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March 30, 2017

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Woeful Cavaliers get help from Grizzlies

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland Cavaliers, with the NBA's second-worst record, received some help from Memphis on Tuesday in a trade deal that will save the Grizzlies some money.

Brazilian center Anderson Varejao will be lost to the Cavaliers for the season because of a blood clot in his right lung, putting the club in the market for some immediate help after a 10-32 start to the campaign.

Memphis sent the Cavaliers forward Marreese Speights, guards Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby plus a first-round draft pick for forward Jon Leuer, trimming the Grizzlies' payroll so they avoid paying an NBA luxury tax this season.

"Marreese will strengthen our front court, while Wayne and Josh will add depth to our back court," Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant said.

"We are adding a valuable asset with another future first-round pick while also maintaining our future flexibility."

The draft choice would be no sooner than the 2015 NBA Draft and not later than 2019.

The Grizzlies will cut about US$6 million off their payroll. Memphis would have otherwise had to pay about US$4 million in luxury tax for being above the salary cap without the deal.

At 26-14, the Grizzlies rank fourth in the Western Conference behind only the three division leaders — San Antonio, Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Speights, who spent three seasons with Philadelphia before joining Memphis last season, is averaging 6.5 points and 4.7 rebounds a game but has slid out of the starting role he enjoyed last season.

Selby has averaged 2.0 points in 10 games for the Grizzlies while Ellington, who spent three prior seasons at Minnesota, is averaging 6.3 points over 229 career NBA games.

Leuer is averaging 4.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in 55 games. He spent last season with Milwaukee.

To make room for the roster additions, the Cavaliers released guard Jeremy Pargo.

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