Reports leaked earlier this morning via Grantland.com that Rudy Gay of the Memphis Grizzlies was available for trade – though given that the Grizzlies have a 20-9 record and that Gay is essentially their best offensive player, a move seems difficult to piece together.
Still – with the Grizzlies over the luxury tax – something most non-major market teams attempt to avoid, it appears as if Memphis is at the least seeing what type offers they can get in exchange for their seven year veteran.
For the Sacramento Kings, who earlier today were rumored to have put Tyreke Evans on the block – it’s a perfect scenario, as Evans, who stared at the University of Memphis, could fill the two-guard void currently held by the Grizzlies.
A potential swap of Gay and Evans fills so many holes for the Kings, who lack a true small forward like Gay and a efficient perimeter threat, even though Gay has struggled with his three point shooting this season. Unfortunately, the move doesn’t fill as many holes for the Grizzlies as Evans comes with a handful of question marks, despite being an improvement over their current two-guard, Tony Allen.
Potential offers, you ask (and yes, all of these work contractually)?
Rudy Gay & Josh Selby for Tyreke Evans, Francisco Garcia and Aaron Brooks – One of the main reasons for the Grizzlies exploring a Gay trade is due to Rudy’s excessive paycheck, a salary that will pay Gay nearly $17 million dollars for the next three plus seasons. Acquiring Francisco Garcia (assuming Evans is the centerpiece for the Kings) is a must given Evans’ low salary and Garcia’s hefty, although expiring (team option) contract. The addition of Aaron Brooks, who has a player option for next season would give the Grizzlies a solid backup point to spell Mike Conley. It’s an ideal move for the Kings, though, the Grizzlies would most likely ask for more.
Rudy Gay & Quincy Pondexter for Tyreke Evans, Francisco Garcia and Marcus Thornton – This might be a move that the Grizzlies would be more open to doing, though, the price is high for Sacramento and Memphis still could easily balk. The addition of Marcus Thornton gives the Grizzlies the perimeter threat they’ll lose in Gay and also gives them more balance, though with Tony Allen already on the roster – it would create a bit of a backcourt logjam. It’s doubtful that Sacramento would part with Thornton and Evans in a deal, despite Thornton’s struggles this year – and it’s doubtful Memphis would be willing to tie up money in both Thornton and Evans, though Tony Allen’s expiring contract could be replaced by Thornton at season end.
Rudy Gay & Quincy Pondexter for Tyreke Evans, Francisco Garcia and Thomas Robinson – A hefty price to pay for Sacramento, who’d part with not only Evans but their most recent draft pick in Thomas Robinson. The Grizzlies are plenty fine in the frontcourt, but the addition of Robinson would certainly peak their interest as Zach Randolph wont live forever and a backup plan in Robinson would certainly intrigue the Grizzlies’ new ownership and give them a solid piece if they’re unable to retain Evans past next season. For Sacramento, the price – despite the talent Rudy Gay possesses, seems excessive, making that deal unlikely on Sacramento’s part.
Rudy Gay for Tyreke Evans, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt – The most likely of any of the scenarios (at least from Sacramento’s standpoint) as the deal works financially and doesn’t cripple Memphis’ desire to cut salary. Garcia is essentially an expiring deal and Honeycutt is hardly making enough to buy a box of crackers – all but making the deal Gay for Evans. Sadly, despite how good it looks for Sacramento, it’s a painful deal for the Grizzlies as Evans is the only prize of the trade. They could ask for the Kings first rounder which would increase the chances, but does Sacramento pull the trigger?
All in all, despite Rudy Gay’s perfect fit for Sacramento and the addition of a “cheap” “hometown (college)” talent in Evans for Memphis, it just doesn’t appear to have the legs to work without a third team or some heavy budging by one side. Evans will be due for a contractual increase shortly, be it this year or next and has a history of nagging injuries. No, he wont command the $16 million a year Gay is – so a straight swap does give the Grizzlies the salary relief they’d be looking for as well as a young talent, though are they willing to invest in Evans as their next “star”? Seems hard to imagine – though I’m sure this wont be the last we hear of this potential swap.