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Jan 10, 2015 10:58 PM

AP Source: Grizzlies, Pelicans, Celtics agree on Green trade

The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies, Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans have agreed on a five-player trade that would send forward Jeff Green from Boston to Memphis, a person familiar with the situation said Saturday.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade hasn't been announced and formal approval by the NBA is not expected until Monday morning.

Forward Tayshaun Prince would go from Memphis to Boston and forward Quincy Pondexter from Memphis to New Orleans.

The trade also would send guard Austin Rivers, the 10th overall pick in 2012, from New Orleans to Boston, and 2014 second-round pick Russ Smith, a point guard, from New Orleans to Memphis. Memphis also will send a protected first-round draft choice to Boston and a second-rounder to New Orleans.

The trade is expected to provide more offense for Memphis, which is in a tight race for the Southwest Division lead. The Grizzlies (25-11) were leading the division until losing at New Orleans on Friday night, marking Memphis' sixth loss in 10 games.

Green is averaging a team-high 17.6 points for Boston, but the Celtics (12-23) are rebuilding. The Grizzlies are firmly in the Western Conference playoff picture and narrowly behind Dallas for the lead in their division.

Pondexter started his career in New Orleans, which acquired him in a trade with Oklahoma City during the first-round of the 2010 draft.

The following season, however, New Orleans needed an experienced point guard after a trade that sent All-Star Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers, so Pondexter was dealt to Memphis in exchange for Greivis Vasquez, who now plays for Toronto.

This season, however, the Pelicans had a glut at guard and have been thin at small forward, rotating several players into the starting lineup at that spot this season, including Tyreke Evans, whose more natural position is at guard. Dante Cunningham, who was signed in December, started at small forward against Memphis on Friday.

Now the 6-foot-7 Pondexter returns to a team where he is expected to either start or at least be in the regular rotation with Cunningham.

Pondexter is known more for his defensive acumen, making him a good fit on a Pelicans squad which already has a handful of scorers including Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon.

New Orleans next plays Monday night in Boston, the beginning of a five-game Northeastern swing that comes as the Pelicans (18-18) try to stay within striking distance of a Western Conference playoff spot.

Prince has an expiring $7.7 million contract, which should strengthen Boston's ability to bid for free agents next offseason. Rivers was struggling to earn consistent minutes on New Orleans backcourt and has an expiring $2.4 million contract after the Pelicans decided not to exercise a team option on him for the 2015-16 season.


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