NBA Trade Rumors: Memphis Grizzlies Foolish To Shop Rudy Gay
Only a team that considered trading O.J. Mayo to the Indiana Pacers for Josh McRoberts and change would even think about dealing Rudy Gay for anything short of a superstar. According to Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy, the Memphis Grizzlies are thinking of doing exactly that:
Now, after a disappointing first-round exit to the Los Angeles Clippers in this year’s postseason, the likelihood of a trade involving Gay is much higher. League sources expect Memphis to shop Gay, who is owed $53,666,790 over the next three years. Gay is no longer considered untouchable, and he could be on the move in the next few months if the right offer comes along.
Kennedy suggests that "sources close to the situation" believe the Golden State Warriors, Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic could be interested in landing Gay. That's not surprising given each team's need for a dynamic perimeter scorer, but why would the Grizzlies play along?
None of those teams have talent commensurate with Gay's potential. Sure, it'd be nice to snag Deron Williams or Stephen Curry, but that's not happening. And it's awfully hard to imagine any combination of players from the Raptors or Magic being enticing.
More importantly, it's far too soon to give up on Gay.
The small forward is just 25 years old and he has a rare combination of size, athleticism and shooting ability. That's not easy to replace.
Gay has steadily averaged around 19-to-20 points a game in each of his last five seasons, and he's done so at a reasonably efficient rate. In time, he could be even better.
We shouldn't expect Gay to produce like Kevin Durant. He has to share the ball with the likes of Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's a reason Gay's production should be kept in perspective.
He just might look like more of a superstar if he were asked to be one.
Should Memphis consider trading Gay?
Though Gay hasn't excelled in the postseason, he also hasn't had much of an opportunity. He missed the 2011 postseason after having season-ending shoulder surgery.
There's nothing remotely close to an adequate sample size for judging Gay's playoff acumen. In the grand scheme of things, this team is still getting used to competing with the NBA elite—and Gay is no different.
Memphis has a talented roster, but there aren't any internal candidates to start at small forward. The closest thing to a suitable replacement on his list of apparent suitors is DeMar DeRozan. He's a fine athlete in his own right, but he can't shoot the ball like Rudy Gay.
If the Grizzlies are looking to avoid a swollen payroll, they're better off parting with Randolph or Mayo.
In the worst-case scenario, Gay remains a well-rounded borderline All-Star who can shoot, penetrate and defend. But, he could also develop into an exceptional defender and/or an elite scorer.
Grizzlies fans will want him on their side in either case.
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