[...] The Grizzlies's roster is fairly young overall, but not the rotation, which is fairly old. Gasol is about to turn 29 and, when healthy, is at his career apex. Randolph is 32 and starting to slowly decline (although being so unreliant upon athleticism may make said decline a mercifully slow one). Allen is about to turn 32, while Prince is about to turn 34 and has lost his athleticism, jump shot and effectiveness. Mike Miller, the bench leader in minutes, is to turn 34 in a few weeks and is limited now to a one dimensional shooting specialist. The only rotation players to still be short of their primes are Conley (26), Bayless (25), Davis (24) and the sneaky-good Jon Leuer (24).
[...] Furthermore, an unnecessary part of the Gay deal saw them opt for Prince and Austin Daye over keeping Jose Calderon and his expiring deal. (Calderon eventually went to Detroit). Daye is already gone, while Prince will cost $7.7 million next season to perform like the backup-caliber player he now is. And in an underappreciated, but increasingly sore mistake, the team moved last year's first-round pick, Tony Wroten, to Philadelphia exchange only for a second rounder, then dealt another second rounder for the rights to Nick Calathes. Wroten, four years younger and considerably more athletic, is averaging 13.8 points and 3.6 assists per game as one of the league's best sixth men, where Calathes has struggled badly on his way to 2.8 points and 2.6 assists.
Memphis are said to have targeted Lee. The deal was thus their idea. This is...fine, potentially. If Courtney Lee continued to play at the standard that he has done this season, then he is both worthy (just) of his price tag, and a useful fit for the Grizzlies. They need an extra secondary ball-handler with adequate defense and good outside shooting, and Lee, with his better jumpshooting and size, is more suited for this role than Bayless.
However, Memphis is now committed at Lee for $5,450,000 next season, and $5,675,000 the year after. This is in addition to paying Quincy Pondexter $3,146,068 next season in the first year of his four year, $16 million extension, plus paying a significantly struggling Tayshaun Prince $7,707,865 in the final season of his unnecessary deal. That is a combined $16.4 million on a trio of useful but flawed wings without there being a starting calibre player in the bunch.
It's not wrong to want role playing wings who provide a solid complimentary job on both ends, and all three can be said to be so. It is not even necessarily wrong to pay them at those prices - Prince is significantly overpaid, but the other two are acceptable overpays, paid 30% too much for at least a year too long yet tolerable in isolation. But it is wrong to tie up your limited payroll flexibility on limited, duplicative backups. They are not in isolation. They are on the same team. Combine them with Tony Allen's reasonable but lengthy contract - he willl earn a steady $4,831,461 next season, but will still be earning $5.5 million when he is 35 - and the Grizzlies are ever more heavily invested at a position where they still need a lot of help. The second rounder that Boston enclosed to compensate for the excess that is Lee's contract might end up being a valuable one, yet this should not be sufficient justification.
Note: Non-US teams that the player
has played for are, unless stated otherwise, from the top division in
that nation. If a league or division name is expressly stated, it's not
the top division. The only exceptions to this are the rare occasions where
no one league is said to be above the other, such as with the JBL/BJ League
split in Japan.