Has it really come to this? Two years ago, Memphis made a run in the 2011 Playoffs without Rudy Gay, and immediately fans started calling for the Grizzlies to deal the talented young wing. Then last season, injuries derailed the team from ever really being fully healthy. They memorably flamed out in the first round against the Clippers. Gay shot 8-for-25 in a big Game 4 loss.
I spent time with both Gay and Zach Randolph during the summer of 2011, and both were adamant they could and wanted to play together. It made sense on the surface: Gay was an outside shotmaker who could take some pressure off Z-Bo and Marc Gasol. Yet, it hasn’t worked out that way, and Memphis often wins without all of their best guys playing well at the same time.
Memphis might have too much talent for their own good, and because of the amount of money invested in this team, there were rumors they put feelers out for possible trades for Gay. Now, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports Memphis and Phoenix are having trade discussions regarding one of the most dynamic late-game players in the league.
According to the report, the trade has no current framework (it’s still simply talks at this point) but the Grizzlies are adamant that any deal for Gay should bring back Jared Dudley and future first-round draft picks.
Gay is making nearly $16.5 million this season, and is still owed over $37 million through 2015. Struggling with his shot (less than 41 percent from the floor) and his overall game (a PER of 14.95, which is below the league average) this season, it’s quite obvious the Grizzlies don’t believe it’s worth spending that money on the third-best player (we also can’t forget about the emergence of Mike Conley either) of a No. 4 playoff seed (where they currently stand).
New ownership in Memphis wants to avoid any financial hits during the short term. But Phoenix is owned by Robert Sarver, a penny pincher who could wind up deciding the Suns cannot absorb a contract like Gay’s, even if he’d give them a go-to player who’s been on the verge of making an All-Star team for the past three years.
Should Memphis trade Gay?
Follow Sean on Twitter at @SEANesweeney.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.