If you’ve been following the NBA or the Grizzlies at all, then you’ll know that Memphis forward Rudy Gay is one of the major trade targets in the offseason for a number of teams. Grizzlies’ fans are more than happy to trade him, but only if we get pieces back which help us win now. This is the third installment of our Rudy Gay Trade-a-Thon wherein the SOV writers offer up various trade proposals. Click here for the others.
So we're still talking Rudy Gay trade rumors here at SOV, and I imagine we'll be doing so for most of the summer. After all, he remains the biggest "available" name on the market. And everyone seems to want him, while no one really wants to take on his contract. Such is life.
With that, I figured I'd take a shot at proposing a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves, seeing if we can swing a trade that would work out for both teams. Doing a similar exercise with the entire SB Nation NBA community last week, Canis Hoopus big man on campus Tim Allen put together a Derrick Williams and pick No. 18 in the 2012 NBA Draft for Rudy Gay. I think I'd like to go one further and see if we can add Luke Ridnour into the mix.
Proposal: Timberwolves get Rudy Gay, Grizzlies get Derrick Williams, pick 18 in the 2012 NBA Draft and Luke Ridnour.
The Good: Well, there are a few reasons to like this deal from the Grizzlies' perspective. First, we get back the 2nd overall pick in last years draft in Williams. Now, granted, he didn't look all that impressive in his rookie season, at least not in the stretches in which I actually sat down and watched him play, but he did have his moments. And, as we know, he's loaded with potential. Problem is, he's probably better suited as a power forward, which doesn't really help us because, well, we have about 800 of those on our team. Still, Williams does have some versatility to his game and could probably develop into a better 3-4 hybrid, if necessary. Again, the dude has a ton of potential. Probably not to be great, but to be very good.
What this also gets us is that illusive backup point guard we've been searching for in Ridnour. His game fits our needs. He's an efficient point guard who can pick a few steals, step out and hit a three and he makes his free throws -- what a concept. He also has the ability to step over and play some shooting guard -- not an ideal, but an option.
The other piece in this deal, the No. 18 pick in this year's draft, is more of a luxury. We can probably use this pick to draft someone like John Jenkins, the best shooter in the draft (?), and then use our 25th pick to draft an international player and leave him overseas for a year or two. Again, this is more of a luxury.
The Bad: Well, as I mentioned, we'd still need a small forward. With Williams, a better '4', Zach Randolph, Dante Cunningham and possibly Marreese Speights and Darrell Arthur, we'd be loaded at power forward and left with just Quincy Pondexter at the small forward position. I know Williams can slide over, and we'd probably need him to, but this would also mean letting either Speights or Arthur walk or trading Cunningham to get a small forward -- that, though, won't bring back much in return. So, we'll have to continue to search.
The other option would be to substitute Ridnour in the deal with Martell Webster, but... Yeah, I'm not sure I like that idea either.
Why Minnesota Makes This Trade: You never want to give up the second-overall player in any draft just one year removed from said draft -- Hasheem Thabeet, anyone? -- but with the development of Nikola Pekovic at center, Kevin Love has been able to move back to his more natural power forward position (leaving Darko to stay glued to the bench), which in turn means that Williams doesn't have much of an opening at the '4' in Minnesota. With Gay, they'd get a more natural small forward, one who's a 20-point per game scorer and who is a very underrated defensive player. Now, I know it's tough taking on $50-plus million worth of contracts, but with a core or Ricky Rubio-Wes Johnson-Gay-Love-Pekovic, you have a playoff team right there. Easily. Plus, you have a frontcourt that consists of Gay-Love. (I'll be here all week!)
This to me would seem like a no-brainer for the Timberwolves, as tough as it would be to move on Williams after you used a No. 2 pick to get him just one year ago.
The Bottom Line: As much as I like getting the potential of Williams, a very good veteran backup point guard and a decent draft pick in return, I'm not 100% behind this deal. This one seems close, but I probably need to sleep on it a little more. I just don't like the PF overload and not getting a SF back in this deal. I mean, wouldn't it seem like getting a backup PG via free agency would be a lot easier than getting a starting SF via free agency or the trade market? It would seem so to me.
Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely putting this deal on my radar as one to consider, but like I said I'm still not 100% behind it. Close, though.
What do you guys think? Would you do this deal?