The Memphis Grizzlies need to trade Gay at some point. That much is known. The Grizzlies need to ensure they're under the luxury tax in the immediate future. Gay will be due another $37 million after this season.
NBA Insider Ric Bucher wrote on his Sulia account that the Wizards have thrown their name into the hat regarding a possible trade:
Add the Washington Wizards to the list of teams that are in the mix for the services of Grizzlies small forward Rudy Gay, according to a league source. Not clear on what the Wizards' offer might be but was told it was "a good one." Still unconscionable, to me, that the Grizzlies are messing with a team that has all the pieces and experience to play for a title. "We believe," said Zach Randolph, when I asked if the Grizzlies saw themselves as a title contender. "We're just trying to stay focussed on the next game." Maybe management won't find a deal that compels them to pull the trigger before the February trade deadline, but all indications are they're aggressively looking for one.
The Grizzlies are hurt by the fact that the entire league knows they will need to trade Gay sometime. Memphis doesn't have much of the upper hand in trade negotiations.
It doesn't make much sense for Memphis to try and get rid of Gay before the trade deadline, unless it can receive a massive haul. That doesn't seem likely when you see some of the trades that have been discussed.
Just because the main motivation is dumping salary doesn't mean the Grizzlies should get little in return.
And in the short-term, Bucher's right when he says this team is built to win right now.
Clearly, Gay's time in Memphis ends sometime in the next six months or so, but why move him now? The organization owes it to both its players and fans to get one more run with the team as it is.
The Grizzlies are fourth in the Western Conference, only three games behind the Los Angeles Clippers. Memphis won't be favorites to win a title, but they've got the pieces to make a deep run in the playoffs at the very least.
When you look at what the team could receive from the Wizards, you have to ask yourself what would be remotely intriguing about the deal. Who does Washington have aside from John Wall that would be attractive in a deal involving Gay?
Draft picks are good, but they aren't enough to warrant parting ways with a player as good as Gay. Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely aren't exactly solid building blocks.
Then you have to look at this deal from Washington's perspective.
Sure, Gay is an upgrade from what the team currently has, but is he worth $37 million over the next two years?
This isn't a team one piece away from contending for the playoffs. Washington's 6-28 on the season, which is the worst record in the league.
While the Wizards need to give Wall a good supporting cast, relying on overpaid veterans has been a strategy that hasn't exactly worked too well in the past.
The six-year, $111 million contract to Gilbert Arenas was one of the worst deals in the history of the NBA. More recently, there was the money paid to Rashard Lewis and now to the trio of Nene, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza.
Washington looks to have absolutely no blueprint for how it wants to build its basketball team.
Memphis, on the other hand, has been very adept at building the Grizzlies into a contender. They shouldn't screw it up now.