineup this year. Martin is nailing 37.7% of his 3-point looks this season, and his career numbers from behind the arc are about the same as Lee’s, but Martin will turn 33 on February 1st, while Lee just turned 30 in October.
A straight-up swap of Lee and Martin would also pose financial trouble for the Grizzlies. Martin makes $7.085MM this season, compared to Lee’s $5.675MM. Memphis is already only about $2MM shy of the $84.74MM luxury tax threshold.
Do you think the Grizzlies are wise to turn down this proposal? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.