USA TODAY Sports
With the trade deadline weeks away and an offseason around the corner, maybe Memphis should've waited.
The Memphis Grizzlies finally moved Rudy Gay last week. Not only did the trade come after the team shopped him harder than a 'Pekovic screen' for months, it also came a week after they had already cleared roughly $6 million in salaries by trading Mareese Speights et al to Cleveland. That move allowed them to get under the salary cap for the rest of the season and avoid the hefty luxury tax this summer.
If you follow me on Twitter or have stumbled onto BlogNBAsketball recently, you'll know where I stand on this. I think Memphis was too close to contending to just start stripping salary. This group was one consistent long-range SG away from reaching elite status.
Assuming another trade isn't coming to gut this team of even more talent, I mean salary, the Grizzlies probably could've waited until the offseason to move Gay and gotten a similar deal. Who knows, they may even have gotten a better one.....
While the Grizzlies got some nice young pieces back in Ed Davis and Austin Davis (both still on rookie deals) they did also have to take back Joe Dumars' latest free agent regret, Tayshaun Prince. While I do like how 'TP' fits into the defensive identity down in Memphis, his contract does have one more year on it at $7.7 million. If Tayshaun makes it past next year's February trade deadline, I'll be shocked.
Though they didn't get a 'bad' deal, I do think Memphis was better suited to wait on this one. With the exception of a few examples, there's always a better market in the offseason than at the trade deadline. February transactions are for teams who want to add that one piece for a playoff run or for teams who fear losing their own free agents in the summer. The Memphis Grizzlies were neither.
The same names they received would've likely been available on Draft Night, with maybe also a rookie or two thrown in. Even if Grizz management didn't want to wait until the summer to move Rudy Gay, they could've at least waited a few more weeks. A team like the Raptors may have been even more desperate to get Rudy as the clock ticked closer to February 21st. Every blogger on the internet knows they've been in love with Gay for months.
A team like the Minnesota Timberwolves, with a lot of young talent that it's not sold on, would likely have been a viable trade partner. Derrick Williams will always be available but maybe they could've even pryed Alexey Shved from their Euro-loving grips. How about a team like the Atlanta Hawks? GM Danny Ferry has filled his roster with piles of expiring contracts. Memphis may have gotten some young assets (Teague? Jenkins? a rehabbing 'Sweet Lou'?) without taking on a deal that runs past this summer. You never know what could've happened, but the options would've likely been better.
So, while the number-crunchers in Memphis rejoice and Lionel laments, I sit back and take the side of Hollins on this one.
The Grizz fans (and their team's coach) deserved that "champagne taste".....for a few more months at least.