Mar 16, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Milwaukee Bucks point guard Monta Ellis (11) dribbles the ball against the Golden State Warriors during the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Milwaukee defeated Golden State 120-98. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE
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. Thus, we begin our Rudy Gay Trade-a-Thon where the SOV writers offer up various trade proposals. I'm begining by elaborating on an idea that I proposed in the comments of another thread: Rudy Gay for Monta Ellis.
The Good: Assuming that we lose O.J. Mayo in free agency (for the record, I think we should let him walk or try to get something in a sign-and-trade), Ellis replaces OJ as both a PG/SG as well as a microwave scorer. Further, at his best, Ellis is better than Rudy Gay at his best; his career PER, True Shooting %, and Effective Field Goal % are all better than Gay's. He's less than a year older than Gay and has been fairly durable throughout his career, despite consistently finishing near the top of minutes played per game. While we tend to think of him as an inefficient gunner, much of this is the result of being forced into the primary scoring option for the majority of his teams. In fact, he was extremely productive when he played on those "We Believe"-Warriors' teams alongside Baron Davis, Jason Richardson, Stephen Jackson, Matt Barnes, and Al Harrington. On that team, he was maybe the 3rd option on offense and was an incredibly efficient scorer (I recall Tom Ziller comparing him to a young Dwayne Wade). On the Grizzlies, he could go back to the role where he experienced the most success. From a financial standpoint, it's also a positive, as he makes $4 million less a year than Gay and has one less year on his contract.
The Bad: Even at his best, Ellis is a downgrade from Rudy Gay defensively. Further, his overall floor game is also signficantly worse than Rudy's. His lack of size creates problems for the team's defense as a whole; we'd be forced give Tony and Mike fewer minutes or play Tony at the 3, where he's undersized. While he willingly deferred to his teammates earlier in his career, there's no guarantee that he wouldn't sabotage the offense. Likewise, he's not the best of teammates off the floor and has been labeled as a cancer. Although Lionel Hollins has thus far shown a real knack for getting these kind of knuckleheads to buy into the team as a whole, it's possible that Ellis is forceful enough to tip the scales and disrupt the entire team's chemistry. I think we'd all rather not see another Allen Iverson-type situation.
Why Milwaukee Makes This Trade: Despite the fact that they'd be taking on more salary, this trade makes sense for them. They'd no longer have to worry about a small backcourt with two ball-dominating guards fighting over possessions. Rudy Gay is also a much better defender than he's given credit for, and certainly a massive upgrade over Ellis, which makes sense for Scott Skiles' defensive-mindset. Though he hasn't impressed in terms of leadership, Gay isn't a cancer either, and a brings a more positive attitude to the Bucks' lockerrom. Finally, there's a number of solid 2-guards in the draft for the Bucks to replace Ellis' minutes with.
The Bottom Line: Trading for Monta Ellis is a terrifying propostion, but in spite of all the negatives, I like this trade. Coach Hollins has earned my trust when it comes to getting players to fall into line, and the extra cap space would allow the team to resign either Speights or Arthur (I prefer Arthur). We'd need to find someone in either the draft or free agency who could help fill the hole at the 3. However, we wouldn't need someone spectacular, just a guy who gave us solid defense and reliable outside shooting. If I'm Chris Wallace and this deal is on the table, I say take it.
Would you do this deal?