The Celtics have reached a deal to trade shooting guard Courtney Lee to the Memphis Grizzlies for fifth-year guard Jerryd Bayless, a league source told the Globe’s Baxter Holmes Sunday. The deal sends Lee to his sixth team in five NBA seasons and brings the Celtics a guard with a similar skill set to the one he replaces. It also saves the Celtics $11 million over the next two seasons.
In Lee, the Celtics are losing a player who has made 44 percent of his 3-pointers this season, on pace for a career high. Here’s what they’re getting in Bayless:
1. He was a top draft pick: You want the Celtics to acquire more lottery picks? They just did. Bayless was the 11th pick in the 2008 draft after averaging 19.7 points per game in his only season at the University of Arizona. He won the most valuable player award in the Summer League that year after averaging 29.8 points per game. In that same 2008 draft, Lee was the 22d pick out of Western Kentucky. Brook Lopez went one pick ahead of Bayless at No. 10. The Celtics selected J.R. Giddens with the No. 30 pick.
2. He’s having a bad year: The worst year since his rookie season, if PER (player efficiency rating) is your measure. A measure of a player’s efficiency on the court with a league average of 15, Bayless’s PER is 11.5 in 31 games. He’s shooting 37 percent from the floor and 30 percent from 3-point range, both well below his career averages of 41 percent and 35 percent. The numbers stand in contrast to Lee’s above-average year thus far.
3. He’s 6 feet 3 inches tall: Good sleuthing, Dzen, you really cracked the code on this guy. But Bayless’s height matters because at 6-5, Lee was the tallest guard in the Celtics rotation. That allowed him to guard taller players, sometimes even small forwards. The Celtics don’t have a guard like that now.
4. He’s a Celtics killer: At least over the last two seasons. On Nov. 4, Bayless scored all 15 of his points in the fourth quarter to help lead the Grizzlies to a 100-93 win. Last season, he put up 30 points vs. Boston in a win on March 23.
5. He has an expiring contract: Monetary considerations are part of every deal, but they may be the biggest factor in any deals the Celtics make going forward. Bayless and his $3.1 million come off the books after this season. Lee had two years remaining on his contract. The Celtics continue to butt against the NBA’s salary cap line of $71.748 million, and they have some priorities this offseason, such as signing Avery Bradley and clearing even more space for bigger signings down the road.
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