Sources told ESPN.com that the Celtics, after pursuing him in previous seasons as well, are on the verge of acquiring Bayless for shooting guard Courtney Lee. A trade call with the league office, sources said, has been scheduled for Monday.
The Grizzlies, with nearly $7.5 million left of a trade exception they created in January 2013 by dealing Rudy Gay to Toronto, can use that exception to absorb Lee's contract, which runs for two more seasons at slightly more than $11 million after this season.
And Memphis is indeed said to be willing to take on the additional longterm salary left on Lee's contract in hopes that Lee could bring much-needed perimeter shooting to the Memphis offense. The Grizzlies are essentially relying on Mike Conley and Mike Miller for their 3-point threat in the wake of losing Quincy Pondexter for the season to a foot injury.
The Celtics have been trying to shed Lee's contract, despite the 28-year-old's 49.2 percent shooting from the floor this season and 44.2 percent shooting from 3-point range. So they've spent the weekend trying to complete this swap for Bayless, whose production is down under new Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger while making $3.1 million in the final year of his contract.
It's believed that Lee will be pulled from Boston's lineup before Sunday night's game in Oklahoma City in advance of the trade being completed.
The younger Curry, who made his NBA debut Sunday afternoon in Memphis' win at Detroit, would have seen his minimum contract guaranteed for the rest of the season had he made it with the Grizzlies beyond Tuesday.
But Memphis opted to release Curry before the guarantee date. The four minutes he logged against the Pistons marked the only game action Curry got after signing with the Grizzlies out of the D-League on Christmas Eve.
However, sources told ESPN.com that there's a strong chance that the Grizzlies will try to re-sign Curry to a 10-day later this week if he clears waivers. Teams can start handing out 10-day contracts Monday; Memphis can sign Curry to two 10-day deals before it would have to decide whether or not to sign him for the rest of the season or let him go.