New Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien told local reporters late last week that “we really like our team” and that it is “more likely than not that we do nothing” in terms of breaking up Memphis’ marquee foursome of Gay, point guard Mike Conley, forward Zach Randolph and center Marc Gasol.
But sources say that the Raptors, undaunted by that stance, continue to pursue Gay and also covet Grizzlies forward Darrell Arthur. Toronto, sources said, has made veteran point guard Jose Calderon and blossoming young forward Ed Davis available as the two cornerstones of its offer.
Other teams remain engaged with the Grizzlies as well, as Memphis officials continue to weigh whether it is best to trade Gay or keep together the core of a team that has ranked among the top four in the Western Conference.
If talks with the Raptors do progress, according to sources, it’s possible that a trade with Memphis could expand to include other teams and players. NBA front-office sources have maintained for weeks that Calderon (who has an expiring contract), fellow Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry (only $1 million in guaranteed salary next season) and former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani all are available.
If this happens, it will be a highly questionable move by Colangelo, who already has swingmen like DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross on the roster. With Gay’s contract going even beyond Bargnani’s, and his overall star falling in recent times, this looks like a panic-move more than anything. Perhaps it’s Colangelo eyeing Boston’s injury situation and speculating that the Raptors’ unlikely playoff push has become more reasonable, while seeing this as a move that might get the team over the hump. In any case, fans can’t be happy with Ed Davis being the guy on the block. Regardless of what you might think of him, his growth this year has been staggering.
The small forward has been a big problem for a number of years, but whether Gay is the answer (especially at this rate) is debatable. This move sounds like a classic case of “buying high” in terms of salary, but on the other hand, given the problems Toronto has had getting people to come here, a player who comes in with a long-term contract secured is a bonus. I suppose this is the “accelerated” part of the rebuild that Colangelo mentioned, and with Lowry not working out, this appears to be the course correction deemed appropriate. On the plus side, Gay is 26 and could be the scorer that the Raptors desperately need to step up in late-game situations.
We might’ve missed out on Carter/McGrady, maybe DeRozan/Gay will have to do. And can you imagine if somehow Bargnani was included in this deal? That would mean the Raptors would have swapped the #1 pick for the #8 pick six years later.
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