According to Grantland’s Zach Lowe the Grizzlies are letting it be known that small forward Rudy Gay is available for trade.
“All of this explains why Memphis, over the last few weeks, has made it known in preliminary talks with other teams that Rudy Gay could be available via trade, according to sources around the league. Memphis also has a brand-new ownership and a revamped front office; John Hollinger and Jason Levien are in, longtime personnel gurus the Barones are out, and Chris Wallace’s current level of power as holdover GM is unclear. They can also cite their exciting 2011 playoff run without Gay, though that run involved a superhuman performance from Zach Randolph, a very good matchup in San Antonio, and a much deeper wing core with actual shooters”.
Gay’s shooting stats have been slowly declining since his 2nd year in the league in 2007-08. But is this the reason why Memphis would want to trade perhaps their best wing player. It’s likely his contract could be the biggest issue moving forward – especially for a team on the rise like Memphis. Gay is due $53 million over the next 3 seasons and with his productivity declining now is as good a time as ever to trade him. Whoever trades for Gay is getting one of the league’s best pure scorer’s – bringing 18 points/per game, 80% FT shooting and 6 rebounds per/game. This could be a move which gives the Grizzlies some room to play throughout free agency while propelling another team into the playoff mix.
The defense is fairly well set for Memphis with Zac Randolph, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley all having good seasons on that end of the floor. Gay would be a great pick up for any club wishing to improve their scoring, age and depth but his contract will undoubtedly deter many of them. According to Lowe, Gay is earning $16M this year, whilst raking in $37 million over the next two! That’s a big contract to take on, especially if you are a big franchise team and close to breaching the salary cap. FYI, Memphis are already in excess of $4 million over the cap so unloading Gay’s contract would be a big relief financially speaking.
Lowe has cited Boston and Minnesota as possible destinations for Gay, although it’s safe to say others would make a call and attempt to somehow create a deal. Nothing is set in concrete, and it would surely take a big name player to entice the Grizzlies to pull the trigger.
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