After watching OKC steamroll Memphis last night, it’d be easy to say the Grizzlies screwed up by trading their best perimeter shotmaker, and the guy they normally go to in tight games. Then again, they saved money by giving away Rudy Gay, and got back a few decent pieces in Tayshaun Prince and Ed Davis.
Memphis was in a tough spot, pressed by their mounting financial concerns that were heightened by a desire to still win. Many, including myself, see this as a sideways move, but in the end, a move that would’ve been made this summer if not now. Lionel Hollins doesn’t sound like he’s one of those people.
The coach sounded off about the reasoning behind Memphis’ latest moves (don’t forget about the dumping of Marreese Speights and Wayne Ellington) to reporters in Oklahoma City, and made an interesting analogy between the trades and alcoholic beverages.
Hollins told The Oklahoman:
“When you have champagne taste, you can’t be on a beer budget. It’s a small market and I understand the economics of being in a small market. I’ve been with the Grizzlies for 11 years in Memphis. Rudy Gay has been a big part of our success. I’ve known him as a kid as a rookie coming in. He’s a big part of my success as a coach here and I feel I was a big part of his success and I wish him the best as he moves forward into the second chapter of his career.”
Moving forward, I’m not concerned about how this trade affects the Grizzlies. I figured they’d be a dangerous No. 4 or 5 seed that would inevitably lose in the most excruciating way possible in the playoffs (check the last two years), with or without Gay. I’m more interested to see what Rudy Gay does in Toronto. For the first time since very early in his career, the 6-8 swingman is the unquestioned go-to guy. Along with Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross (and Jonas Valanciunas when he returns), he’s playing on a team that should – in theory – get up and down the floor. With that roster, Gay will spend time playing at the four, a move that’ll benefit him considering he’s never been a great outside shooter. With his spectacular finishing ability, as well as that 7-3 wingspan and an unblockable pull-up jumper, if Gay’s ever going to reach his potential, it’ll probably be with this Raptors roster.
However, back in Memphis, Hollins just lost one of his favorite guys and his leading scorer. The head coach will have to get a little more creative with his rotation.
Did the Grizzlies make the right move?
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