Memphis trade sheds $6M in payroll

The Memphis Grizzlies have completed a mult-iplayer trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers, slicing more than $6 million off their payroll to get under the luxury tax threshold.

 Memphis sent big man Marreese Speights, guard Wayne Ellington and guard Josh Selby to the Cavs for forward Jon Leuer and a future first-round draft pick.

 The pick is the most valuable part of the deal for the Cavs because it has protections that would send Cleveland the next draft pick the Grizzlies have between Nos. 6 and 14 from this season through 2016, making it a likely lottery selection. It is the sixth first-round pick the Cavs havetraded for since 2010.

 The Grizzlies, under pressure to reduce payroll, had been in trade talks with teams around the league involving stars Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph.

 This deal is expected to ease those concerns in the short term and allow the Grizzlies to keep their starters together. Memphis owes Gay, Randolph and Marc Gasol nearly $50 million combined next season.

 Memphis is currently 26-14, fourth place in the Western Conference and second place in the Southwest Division, five games behind the San Antonio Spurs.

 To get the deal done the Cavs used salary-cap space to absorb some of the contracts and waived guard Jeremy Pargo. The Grizzlies will receive a trade exception of more than $4 million that they can use in a future trade over the next year.

 Speights averages 6.5 points and 4.7 rebounds and has been a key big man off the bench for the Grizzlies. He makes $4.2 million this season and has a player option at $4.5 million for next season. Ellington is averaging 5.5 points off the bench. Selby has played in only 10 games, averaging two points. Leuer, who the Cavs claimed off waivers over the summer from the Houston Rockets, has only played in nine games, averaging 2.4 points.

 The Grizzlies owe the Minnesota Timberwolves their next non-lottery first round pick over the next three seasons as part of a previous deal. The Cavs would get the Grizzlies’ next lottery pick, as long as it falls outside the top five, over the same span.

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