I try not to pay attention to his 40.8 percent shooting from the floor and 31 percent shooting from deep in favor of his athleticism, ability to develop efficiency and understated defense. Though I’m against teams with isolation-heavy scorers pursuing him(cough, the Los Angeles Lakers, cough) I do see him as star who is—wait for it—worth the $34.3 million he is owed between now and next season. I’m not even turned off by the $53.6 million that number will rise to over the next three years if he exercises his $19-plus million player option in 2014.
Give that, I completely understand why any team would pursue him. Especially the Toronto Raptors.
Per Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Raptors continue to make a hard push for the Memphis Grizzlies’ star forward:
The Memphis Grizzlies continue to field calls from teams interested in Rudy Gay and are engaged in active trade discussions with the Toronto Raptors, sources with knowledge of the talks told ESPN.com.
Although the framework of a workable trade has not yet been established, sources told ESPN.com that Toronto — known to be perhaps Gay’s most determined suitor — has continued to make a hard push for the swingman.
The Grizzlies, though, maintain that last week’s luxury-tax-slashing trade with Cleveland means they no longer feel the same pressure to move Gay or another high-priced player before the NBA’s Feb. 21 trade deadline.
New Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien told local reporters late last week that “we really like our team” and that it is “more likely than not that we do nothing” in terms of breaking up Memphis’ marquee foursome of Gay, point guard Mike Conley, forward Zach Randolph and center Marc Gasol.
But sources say that the Raptors, undaunted by that stance, continue to pursue Gay and also covet Grizzlies forward Darrell Arthur. Toronto, sources said, has made veteran point guard Jose Calderon and blossoming young forward Ed Davis available as the two cornerstones of its offer.
I’m more than intrigued at the possibility of Gay joining Toronto. He gives the Raptors the go-to scorer they currently don’t have, which should open things up for guys like Jonas Valanciunas, Landry Fields, Terrence Ross and DeMar DeRozan, among others. Call me crazy, but even at the expense of Jose Calderon and Ed Davis, the Raptors are a playoff team next year with Gay.
But does this make sense for Memphis?
I know that Gay isn’t an All-Star, but he’s a top-tier scorer who has shown no qualms about his diminished offensive production in the wake of playing next to three other star-caliber athletes. Not only do you not find such moral flexibility often, but are the Grizzlies actually willing to part with him for what the Raptors are offering?
Personally, I love Calderon. He’s a superior playmaker and can even play off the ball, which allows him to spend ample time at the shooting guard position. Despite his versatility, I couldn’t see him staying in Memphis to play second-fiddle to Mike Conley. He’s a free agent at season’s end and will likely sign somewhere he can start. Hell, if the Raptors don’t move Kyle Lowry in favor of him, he’ll bolt from Toronto too.
As for Ed Davis, the kid is bursting with potential. He has a nice touch around the basket and his defense is cause for excitement as well.
Yet he and Calderon aren’t enough. Not only is Calderon a flight risk, but neither he nor Davis is the same genre of scorer Gay is. Davis, in particular, could actually wind up clashing with the stylings of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. He occupies the same space as them and even if he were to come off the bench, he just doesn’t have the ability to stretch defenses.
So, if I’m the Grizzlies, I pass on this deal. I remember that Gay is a star who needs to improve, but a star nonetheless.
And what the Raptors are offering is not worthy of relinquishing a star.
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.