Separating fact from fiction with NBA trade rumors right now is impossible. Teams have so much time to decide where they want to take their roster, so anything and everything has to be on the table in the weeks leading up to February 21.
Most teams have a realistic understanding of where they are at right now, though there might be a handful who have an over-inflated sense of worth just because of the name on the front of the jersey.
As we inch closer to the trade deadline, here are the biggest rumors floating around the NBA and our take on what it means.
Washington and Memphis talking shop
The hottest name on the market right now is Memphis star Rudy Gay, who leads the team in scoring at 17.8 points per game. He is not shooting particularly well, just 41.4 percent this season, and his salary is escalating in a hurry.
According to Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Grizzlies are entertaining all offers but would have to be blown away to take any deal.
According to a person with knowledge of those conversations, Gay is likely to remain a Grizzly through the end of this season. The message to Gay at the moment is that if he is dealt by the league's Feb. 21 trade deadline, then the Griz will have been offered a no-brainer scenario.
For example, the Griz have entertained the Washington Wizards' offer for Gay. The crux of that exchange would have the Griz receiving rookie shooting guard Bradley Beal in a larger package.
Beal does have tremendous upside, and is averaging a respectable 13.3 points per game despite shooting just 37.5 percent from the field, but he is not at the level Gay is right now.
The Wizards need to add some star power, so it makes sense from their side that they would try to offer a young player with a good contract to land a player like Gay. Just don't expect the Grizzlies to dump one of their best players.
Toronto wants to talk with Memphis
In the never-ending Rudy Gay saga, Marc Stein of ESPN.com has reported that the Toronto Raptors are doing all they can to at least get a serious dialogue going with the Grizzlies about the star small forward.
Sources told ESPN.com this week that the Raptors -- who tried to make a play for Gay before the 2012 NBA draft -- remain seriously "interested" in the Grizzlies' leading scorer and are trying to assemble trade packages to bring the 26-year-old to Toronto after preliminary talks with Memphis.
Stein also says that the Raptors could look to trade Jose Calderon—who has been on the trade block so long that he might as well build a house on the street—and Ed Davis.
Calderon is the better player, obviously, but the Grizzlies already have a point guard playing really well. Mike Conley is averaging 13 points and 6.1 assists per game and is cheaper than Calderon.
The most appealing thing Calderon has going for him, at least as far as the Grizzlies are concerned, is an expiring contract of $10.6 million (per HoopsHype.com).
Remember, the reason that Gay is even being talked about as a potential trade chip right now is because the Grizzlies are trying to keep from paying into the luxury tax (via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports).
In an effort to avoid paying luxury tax in the short term, as well as get off the $17.8 million and $19.3 million owed Gay in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, new Memphis management has aggressively shopped Gay.
The Raptors have struggled on the court this season, posting a 14-23 record. However, they are still averaging a respectable 17,977 fans per game (via ESPN.com), which is 13th in the NBA.
Considering how bad the Raptors have been, not to mention the complete lack of star power on the roster, the fact they can still draw is a testament to how strong the fans feel about this team and this sport.
Gay would give them a legitimate drawing card, someone the franchise can market around. It all depends on what kind of deal Toronto is able to put together, not to mention how much the Grizzlies might feel dealing one of their biggest stars will change the foundation of what they have built.
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