The Boston Celtics have completed a trade a few days ago by dealing Courtney Lee to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Jerryd Bayless. Trades are not my favorite thing in the world with the Celtics, especially recently when Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers were dealt away over the summer. I’m still having some difficulty grasping the fact the Courtney Lee is no longer with us, but Jerryd Bayless brings a lot of talent to the table that the Celtics have been looking for since the beginning of the season. Bayless is a 6’3″ guard that was drafted 11th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers and is playing for his 5th team in his 6 seasons in the league.
When it comes to nickels and dimes, the Celtics has shed a ton of money in sending Lee to the Grizzlies. Bayless is only making around $3.1 million this season and will become a free agent once the season is over. Courtney Lee is due to make $11 million for the next two seasons after this year, so this trade will put the Celtics under the salary cap heading into this offseason. It will put the Celtics in the drivers seat to possibly making a big signing this summer with a very deep free agent class.
As far as playing ability, Jerryd Bayless is definitely a commodity to help the Celtics’ scoring woes. Bayless has a lot of great point guard skills and can adapt to playing shooting guard just as easily. Bayless played a key role in leading the Memphis Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals last season and should’ve been considered for the NBA’s 6th man of the year award last year. Bayless is fully capable of controlling the tempo for the Celtics and rarely turns the ball over. The best part of Bayless’ game is that he isn’t afraid to take the open shots that he gets and he usually makes them.
Bayless played a lot of minutes in his first two games with the Celtics with 20 against the Nuggets and 25 against the Clippers. Bayless contributed with 6 points and 3 assists against the Nuggets and 11 points and 5 assists against the Clippers. Both games were losing efforts for the Celtics, but Bayless has appeared to have adapted nicely into Brad Stevens’ system and it’s only going to improve as time passes by.
This trade puts the Celtics in a good position, but in a tough one at the same time. There is already a logjam at both guard positions with Avery Bradley, Jordan Crawford, Phil Pressey, Keith Bogans and we are still awaiting the return of Rajon Rondo. If everything with Bayless goes well as predicted, it could possibly result in further changes to the Celtics roster. Hopefully it won’t be the case where somebody else gets traded because I’m done with trades for a while.
Overall, I’m very happy that Jerryd Bayless is with us instead of against us, especially since the way he manhandled us during both meetings in Boston and in Memphis this season. I’m very excited to see him in Boston when he makes his first TD Garden debut in a Celtics uniform next Monday against the Houston Rockets.