Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay is the hot name on the trade market this year, and there have been a number of teams linked to him thus far. Apparently, you can add the Washington Wizards to that list. Via former ESPN reporter and current CSN Bay Area anchor Ric Bucher.
Add the Washington Wizards to the list of teams that are in the mix for the services of Grizzlies small forward Rudy Gay, according to a league source. Not clear on what the Wizards' offer might be but was told it was "a good one."
Before you dismiss this offhand, Bucher was the first to report that Nene would return to game action against the Atlanta Hawks. I think he's earned at least some trust here.
At the same time, I'm really not sure what the Wizards can offer Memphis. The Grizzlies are trying to move Gay to get under the luxury tax this year and in the future, but they also want to take back a reasonable amount of talent, including young talent. Ideally, they get even better by taking back cheaper players that fit with their post-oriented attack more seamlessly and younger players that allow them to stay competitive for longer. It's a scaled-down version of what the Oklahoma City Thunder did when trying to trade James Harden.
What could the Wizards really offer that serves both of those goals? I assume Bradley Beal is off the table -- if he goes in a Gay trade, I would be screaming to the rafters. The Grizzlies don't need Emeka Okafor because they're deep up front. Trevor Ariza, I'd think, would be involved, only because he would replace Gay in the Grizzlies' lineup and makes enough money ($7.3 million) to help get to Gay's $16.5 million salary. That's a start, I guess.
But then who else gets moved? Jordan Crawford? Kevin Seraphin? Chris Singleton? Trevor Booker? Jan Vesely? One would think it'd be some combination of those players, but other than Crawford, who would Memphis even want? (And would they even want Crawford?) Maybe next year's No. 1 is on the table, which I wouldn't be thrilled about. This is about the best I could do for Memphis, and I don't think it's particularly great for their needs.
And then there's the matter of Gay himself. How good is Gay, really? He's having an especially bad shooting year, but he's never really been the impact player that he's being paid to be in his career. In a lot of ways, he's the same guy that looks the part, but didn't always take charge on a talented, but underachieving UConn team. He's never had a PER above 18, never had a true shooting percentage about 55, never been an excellent rebounder or defender, only once shot over 36.5 percent from three-point range and soaks up a ton of possessions.
To Gay's credit, he's sill young enough at 26 to maintain this level of play for a few years, and it's possible that he'll fare better away from the Grizzlies' post-oriented attack, which often hurts his spacing on all of his isolation plays. I could also see him evolving into a power forward in today's NBA, and we all know the Wizards' offense would be much more dynamic with a stretch 4 alongside Nene.
But if the Wizards are expecting Gay to unleash some hidden talent that he has only teased in his first six years in the league, they'll be disappointed. As a bridge young veteran pre-OkAriza, I think you could justify a trade for Gay using cap space and sending some youngsters back. Right now, though, his production is declining and his massive salary is escalating. I don't think this is a deal the Wizards should pursue, especially now that they finally have everyone relatively healthy.