Rudy Gay to Suns Would Be Another Misstep in Phoenix's Rebuilding Plan

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Rudy Gay to Suns Would Be Another Misstep in Phoenix's Rebuilding Plan
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns' rebuilding plan is flawed and acquiring Rudy Gay will only further such a notion.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Suns are engaged in talks with the Memphis Grizzlies for the star forward:

The Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns are engaged in trade talks centered on forward Rudy Gay, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

There's no framework of a possible deal in place, but the Grizzlies have expressed a strong desire that any package involving Gay include Suns forward Jared Dudley and future first-round draft picks, sources said.

Now, I'm all for Phoenix ridding itself of Jared Dudley and there's no denying that Gay provides the Suns with a proven star to run their offense through, but this has the makings of a mistake.

Phoenix is supposed to be in the middle of a rebuilding phase and assuming yet another cumbersome contract isn't conducive with such a reality.

Gay is owed more than $53 million over the next three years and per Wojnarowski, there is already some serious doubt within the Suns' organization that they can afford to bear such a financial burden:

Gay will make $16.4 million this year.

The Suns have been mindful of their financial state under Phoenix owner Robert Sarver, and there are still doubts within the organization they will ultimately be able to absorb the remainder of Gay's contract.

I understand that Gay's 17.6 points and 5.7 rebound per game are enticing, but I also understand that he's shooting a career-worst 40.8 percent from the field en route to proving he's expendable to Memphis.

Sure, the Grizzlies are keen on moving Gay for financial purposes more than anything, yet that's part of the problem.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Phoenix must look beyond Gay's reputation and acknowledge his presence only hinders their attempt to rebuild.

With Memphis looking to shed payroll and get below the luxury tax line, any accord that is struck is going to hit Phoenix's books hard. The Suns already have over $51 million in salary committed toward next season, and Gay's contract is bound to increase that by at least a few million.

Not only does that limit Phoenix's ability to woo prospective free agents this summer, but it financially straps the team for the next three seasons.

How is that of value for a team supposedly starting from scratch?

Let's also not forget that the Suns are 27th in three-point efficiency on the season; they knock down just 33.3 percent of their deep-balls. Dudley's 38.2 percent three-point clip is the second-highest on the team and a far cry from Gay's 32.3 percent conversion rate.

Is this to say Dudley is more valuable than Gay? 

Absolutely not. Again, if the Suns have the opportunity to move him, they should.

But only if such a deal improves their financial outlook or supports the concept of a rebuild. Trading for Gay won't.

Instances such as these have become fewer and farther between for Gay.

Not only does the forward stand to cripple Phoenix's field-goal percentage, but don't the Suns already have enough offensively-inclined forwards?

Remember, Channing Frye is going to return next season and next to him you have athletes like Michael Beasley, Markieff Morris and Luis Scola. Gay holds more clout than all of them, yet an overabundance of forwards isn't going to help Phoenix in the long run.

And isn't that what this is all about—helping this team in the long run?

If the Suns are set on acquiring another forward, why not look for an actual big man to help shoulder some of the burden down low with Marcin Gortat?

Why not look to land an athlete who is going to improve their 27th-ranked rebounding attack?

Why not target someone who is going to help them allow less than 100.4 points per game?

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix should just say no to Gay.

Yes, Gay is an understated defender and competent rebounder, but he's not the type of talent who can lead a team defensively. He's a scorer.

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At present, Phoenix doesn't need a scorer, let alone an inefficient one.

The Suns are 16th in the league in points scored per game (96.3) and while Gay is liable to up that number, he is also likely to weaken an already battered outside attack.

His career-low field-goal percentage isn't about to help Phoenix's 13th-ranked shooting (44.8 percent) from the floor either.

Toss in the overwhelming financial obligations that the Suns are already beginning to balk at and acquiring Gay stands to serve as more of a fiscal and tactical impediment than anything else.

One that turns an already ambiguous restoration blueprint into a borderline failure.

 

*All stats in this article are accurate as of Jan. 7, 2013.

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