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Grizzlies Trade Gay to Raptors

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

The Grizzlies unloaded their expensive forward in a three-team deal that netted them Detroit’s Tayshaun Prince and more.

Grizzlies Trade Gay to Raptors

Yesterday, the Memphis Grizzlies traded their leading scorer, forward Rudy Gay, to the Toronto Raptors in a three-team, six-player trade. Detroit was the third team involved, and here's how the trade shook down:

Memphis: Received Tayshaun Prince, Ed Davis, Austin Daye, 2013 second-round pick, and cash. Traded Rudy Gay and Hamed Haddadi.

Toronto: Received Rudy Gay, Hamed Haddadi. Traded Jose Calderon, Ed Davis, 2013 second-round pick, cash.

Detroit: Received Jose Calderon. Traded Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye.

At first glance, this appears like a big win for Memphis, a big risk for Toronto, and an adequate financial decision for Detroit. Memphis was not going to be able to keep their core of Gay, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley Jr. and Zach Randolph in tact under the new salary cap. The trade they made last week, sending Marreese Speights, Josh Selby, Wayne Ellington and a first-round pick to Cleveland for Jon Leuer, was a salary dump to get under the salary tax. This move was a similar in financial motivations, but they got much more in return than just financial flexibility under the cap.

Gay was Memphis' leading scorer at 17.2 points a game, but he was such a streaky and inconsistent scorer that the contract didn't justify the shaky production. They replace him with a much cheaper alternative in veteran forward Tayshaun Prince, who isn't nearly as flashy but will fit in nicely with Memphis on both ends of the floor. They also were able to land Davis, a promising young forward, from Toronto to add frontcourt depth behind Gasol and Randolph. Davis has produced well whenever he's been on the court, and he's still very young. Daye is on the final year of his rookie contract and still has potential, but is running out of time to show it.

To get a solid return while unloading a large contract like that has to be a win for Memphis. While offensively they will look much different without a player that can score so naturally like Gay, they don't drop off defensively and can become even more post-heavy down low. You also can't 

For Toronto, it makes sense to unload Calderon before the deadline, but acquiring someone with a huge deal like Gay's when so much is tied up in Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan (not to mention guaranteed deals for players like Landry Fields and Amir Johnson). Unless Rudy Gay becomes a much better player than he was in Memphis (a possibility), Toronto will be on the wrong side of this trade. 

All three of Toronto's big-contract players are volume shooters. Things could get awkward when they all need to get their touches, especially if none of them become more efficient with their scoring or shot selection. Getting this back for such a great trade asset in Calderon, while also having to let go of Davis, just screams "future regret" to me.

Detroit made out pretty well in a basic sense on the trade. They get Calderon for the remainder of the season, who will be a good influence on point guard of the future Brandon Knight during his time there. They also part ways with Prince and his contract and can move on from the mistake of drafting Austin Daye two years ago. The money off the books this summer still has to be used wisely by GM Joe Dumars, but he at least has that opportunity again.

So the predictive winners of this trade are Memphis and Detroit, while Toronto looks like the clear runner-up. But that all still hinges on Gay. If he can be the star that his contract would say he is, Toronto might have something. But this trade, and Gay's contract, could set them back a few years if it backfires.

Who do you think made out best in the trade? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

Let CHARGED.fm get you tickets to see the Memphis Grizzlies all season long.


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