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 fourth installment of our Rudy Gay Trade-a-Thon wherein the SOV writers offer up various trade proposals. Click here for the others.
The Golden State Warriors are desperately looking for some star power, and if they can’t land Dwight Howard they would love to have Rudy Gay. The Warriors also want to unload at least one and perhaps more of their four 2012 draft picks, and would happily package them with a combination of players – including David Lee – to make a trade happen.
Now, the Grizzlies don’t necessarily need David Lee. The Grizzlies lack real depth at the guard position, not at the forward spot, and Lee’s contract is for $55mil over the next 4 years as opposed to Rudy’s $54mil over the next 3, which doesn’t help much in terms of the luxury tax threshold long-term.
Dorell Wright can shoot the ball from anywhere. He’s a guy who, unlike so many other pieces the Grizzlies would be able to get in return for Rudy Gay, would actually be able to play at the small forward spot next year. If the Warriors could be talked into giving up Wright and Klay Thompson, another great rookie who can shoot lights-out, you’re talking a seriously big upgrade for the Grizzlies, and that’s without even taking the Warriors’ draft pick.
Going Trade Machine Guru with a Gay-to-Golden State trade and bringing in a third team – the example I used was the Hornets – shows that something like Rudy Gay and Emeka Okafor to Golden State, David Lee (and maybe the 7th pick) to New Orleans, and Klay Thompson, Jarrett Jack, and the mummified corpse of Andris Biedrins to Memphis would not only work but would also increase the Grizzlies’ projected win total by 3.
The Bad: David Lee is not a player I want in a Grizzlies uniform. He can score, yes, and he’s a good player, but he – not unlike Rudy Gay, who we’d ostensibly be trying to get rid of – is overpaid for what he is. He’s a guy whose name always comes up in conversation as one of the best players in the league, who seemingly got that praise without actually having to play that well.
The other thing is Biedrins. The Warriors aren’t going to want to make any sort of move without getting out from under Biedrins’ contract, and while he and Marc Gasol might get along well, Biedrins plays basketball about as well as Fred Munster at this point, and is only marginally more attractive. By all appearances, Biedrins is washed up, but he’s washed up to the tune of $9mil over 2 years. Still far less money than Rudy Gay will be making, but not cheap for a guy who isn’t as good as Hamed Haddadi.
The Warriors love Klay Thompson, and rightfully so, and probably wouldn’t get rid of him, meaning Dorell Wright is a more likely candidate for a trade, but Thompson’s a better shooter and has a higher ceiling at this point. Maybe, skittish about Stephen Curry’s ankles, we could arrange some sort of sign-and-trade with OJ Mayo for Curry in addition to Gay for Wright, but that seems unlikely. (But boy, wouldn’t Curry make a great shooting guard?)
Why Golden State Makes This Trade: The Golden State Warriors have a new stadium in San Francisco on the way. They have new ownership, they’ve gotten rid of Monta Ellis and brought in Andrew Bogut to change the team’s identity into something tougher, and now they need to bring in star power – a big, young name to put butts in the seats and bring the Warriors back to relevance in the Western Conference. This is a team that’s made the playoffs twice in the last twenty years and needs to get some sort of building process in place, and Rudy is a young guy you can build around.
The Bottom Line: The Grizzlies have to get out from under Rudy Gay’s contract, new owner or no new owner, OJ Mayo staying or OJ Mayo going. Without spending into the luxury tax – which, let’s be honest, probably ain’t happening – there’s no way to keep Rudy Gay in Beale Street Blue and still fill up the rest of the roster with anything but scrubs and D-Leaguers. The Grizzlies are in "win now" mode, trying to take advantage of a small window where this team can do great things, but they need pieces other than Rudy Gay in order to make that happen.
It’s a win-win for both teams, as long as the Grizzlies get either the Warriors’ 7th pick or someone like Wright or Thompson who can be a consistent perimeter shooting threat – something this Grizzlies team has never had.
Would you do this deal?