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Michael Heisley Guarantees Rudy Gay's Return?

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From the Memphis Commercial Appeal, we have this revealing snippet about the impending Rudy Gay free agency from Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley:

Heisley continues to insist that he is prepared to retain Gay at all costs.

"Rudy is going to be out there. But here's the No. 1 thing: The option on what we pay him is mine," Heisley said. "So when I say we're going to have Rudy next year, that's a pretty good indication that we're going to have him."

Well with that set in stone, we can move forward to Heisley's next, bigger point over the jump...

After learning the Griz failed to move up in the draft lottery and will select 12th, Heisley emphatically declared that his starting unit will remain in tact. His preference is to add an "impact player" through trade, using one or all of the team's three first-round draft picks.

Heisley indicated he's not interested in sign-and-trade deals for Gay. He doesn't sound like a man who is instructing his basketball brain trust to come up with a replacement for Gay in the draft.

So if you are to take Heisley at his word, the only suspense left is how much money will be on the offer sheet the Griz may be forced to match for Gay?

Isn't this interesting! The starting five is remaining in tact. That means Michael Heisley clearly plans on keeping Mike Conley around to continue running the show, which might be a bad thing. But it also means that Heisley probably realizes the Grizz starting five was among the best in the league, and that the bench was the real chink in the Grizzlies armor.

Perhaps that means big dog Heisley reads Straight Outta Vancouver -- OK probably not -- but I'll go out on a limb and say he probably is reading some of the same stuff that I read, namely statistics, which is phenomenal news. Who knows, maybe there's hope for Heisley as a de facto GM yet...