Rudy Gay Trade Rumors: Trading Bradley Beal for Gay Would Hurt Wizards Long Term

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2013

Rudy Gay is the subject of various trade rumors
Rudy Gay is the subject of various trade rumorsMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Wizards have made plenty of personnel mistakes. Trading Bradley Beal away would just be another in a long line.

By now, most basketball fans have read that Beal could possibly be involved in a trade bringing Rudy Gay to Washington, per Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

After making the playoffs in the 2007-08 season, the Wizards have only won a total of 88 out of a possible 312 games. This year hasn't been much better, as their 6-28 record is the worst in the league.

Gay would be an immediate improvement, but you have to ask what the cost of bringing him is in the long term.

Next to John Wall, Beal is one of Washington's best young players. He's averaging a little over 13 points a game and has illustrated a maturity wise beyond his 19 years of age.

Now, it's not as bad as the Gilbert Arenas' six-year, $124 million contract, but getting rid of Beal would continue to provide further proof of the ineptitude of Wizards' management.

First, there was the trade that landed Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor in Washington, and now this? It's as if the Wizards don't have any blueprint whatsoever for how to build a basketball team.

Without a doubt, Wall is in need of help. He hasn't shown the kind of jump you want to see as a promising point guard. The longer the team struggles, the more Wall stagnates and wants to leave when his contract expires.

At 22 years old, Wall still has time to develop and be a franchise player for Washington.

To a certain extent, it's encouraging for Wizards fans that the team is looking to try and improve. But what will Gay bring to this team to make it demonstrably better?

Depending on your opinion of Wall, Gay would come in and be either the best or second-best player on the team.

In past years, that might have worked out. This year, however, is statistically one of the worst of Gay's career.

Outside of his rookie year, when he only started 43 games, Gay's PER, true shooting and effective field-goal percentages and points per game have never been lower.

While he could improve with Wall instead of Mike Conley supplying him, that jump is not going to be significantly high.

Washington's not going anywhere this year, and even with a low draft pick in next year's draft, it won't be a contender in the East in 2013-14.

So the organization would be paying Gay $37 million over the next two years in order to try and finish somewhere around .500.

Gay is a bit like Joe Johnson. They're both very talented, but they don't have the fit of a player who should be the first option in a team's offense. They can both be big fishes in small ponds.

Johnson put up good scoring totals, but he was substantially overpaid. And the Atlanta Hawks never managed to get past the conference semifinals.

It's been overpaying veterans like Okafor, Ariza and Rashard Lewis that has gotten the Wizards in the situation they're in.

Trading Beal and bringing in another expensive veteran would only continue the team's downward slide.