The Memphis Grizzlies will actively pursue trades until they can find a taker for small forward Rudy Gay and the remaining $38 million left on his original five-year deal signed in 2010.
One of the newest teams to emerge as an active participant in talks for Gay—the Charlotte Bobcats—are a perfect fit for Gay, Memphis' trade demands and the other players who would be involved in a potential deal.
According to Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld, the Bobcats are making an aggressive push for the talented winger, and owner Michael Jordan recognizes this is the time to make a splash for his club:
You can go ahead and count the Charlotte Bobcats as one of the teams that are "aggressively" pursuing Rudy Gay -- may not have enough— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 19, 2013
As Kyler notes, it's going to be somewhat difficult for the Bobcats to both find the kind of players that Memphis wants in return and make salaries match. For that reason, this deal is going to take some creativity, maybe even pulling a third team in to help facilitate some of the money.
Still, the Grizzlies would be getting a high draft pick in return in any deal, and that might force them to be creative as well if they really want to shed this salary.
On paper, Gay's presence on the Bobcats would be exactly what Jordan wants in his franchise.
Averaging 17.9 points in his seven-year career with the Grizzlies, Gay is a proven scorer that doesn't mind taking on the load. Now, his salary is too much to justify his production in Memphis—especially with the offense running through point guard Mike Conley, power forward Zach Randolph and center Marc Gasol.
He would regain the role of go-to guy in Charlotte, and immediately take on some scoring punch that the two guards—Ramon Sessions and Kemba Walker—have had to exude for the Bobcats to be successful this season.
This isn't the first time Charlotte has made a push for Gay. In June, it was rumored (via SI.com) that it was dangling the No. 2 pick in the draft for his services. Looking back, that would have likely been a better deal, but the Grizzlies can still get what they want here.
Here's a look at a potential trade, courtesy of ESPN's Trade Machine. It's only a two-team deal, but it works in terms of expiring contracts heading back to the Grizzlies. Since the program doesn't allow draft picks to be traded, picture a future first heading to the Grizzlies as well in this deal.
Since Memphis is looking for a cheap, young wing to take Gay's place, Gerald Henderson could be that kind of player. He's shown flashes of being a quality, steady player for a team with other pieces in place, and that's exactly what Memphis needs.
It's unclear what kind of other offers Memphis has been getting, but a first-round pick and Henderson has to make more sense than ball-stopper Michael Beasley from Phoenix.
One potential snag in Charlotte is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft. He's had an up-and-down season but has shown plenty of promise to develop into a steady player, and Gay being here could impact his progress as a player.
However, Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap hasn't been opposed to playing MKG and fellow draft pick Jeffery Taylor at times—something that could be extenuated with Gay in town.
As the trade deadline inches closer and teams start to get more desperate, we'll continue to hear rumors of where these big-name players will land. None are bigger than Gay, and the Bobcats are always looking to add star power to a roster that pales in comparison to the owner's accomplishments.
Most NBA rosters do, but the Bobcats have been especially frustrating yet again so far in this 2012-13 season. Gay would help solve some of the problems in town, and as a Bobcat for the next three years, he might be able to will the team to the playoffs in the coming future.
Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team.