The Memphis Grizzlies were trying to avoid the luxury tax, and that was the deciding factor in sending their biggest star to Toronto in exchange for Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye, and Ed Davis. They let the Cavaliers (who traded for Wayne Ellington, Mareese Speights, and Josh Selby earlier this month) and the Raptors take some of their biggest assets in order to get below that sacred line, and it makes little to no sense.
While it makes sense financially, the move-on both accounts-baffles me. Again, I can’t emphasize enough how much I understand it was a truly financial move, but the basketball side of it makes me scratch my head.
Rudy Gay was arguably the biggest star on the 4th best team in the Western Conference until his move to Toronto. While his numbers were not absolutely outstanding, Gay was the guy Memphis would turn to in the clutch time and would often get the Grizzlies just far enough to get the W.
Here are the Grizzlies, a potential championship contender, who are now without a superstar and quite a few key role players, all thanks to a financial situation. You can blame it on the NBA, you can blame it on the owners, you can blame it on whatever you’d like, but I am going to blame it on the management of the Grizzlies. Of course, being below that line is important, but is it more important than making a championship run and ruining your future? I don’t think so.
First of all, if you’re going to trade Rudy Gay, you better get some quality talent for him. There is quality talent out there for the cheap, and they went with Tayshaun Prince, Ed Davis, and Austin Daye. None of those guys are worth picking up, none of those guys have great potential, and none of those guys are going to make a difference on your basketball team. That’s what makes the Rudy Gay deal so difficult for me to understand. Why not pickup draft picks or young, cheap talent? It makes no sense whatsoever. Memphis is now reeling for a superstar, looking for young talent, and will most likely end up in “NBA Purgatory” for the forseeable future. This is all after they had a legitimate chance to compete for a Championship this season.
For Toronto, the trade makes just as little sense as it made for the Grizzlies. Toronto is currently in the midst of NBA purgatory, and I don’t believe that Rudy Gay is going to be their saving grace. He is a talented guy, but I don’t know if he is good enough to take the Raptors to the next level. Heck, I don’t even know if LeBron could take the Raptors out of purgatory.
The only winners of the trade may have been the Pistons who added Jose Calderon, making them better immediately.
It’s a shame for the Grizzlies that they felt the pressure from the NBA to get below the luxury tax level, but I think their front office could have done an infinitely better job for their franchise. They took themselves from the elite of the West to the trenches of purgatory, which they will not soon get out of. The Raptors on the other hand, were really trying to remove themselves from the aforementioned purgatory, but failed to do so with a high risk, some reward deal. The Pistons, in the unlikeliest of situations, were able to get better by taking the smallest part of the trade. The blame can go all around in this most unfortunate of circumstances for Rudy Gay, the Memphis Grizzlies, and the Toronto Raptors.