Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Trading Rudy Gay will hurt the Grizzlies short term.
Before their two January trades, the Grizzlies looked like a dark-horse championship contender. While they are still a competitive team in the West, their moves have clearly set the team back this season.
Rudy Gay was traded by the Grizzlies in order to save money and maintain future cap flexibility. In return, they received Tayshaun Prince from the Pistons and Ed Davis from the Raptors.
Prince is a solid defender and is shooting over 40 percent from behind the arc this season, but he is definitely not the player Gay is. At 32 he is no longer an excellent athlete, and he lacks the ability to create his own shot. Gay's absence will force Memphis to find scoring from other players, likely Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
While receiving Ed Davis in the deal offers the Grizzlies a good backup post player, the Grizzlies already had one before their trade with the Cavaliers.
In another money-saving deal, the Grizzlies traded Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby for Jon Leuer. Speights and Ellington were giving the Grizzlies roughly 13 points per game off the bench, while Leuer has barely played.
Because of their need to save money, the Grizzlies have basically replaced Gay with Prince and Speights with Davis, while not replacing Wayne Ellington's six points per game.
Prince is clearly a downgrade from Gay, and Davis and Speights are essentially even in their per minute numbers. While the Grizzlies have fixed many of their long-term financial issues, their record this season will suffer.