Despite being the current 4th seed in the Western Conference, the Grizzlies are currently shopping leading scorer, Rudy Gay. This seems surprising as they have a roster capable of winning the West, but they are a very small market team, with a new owner who does not want to pay the luxury tax and Gay is still owed 53 million over the next three years and they will be over the tax for the foreseeable future. With long-term contracts also given to Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley Jr., they are desperate to shed salary and seem to have decided to move Gay. Whether this is a good idea or not (most likely not), it seems that Rudy Gay may soon be on the move and here are some possible trades for the very talented and All-Star caliber small forward.
*Note: It will be difficult to find trade partners, as Gay has such a large contract.
Memphis Grizzlies Receive: Jared Dudley, Shannon Brown, Wesley Johnson and Multiple Picks
Phoenix Suns Receive: Rudy Gay
Why?: There are two teams that seem especially eager to add Gay and the first is the Suns. They do not have much to offer in terms of player value, but if the Grizzlies are desperate to get a deal done they could settle for simple cap relief, Jared Dudley and future picks. Johnson has a four million expiring contract, while Brown’s contract has a team option, so there is the possibility for a lot of future cap relief. Dudley is an excellent defender and a solid offensive player on a very fair long-term contract. He would be an excellent option off their bench, giving their excellent defense even more punch and would provide offense off their bench, which they sorely need. Draft picks would have to be thrown in to sweeten the deal and it would have to be at least two first rounders. The Suns need and want a go-to player on the perimeter and after missing out on Eric Gordon, Rudy Gay is an excellent option. They were willing to give Eric Gordon a max contract, so they should be more than willing to take on Gay’s contract. The Suns would lose a lot of depth, but they would be getting a go-to scorer and a potential star. He would be perfect for their fast paced offense and would thrive, as their offense is much more suited to his skills. This is not the best deal for Memphis, but the Suns are interested, so they have to be mentioned.
Grizzlies’ Bottom Line: They get a lot of cap space, multiple picks and an excellent role player.
Memphis Grizzlies Receive: Terrence Ross and Jose Calderon
Toronto Raptors Receive: Rudy Gay
Why?: The Raptors are the other team that has come out and shown heavy interest in Gay and they have the pieces to make a trade. A Demar Derozan and Rudy Gay duo, would be extremely athletic and potentially dominant on offense. Gay would immediately become their go-to player and give them the star power they need on offense. The Raptors would get a potentially excellent offensive player in Ross, who is an extremely gifted athlete like Gay, but a better shooter. In time he could fill the role of Gay and become their go-to player on the wing. Calderon would be a huge upgrade at backup point guard and would improve their second unit immensely, as he is one of the best distributors in the NBA. The Grizzlies have a lot of shooting talent off their bench and Calderon could get them the ball in better positions to get off shots. Almost as important as his play, is that he has a ten million dollar expiring contract, which would help their cap situation immensely.
Grizzlies’ Bottom Line: They get a great half-year rental, long-term cap space and an excellent prospect in one of the NBA’s best rookies.
Memphis Grizzlies Receive: Monte Ellis, John Henson and Tobias Harris
Milwaukee Bucks Receive: Rudy Gay
Why?: Milwaukee has not been mentioned in Rudy Gay trade talks, but this is a great option for both teams. Ellis is an offensive force, who could become the dynamic sixth man that this team needs, while carrying the offense at times, if Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph are struggling. He is also most likely going to decline his player option and become a free agent, so the team has the option of letting him go and saving money, trading Ellis in a different deal, or resigning him long-term to lead the second unit for many years to come. Henson is a great defensive talent who would be an excellent addition to their frontcourt. Henson and Gasol would create a terrific defensive frontcourt when paired together and he is ready to play now. Tobias is simply not in the Bucks’ plans and at only 20, he has room to grow, as he is a dynamic offensive prospect that could help replace some of Gay’s scoring. This would turn the Grizzlies’ mediocre bench into one of the best in the NBA. With copious amount of cap space coming to the Bucks, they have the ability to absorb Gay’s contract and he could be the perimeter scorer they have lacked since Michael Redd was in his prime. If the team also resigns Brandon Jennings, who is a restricted free agent, then they will have an excellent two-man core to build around.
Grizzlies’ Bottom Line: They get Ellis for at least a half of a season and for their playoff run and also get the option to keep him long-term, trade him for further assets, or simply take the cap space once he leaves. They would also get two highly talented forwards in Henson and Harris, who could develop into very good role players in Memphis. This gives them the most options and a lot of talent. They would get quality and quantity.
Memphis Grizzlies Receive: Paul Millsap and Gordon Hayward
Utah Jazz Receive: Rudy Gay
Why?: This is another team that has not been mentioned, but they are another great trade partner for Memphis. The Grizzlies would receive a half-year rental from Millsap, who would be invaluable off of their bench and would give them even more post scoring and rebounding. There would not be a better three man big rotation in the NBA and despite trading Gay, they could still go on a title run. Hayward could come in and start in place of Gay. He is not as talented, but he is a great athlete, a good shooter, a willing defender and a hard worker, which is exactly the type of player the Grizzlies covet. Utah would get a much-needed go to player on the perimeter and they have the cap space to take on his deal. A foundation of Gay, Favors and Kanter would be very promising and with Jefferson becoming a free agent, they could have even more cap space to work with.
Grizzlies’ Bottom Line: They get a half-year rental from an All-Star caliber player to go on a title run, the cap space Millsap creates in the off season and a terrific young player in Hayward.
Why Not the Sacramento Kings?: The Kings do have a lot of young talent on the roster and a very talented big-man duo of DeMarcus Cousins and Thomas Robinson, however, they have a loaded frontcourt to begin with. Tyreke Evans is not a great fit on this team, as he does not play anywhere near their style of ball on offense or defense. Marcus Thornton would be great in Memphis, but he has a large, long-term contract and they want to shed salary. They simply do not have the right players to get a deal done, which is quite a shame, as Gay would be great on the Kings. Too bad.