Reaction: Cavs trade Leuer to Grizzlies for Speights, Selby, Ellington & 1st Round Pick

According to multiple reports, including Yahoo!'s Marc Spears, the Cleveland Cavaliers have traded Jon Leuer for what at first appeared to be half of the NBA.

Those players have since been identified as Memphis Grizzlies' Marreese Speights, Josh Selby and Wayne Ellington.

There is also a draft pick included in this package that will be sent to Cleveland as well, but what exactly that pick is hasn't been identified at the time I'm writing this. 

Hoopsworld is reporting that pick could be a 2015 first rounder with a top-5 protection. Maybe it's a second. I'll update this post later once we find out.

*updated below*

In any event, this is a move made by the Memphis Grizzlies that was facilitated by the NBA's new luxury tax structure.

After exploring possible trades for Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph, the Grizzlies appear to have settled on avoiding the tax by moving the dollars owed to Speights, Selby and Ellington.

That number is approximately $7 million-ish in total on an annual basis, that does not extend past next season.

This move, in its eventual totality, is a good one for the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

It is one of those "trade nothing for something" type deals. It's not a major deal, but it could provide much needed help on the Cavaliers' bench moving forward.

That's besides being crazy to think, of course, that Jon Leuer alone netted these returns. 

The fact that the Cavaliers went out and signed essentially zero free agents this summer, and have struggled mightily with their bench as a result, put them in the cap-friendly position to make this trade.

Another reason to rationalize losing so much this season, I guess.

Speights and Selby, specifically, will add depth to the Cavaliers bench both this season and next. I've actually watched both dominate various NBA off-season events in recent years, and have been high on their respective upsides because of that. 

At the Impact League in Las Vegas, during the lockout last year, Speights looked scary good. He followed that up with solid production off the bench for Memphis since being traded from Philly. In Cleveland, he will only get more playing time.

Selby, meanwhile, is the reigning MVP of Vegas Summer League. That doesn't mean too much other than he does have the ability to put points on the board to some degree at the NBA level.

If you were sitting there watching Selby, you'd probably be more impressed than simply hearing that he was MVP of a league filled with rookies and free agents, but he really looked impressive. There is talent there that looks like it could still translate to real NBA games in the right role. 

What Selby can also do is back up both guard positions. He isn't tall, and wants to play more like a shooting guard, but he is a capable back-up in both spots. That will probably be his role for the rest of this season, I'd expect.

Wayne Ellington is averaging 5.5 points in 40 appearances this season. I'm not sure where he fits other than probably being better than a couple of the Cavaliers' current wing-players regardless of those numbers.

Somebody will need to be cut in this deal too, though, and maybe it's Ellington. We'll have to see what shakes out.

For now, this is a trade for Jon Leuer that only helps the Cavaliers get better.

If it sends back a high first round pick, the Cavaliers cash in on the first round pick they've received, it could go down as a historic move.

If not, in the very least, it's not bad.

12:30pm ET Update – via Brian Windhorst:


This is the sixth first round pick the Cavaliers have traded for since 2010.  Windhorst also reported that Jeremy Pargo has been waived to make this deal work.

1:05 PM ET Update – Statement released by Cleveland Cavaliers:

The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired forward/center Marreese Speights, guard Wayne Ellington, guard Josh Selby and a future first round draft pick from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for forward Jon Leuer, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.

The Cavaliers also waived guard Jeremy Pargo.

“Marreese will strengthen our front court, while Wayne and Josh will add depth to our back court. At the same time, we are adding a valuable asset with another future first round pick, while also maintaining our future flexibility,” said Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant.

“We wish Jon and Jeremy the best as they move on with their careers and thank them for their time with us here in Cleveland.”

The Cavs will receive Memphis’s first round draft pick in the first available year (which is two years after Memphis has satisfied its current pick obligation to Minnesota).

Starting in 2015 the pick could be conveyed to the Cavaliers. The pick is protected one-five and 15-30 in 2015 and 2016 (meaning the Cavaliers would acquire a 6-14 pick) and the pick is protected one-five in 2017 and 2018. If the pick has not been conveyed by 2018, it becomes unprotected in 2019.

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine,,, and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.