The Celtics’ crowded backcourt and cumbersome payroll will both be eased a bit with a deal reportedly in the works with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Courtney Lee is headed to Memphis in exchange for Jerryd Bayless and at least one other piece to even out the salaries once the teams call the NBA offices on Monday to consummate the trade, according to multiple reports. Lee was made unavailable for Sunday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but Celtics coach Brad Stevens would not say why.
Lee, 28, is signed through the 2015-16 season at more than $5 million per year. He is having the most efficient season of his six-year career by just about every traditional or advanced metric. His 15.8 points per 36 minutes, .492 field goal percentage and .442 3-point field goal percentage are all career bests, as are his 15.3 player efficiency rating and .573 true shooting percentage.
However, Bayless is a younger, cheaper and brings less long-term commitment, which means he’s a better option from just about every angle. The 25-year-old Arizona product can play either guard position, although his shooting percentages have plummeted across the board this season. Most importantly, his $3.1 million contract expires at the end of this season.