Though the Memphis Grizzlies pulled the trigger on a deal that brought them beneath the luxury tax line and eliminated the need to deal Gay, speculation continues to run rampant.
According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, the Grizzlies remain open to moving the star forward and the potentially $50-plus million he is owed to him over the next three years.
While I can admit I’m not surprised a cash-conscious Memphis organization is still amenable to shedding some payroll, I’m thoroughly shocked that the Lakers are reportedly interested.
Per Marc Stein of ESPN.com, Los Angeles, Memphis and the Boston Celtics have had preliminary discussions about a potential three-team swap that would land Gay in Hollywood:
So it’s premature, to me, to throw [Paul] Pierce’s name up there with Rudy Gay and Pau Gasol on the list of high-profile names available this trade season, even though we’ve heard more than one rival team speculate — given that the Celtics and Grizzlies, sources say, have indeed held some exploratory trade talks since Gay hit the market — that a three-way deal where Pierce lands in Memphis, Gasol goes to Boston and Gay joins the Lakers makes “some sense.”
Let’s be clear: This trade probably isn’t happening. That it’s even being discussed, however, is slightly perplexing.
After watching the Lakers rattle off two impressively complete victories, I’m against them blowing up the roster just yet to begin with. They’re finally starting to get healthy and their two-way awareness also seems to be clicking.
That said, I’m ultimately not opposed to change. Victories over the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder are huge, but they mean very little right now. After all, Los Angeles is still outside of the playoff picture.
Should the Lakers ultimately decide to deal Pau Gasol (or anyone else) in favor of another star, I’m against that star being Gay. It’s not that I don’t like him, because I do. He’s a potent scorer who plays decent defense, and God knows the Lakers need defense.
But could Gay and Kobe Bryant really dominate on the same team, within the same lineup?
I’m going to say no. Both are at their best with the ball in their hands and though I’m sure each would welcome the challenge of playing off it more, Los Angeles is more in need of some spot-up shooters than a predominantly self-sufficient scoring threat.
Per hoopdata.com, just 40.8 percent of Gay’s made field-goals come off assists. That’s hardly indicative of a spot-up shooter. Gay prefers to create his own shots and there’s really no more room in Los Angeles for a guy like that, especially when the Lakers are trying to run some form of Mike D’Antoni’s uptempo offense.
I’m also not of the opinion that Gay could suddenly change his ways. He’s shooting just 30.1 percent from beyond the arc this season, so it’s unlikely he suddenly finds success camping outside the rainbow waiting for kick outs.
If the Lakers feel the need to chase more scorers who can also defend, then so be it. But they must make sure those scorers can play the role of spot-up threats in addition to shot-creators.
Gay isn’t one of those scorers. And as such, if Los Angeles truly wants what’s best for its team, it won’t let talk of this acquisition move beyond hypothetical.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.