Will Rudy Gay Come Back to Memphis Grizzlies in 2010-11 Season?

A. Enslen ButlerContributor IMarch 4, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - MARCH 03:  Zach Randolph #50, Mike Conley #11, Marc Gasol #33 congratulate Rudy Gay #22 of the Memphis Grizzlies after picking up a loose ball against the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena on March 3, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

With about 20 games left in the Memphis Grizzlies season, you have to wonder if forward Rudy Gay will still be around for next season.

Gay will become a restricted free agent at the end of this year, so a team can sign Gay, and Memphis will have a chance to match their offer. The two sides tried to agree to a contract extension in the offseason but could not.

I would guess that Gay's idea of a "fair offer" far surpassed what the Grizzlies were willing to pay.

Fast forward to this year.
Gay is a key member, but not the most valuable member of a surprising Grizzlies team that has exceeded expectations.
Despite averaging a little over 20 points per game and playing almost 40 minutes a night, Zach Randolph has emerged as the leader of this year's team.
But Gay will want to be paid like an elite NBA player. The big question: Will Memphis pay him like an elite NBA player? He said that he is looking for a five-year, $50 million contract extension in November.
Clearly, Memphis was unwilling to hit that number. But Memphis has said they will make him a qualifying offer in the offseason and will match any contract he is offered.

What if a team overpays for Gay?

For example, let's say the New York Knicks do not land LeBron James, Chris Bosh, or Dwyane Wade. Now that they have a ton of cap space and see a 20-point scorer on the market, they offer a max or near-max deal to Gay to appease their fanbase.

Will Memphis really match that?

Gay has already said that he would have no problems playing on a team for the right price, even the woeful New Jersey Nets.
"The record doesn't mean much when you're dealing with a team," Gay said to The Bergen Record. "You're thinking about yourself and how you can contribute, and that's what other teams think. Wherever you feel like you're wanted the most, that's where you're going to be."
It might turn out that Memphis missed their chance to lock up Gay for $10 million a year. In passing on his demands, the Grizzlies gambled that no other team would be willing to match the contract when he tests the market.
It's tough to watch a 20-point-a-game scorer walk out the door for nothing. But that might just happen.

So what do you think? Should the team re-sign Gay?

If so, what kind of contract would you offer him? Let me know by posting in the comments section.


Note: You can listen to my weekly podcast about the Grizzlies, Memphis Grizzlies Report.