During their preview of the 2013-14 Utah Jazz, Grantland's Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose talked about the possibility of the team acquiring Toronto Raptors forward Rudy Gay in exchange for some expiring contracts.
Take a listen to Simmons' thoughts:
It was little more than a side note in the context of the entire preview, but any trade idea gets my basketball gears grinding and I couldn't help but wonder if anyone else gave it much thought.
So off to ESPN's NBA Trade Machine I went to see exactly what kind of deals involving Gay would be possible. Basically, the salaries would line up if Utah offered any combination of two of the three most expensive expiring deals on the books—those belonging to Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Marvin Williams.
In terms of talent and immediate impact, it's a no-brainer that Utah would come out on top by landing Gay while giving away seemingly so little.
I added that qualifying adverb because what they'd potentially be giving away is some very valuable financial flexibility during the summer of 2014.
Utah is a young team at the start of a rebuilding process—an almost perfectly engineered rebuilding process. Adding the two years and nearly $40 million remaining on Gay's contract would throw a wrench in the plans.
Two of the most important players in those plans appear to be Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors—and negotiations on their extensions was a big theme from Jazz media day. Both are entering the last seasons of their rookie deals and could command $8-10 million a year in their next contracts.
Combine that with an obligation to Gay and all the financial freedom Utah gained this past summer would suddenly be gone.
And aside from the money, Gay wouldn't fit Utah's rebuilding from a basketball perspective either.
He's only 27 years old, and certainly a gifted player, but the last thing this roster needs is an inefficient (Gay took almost 17 shots a game and hit less than 42 percent of them last year) volume scorer who will take opportunities away from Utah's developing young core of Hayward, Favors, Enes Kanter, Alec Burks and Trey Burke.
Those guys need lots of minutes together to develop chemistry and set themselves up for a bright future. Adding a borderline star on an inflated contract unnecessarily complicates things.
If the Jazz make any deal this year, it should be for more low-risk, high-reward young players with little financial obligation attached. Someone like Sacramento's Jimmer Fredette would make sense—a top-tier three-point shooter on the last year of his rookie deal.
So, as good as Bill Simmons is at his job, I think he missed on this trade idea. Gay would help the Jazz win a couple more games in 2013-14, but simply does not fit their long-term plans.
All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference unless otherwise noted.
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