Courtney Lee stars in 3-team trade involving the Heat, Hornets and Grizzlies

courtney lee
In 51 games for Memphis this season, Courtney Lee averages 9.7 points at 45% shooting and 39% from long range
Yash Matange
Modified 18 Feb 2016

We usually see all these multi-team trades closer to the NBA trade deadline but looks like the Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies and the Charlotte Hornets had no reason to wait for two more days.

A trade that was announced on Tuesday, saw shooting guard Courtney Lee being shipped to Charlotte along with cash from Memphis while the Grizzlies received Chris Anderson and two second round picks (from Miami) and P.J. Hairston and two second round picks (from Charlotte). Finally, the Heat received 30-year-old veteran Brian Roberts (from Charlotte).

General Manager reactions:

"We are excited to be adding a quality veteran wing player to our roster in Courtney Lee," Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho said.

"Courtney has proven to be a team defender, a consistent outside shooter and a solid scorer in our league for the past eight years. Particularly in terms of experience, he adds depth to our roster in a position of need for us and we expect him to fit into our system and contribute right away."

"Chris Andersen was absolutely essential in our 2013 NBA Championship run," Miami Heat president Pat Riley said. "We want to thank him for his contributions, and we wish him nothing but the best. He will always be considered part of the Heat family."

Trade Grades:

Charlotte Hornets: A-

Every NBA team on an average has about 30 regular season games remaining and this trade by the Charlotte Hornets seems to be made to address the short term goals of making the 2016 NBA Playoffs.

The same day the franchise announces the successful shoulder surgery of their 2012 draft pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the team deals for Lee to play shooting guard which in turn allows veteran Nicolas Batum to return his natural position – Small Forward.

The Hornets are currently in the eight spot in the Eastern Conference with a record of 27-26. They are only three games behind fourth seed Atlanta Hawks (31-24) and can make a legitimate Playoff run for home court advantage in the Playoffs.

Courtney Lee is one of the league’s few “3 and D” guys, as the phrase suggests he shoots a lot of threes at a decent percentage of 38.3% and guards the opposition’s best guard (point or shooting). 

Absorbing Lee’s contract in exchange for Hairston and Roberts only increases the salary books for Charlotte by 2 million, still keeping them under the tax line. Aged 30, if Lee was to re-sign with the team as a free this summer, the team will have 10.7 million on their books to do so. 

Memphis Grizzlies: B-

From the Grizzlies point of view, this trade was a confusing head-scratching one. Trading for Chris Andersen and Hairston just does not add up. The trade makes a 600 thousand dollar difference to the salary books, which still keeps the team under the tax line.

The four second-round picks will be of no definite value in near future unless they manage to obtain a player like Draymond Green in the second round of the Draft. These picks will most likely be added as parts of other trades.

With Marc Gasol out for the season with a foot injury and Courtney Lee gone, the remaining players in Mike Conley Jr. and Zach Randolph will be doing a lot more power lifting for the rest of the season and this trade helps in no way. 

Miami Heat: B+

For the Miami Heat, this trade is purely a financial dump move for the franchise. The Heat are not only above the tax line but are also currently paying the repeater tax (repeated years of a team being in the tax). Their luxury tax bill drops from 14.2 million dollars to 8.7 million dollars, saving up to 5.5 million.

While saving some luxury tax money was the key motive of this deal for the Heat but acquiring Brian Roberts also allows them to have a third point guard who can see some minutes, playing in place of Tyler Johnson who just suffered a shoulder injury. 

Published 18 Feb 2016
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