MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Grizzlies traded Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a future first-round draft pick Tuesday to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Jon Leuer.
The trade is the first big move by the Grizzlies’ new ownership and clears about $6 million in salary in getting Memphis under the luxury tax threshold this season. The Grizzlies rank fourth in the West and are 6-4 over their past 10 games after the NBA’s best start this season.
The deal gives the lottery-bound Cavs another first-round pick to improve a team entering Tuesday night’s home game against Boston with a 10-32 record — second-worst in the Eastern Conference. Speights also will help replace center Anderson Varejao who will miss the remainder of the season after developing a blood clot in his right lung.
Varejao remains hospitalized at The Cleveland Clinic.
The ownership group led by Robert Pera took over the Grizzlies on Nov. 5, and they had been scheduled to pay about $4 million in luxury tax this season with a payroll more than $74 million. This should help Memphis keep its starters Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Tony Allen together the rest of this season.