Earlier today, Ronald Tillery of the commercial appeal reported that the Grizzlies are putting together a trade that would send un-guaranteed wing Donte Green to the Celtics for big man Fab Melo.
Source: Griz working on small trade to get Celtics center Fab Melo for Donte Greene. CA story coming…
— Ronald Tillery (@CAGrizBlog) August 15, 2013
Shortly after the initial report, the trade become official on several other sources: the Celtics were trading Fab Melo and some Cash to Memphis for Donte Greene.
This trade is clearly not exactly world-shaking news. Greene was likely to get cut, or at the very least, never play, so it’s not like it’s a huge loss to jettison him for a big man who also is not likely to get playing time, but who may have a little upside. It is worth noting, too, that this trade is entirely for the purpose of the Celtics getting to avoid the luxury tax, and really, neither Greene nor Fab Melo are any good or particularly worth playing time.
In some ways, though, it is a fairly interesting move.
For one, presuming that the Grizzlies keep up with the Nick Calathes deal, the Grizzlies still have 17 players on the roster, meaning that the Griz have to cut two guys before the season starts. Presumably, those two cuts were going to be the un-guaranteed contracts of Greene and Willie Reed, leaving recently acquired un-guaranteed player Josh Akognon on the roster.
Now, though, the Grizzlies are apparently trading Donte Greene to the Celtics for Fab Melo, whose contract is, in fact, guaranteed. So now, in order to have the right roster size, Memphis is going to have to cut both Willie Reed and sharpshooter Josh Akognon.
There was a lot of hope surrounding Akognon. It was widely accepted that he’s the best shooter not actively in the NBA, and he completely lit up NBA Summer League with his shooting for the Dallas Mavericks. He also displayed a terrible IQ and defense, but he could be an interesting Jerryd Bayless-esque player off the bench if given a chance.
It doesn’t look like he’ll get that chance now, though.
At least…if they don’t want to cost themselves anything. Memphis could always back out of the Calathes deal to keep Akognon, or they could cut Tony Wroten, even though waiving his guaranteed contract would cost them roughly $1 million.
Furthermore, unguaranteed contracts don’t technically count to the roster if they’re not playing. Memphis could always send Akognon to the D-League until December (Akognon’s contract becomes guaranteed past December) and then see if anyone else (i.e. Wroten, Leuer) might be jettison-able to make room for Akognon. If not, he could be waived.
So now, the Memphis Grizzlies have Fab Melo, the wildly-untalented-but-young 7 footer, to round out the big man roster. But in the meantime, until the season starts, it’ll now be interesting to see what the Grizzlies do with Josh Akognon.