BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics have agreed to trade guard Courtney Lee to the Memphis Grizzlies for fifth-year guard Jerryd Bayless.
The trade is expected to be officially announced on Monday.
The deal accomplishes one of Danny Ainge’s goals heading into the season: shedding the remaining two years of Lee’s contract. Lee was due to earn $11.1 million over the next two seasons, and sending him to Memphis not only sheds those two years, but also takes $2.1 million off the books for this season. The Celtics move over $2 million below the luxury tax line with the trade.
Bayless, who is averaging 8.1 points and 2.1 assists in 20.8 minutes per game this season, is in the final year of his contract. He gives Boston a decent backup guard who can help Jordan Crawford (and Rajon Rondo when he returns from injury) handle the baall out of the back court.
Lee had played well for first-year head coach Brad Stevens, averaging 7.4 points on 49.4 percent shooting off the Boston bench. He posted the following message to his instagram account thanking Celtics fans:
Would like to thank every1 in the celtics organization for the opportunity to be a celtic, I enjoyed my time in Boston and am grateful. Would also like to thank @celtics for showcasing my desire to give back to the community and also making me look good in the pictures lol. Would also like to thank the fans for the amazing year and a half journey, we started off a little rocky but I got my game back right so thanks for the extra motivation. #allgoodthingscometoaend!!!
Lee’s departure could mean more playing time for veteran guard Keith Bogans, who recently complained about his lack of time on the floor, or MarShon Brooks, who was sent to the Maine Red Claws of the D-League to get more game action.