Similar to the thread for the case for Steve Nash to the Raptors, I offer the case for Rudy Gay to the Raptors.
Before I talk about the Raptors acquiring Gay, it is important to talk about why he is a likely trade target. Memphis is a very good NBA team. Unfortunately if they have not already done so, they are about to hit a wall. Here are reasons why:
1) Finances. The Grizzlies have $54M tied up in Gay, Randolph, Gasol, and Conley. They have $62.4M tied up in 9 players for next year - and that does not include a proven backup PG, back up PF or C, bench scoring, or players capable of shooting from 3. The $62.4M also does not include the qualifying offers to Mayo, Speights, or Arthur nor the guaranteed contract of the 25th pick in the draft. 4 of these players makes the team an automatic luxury tax team if those offers are made and pick is kept.
Straight from Michael Heisley's Canadian anthem butchering mouth:
2) Piggy-backing on the finances, the Grizzlies need depth - specifically a backup PG, back up C, three point shooting, and bench scoring. Watching the Grizzlies play in the playoffs the last 2 seasons depth was the difference. If the Grizzlies hope to push beyond the 2nd round of the playoffs, these needs have to be addressed. The problem is since Heisley is not going to be a taxpayer (and miss out on the revenue sharing as a result) they need to address these areas with just $7.9M of salary.Heisley said it's too soon to predict what moves, if any, that the team will make to improve the roster.
He did emphasize, though, that the franchise isn't in position to add much salary.
The Griz have big contracts committed to Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. They have Mike Conley on a modest long-term deal, and will have to make similar tough decisions on several free agents this summer.
"We can't be in the luxury tax business," Heisley said. "We've got to make some financial decisions. That's without question.
3) The argument of Gay-Randolph needing more time together is a false one.
Gay and Randolph can co-exist. There are three problems with the pairing though:Mannix's column is the latest but far from the first to indulge this oversight. Early on, in a column that wonders whether Gay and Randolph can “learn to coexist,” he reports that the Grizzlies finished last season on a 15-10 run after Gay was injured, presumably to suggest how well the team played when Randolph didn't have to share the court with Gay. But how'd they do in the 25 games before Gay was injured? Try 17-8.
More egregious is the column's close: “A full season together would help Gay and Randolph jell — but an early exit means they might not get it.”
If only we could see what it looks like when Randolph and Gay play a full season together. But to do that you have to flash back two whole years, before the Grizzlies returned to the playoffs, a period during which the franchise apparently didn't exist.
That was 2009-2010, Randolph's first season with the Grizzlies, when he and Gay missed a combined three games. Playing together all season — This really happened. You can look it up. — Randolph made his first All-Star team and Gay averaged 20 points on 47% shooting. The team was in the playoff hunt despite having possibly one of the worst benches in NBA history — second-round rookie Sam Young was the sixth man and the only bench player who had any business even playing regular NBA minutes that season. The team had a winning record until Marc Gasol missed the final month with a season-ending injury. The starting lineup of Mike Conley-O.J. Mayo-Gay-Randolph-Gasol was one of the most effective primary lineups in the league that season.
a) they are always going to be one injury to or one bad game from Gay-Gasol-Conley-Randolph away from not being their best,
b) without paying luxury tax, they will have little depht to balance the attack, and
c) to get the most out of one of Gay or Randolph, the other will have to take a back seat - and at $16M-plus per season, that is an expensive seat.
4) Of their four large contracts, Gay is going to return the most value because: Gasol fills the toughest position in basketball (i.e. he is untouchable), Randolph is oldest with a sketchy past and owed $50M over the next 3 years, and Conley is a reasonable contract. Being a small market, non-luxury tax team the Grizzlies need depth over star power. They are going to be a better team with a strong back up PG and C and role players who can space the floor.
5) Gay is the Andrea Bargnani of the Memphis fan base. For many fans the guy can do no right. If he has a good game and loses, they should have gone to Randolph more. If they go to Randolph, he is a bum because he is getting paid max money to put up less than max production. With Memphis taking Randolph on as their adopted son, Gay (and as a result Memphis) is in a lose-lose situation.
So Memphis might trade Gay but why should Toronto be the trade partner with Memphis?
1) Toronto can provide what Memphis needs: role players, high draft pick, and financial relief.
Looking around the league there are rumours of Golden State wanting a star SF. GSW could provide the 7th pick, Klay Thompson, and Dorrell Wright. Unfortunately the numbers would not work and another contract would have to be added to make it work: the options would be Andris Biedrins ($18M, 2 years) or Richard Jefferson ($21.2M, 2 years). Jefferson creates a backlog at SF (and an expensive one at that) with still no backup PG or C. Biendris provides a backup C but one who averages 1.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 16 minutes but shoots 11.1% (no mistype) from the FT line.
Stephen A. Smith is adamant that Philly is going to look to trade Igoudala and mentioned a swap of Gay and AI as a possibility. Personally, I don't see that trade helping Memphis. It still leaves them with numerous holes in