Teams that are winning games at almost at 70% clip generally are buyers, not sellers, on the trade market. But the Memphis Grizzlies appear to be bucking that trend with the news that they are shopping small forward Rudy Gay. Is this a wise move for the Griz?
In one word: absolutely. What – you're still here?! You expect me to say more on the subject?! Ok, fine. If you are a believer in advanced stats like Wins Produced (which I am), Gay has been a below average player for his career. And this year he has been just abysmal. But, the one thing he does do above average is the one thing that fans, GMs, media types, etc. etc. tend to overvalue and that is… (drumroll please)… score. Rudy Gay is a decent scorer. The fact that he is an above average scorer only because he takes an above average number of shots seems to be beside the point to most people, though. Scorers get the accolades, the chicks, and the money.
And Rudy Gay definitely gets the money, which is the main reason Memphis should do anything they can to get him off their books. Gay's $16.5 million salary this season makes him the 17th highest paid player in the NBA, and the third highest paid small forward (now that LeBron and Carmelo are primarily power forwards), slightly behind Paul Pierce ($16.8 million) and Kevin Durant ($16.7). And for those keeping score at home, Piece and Durant are far better players than Gay is, was or ever will be. But it gets worse – Memphis is on the hook for $17.9 million to Gay next season, and a $19.3 million player option the year after that. So Rudy Gay gets paid like an elite player, despite being an average player at best. And in a league with a salary cap and luxury tax, that is not a good thing.
If Memphis can find someone to take Gay off their hands, then they should jump at the chance. While it might look to the outside world that they would be raising the white flag on this season, a trade would help them not just financially, but on the court as well.