The Memphis Grizzlies are looking to push to the next level—while also saving cap room—and they decided that parting with franchise swingman Rudy Gay would be the best way to accomplish these goals.
UPDATE: Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 9:36 p.m. ET by Ryan Rudnansky
The Toronto Raptors have confirmed that the team has received Rudy Gay and Hamed Haddadi from the Memphis Grizzlies for Jose Calderon, Ed Davis, cash considerations and a 2013 second-round pick. According to ESPN.com, "Memphis then shipped Calderon to Detroit for Austin Daye and Tayshaun Prince."
Raptors Media Relations tweeted on Wednesday:
Trade now official: #Raptors acquire Gay & Haddadi from Grizz for Calderon, Davis, cash considerations & a 2013 2nd-round draft pick.— RaptorsMR (@RaptorsMR) January 31, 2013
---End of update---
According to ESPN's Marc Stein and Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Grizzlies have agreed in principle to send Gay and reserve center Hamed Haddadi to Toronto in a three-team deal that includes the Grizzlies, Raptors and Detroit Pistons.
Memphis will acquire forward Ed Davis from Toronto and forwards Austin Daye and Tayshaun Prince from the Pistons, per Wojnarowski's report. The Pistons will receive Jose Calderon and his $10.5 million contract for helping to facilitate the deal.
According to Wojnarowski, the three teams will hold a conference call with the league office to finalize the deal on Wednesday night:
Trade call with league office on three-way deal that sends Rudy Gay to Toronto begins at 7 pm EST.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 30, 2013
After a hot start atop the Western Conference, Memphis significantly cooled and is currently sitting as the No. 4 seed with a 29-15 record.
Taking his sky-high cap figure into consideration, the Grizzlies brass likely decided that Gay wasn’t going to carry them to a championship and “aggressively” shopped him in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline.
Gay is set to make $16.5 million for the current season, $17.9 for 2013-14 and a whopping $19.3 in 2014-15.
Considering he’s averaging just 17.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists—right around his career numbers—it’s tough to justify paying such a significantly higher salary each year for a player who hasn’t improved much since his second season in the league.
However, Toronto decided that his production is worth the price tag, which is why it shipped away Calderon and what looks to be a future second-round draft pick in exchange for his services.
At 16-29, Gay’s new team isn't a legit contender in 2013. However, as the new No. 1 scorer in a lineup that includes Kyle Lowry, Andrea Bargnani and recently extended DeMar DeRozan, the sky is the limit for the Raptors going forward.
Gay has played his entire career with the Grizzlies—something he has in common with the rest of the players in this trade. As HoopsHype notes on Twitter, this was an emotional trade from that standpoint for all parties involved:
Sometimes, change is the only constant, and Gay will now move north of the border to help revitalize a franchise in a similar position to that of Memphis when he came into the league. Toronto has some talented athletes in DeRozan and Lowry, and it now has Gay to assist in reaching the next level during what the organization hopes will be a turning point in this franchise's future.
Detroit, a team that Wojnarowski notes has been after Calderon for months, jumped in and gave up two significant role players to get a point guard with experience to help lead its second unit. The Pistons are four and a half games out of the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, and are clearly playing for this season based on the decision to go get Calderon.
Memphis still has talented big men Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, and appears to feel confident that Gay is replaceable with Prince, Daye or someone else. It frees them out from under Gay's enormous contract in 2014-15 and also adds some long-term flexibility with the short-term contracts that are coming back to town.
This blockbuster trade is going to have substantial repercussions around the league for years to come. We wish Gay the best of luck in Toronto and the Grizzlies continued success in their quest for a title.