Memphis Grizzlies better off after trade
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
In an NBA season full of surprises – from the Lakers’ desperate push to make the playoffs to Miami’s march toward the all-time winning streak of 33 games and everything in between – there’s one more worth noting.
The Memphis Grizzlies may be better off without Rudy Gay. And their new owner and management team, as it turns out, may not have sacrificed this season after all.
Strange though it may seem that one of the Western Conference’s best teams could trade its longtime leading scorer and manage to improve, that has been the case since the Jan. 30 deal that sent Gay to Toronto and brought back veteran small forward Tayshaun Prince and young players Ed Davis and Austin Daye.
“I think we’re a better team, man,” Grizzlies All-Star forward Zach Randolph told USA TODAY Sports. “You’re (getting) the whole team playing one way, and guys sticking to what they do and playing together, playing for each other and playing defense and playing inside-out basketball. It’s a lot better – a better mindset – playing like that.
“When it first happened, everybody was down about it, especially because Rudy was like a brother to us. It was difficult at first. You wouldn’t think it would be this way now, but it is.”
POWER RANKINGS: Where do Grizzlies belong?
When 34-year-old Grizzlies owner Robert Pera approved the move just three months after buying the team and putting a new front-office group in place, the trade was seen by some as the dawn of a new day in the NBA. Was this – much like Oklahoma City’s decision to trade James Harden to Houston in October – the sort of cost-cutting spurred by the new, more-restrictive collective bargaining agreement that would gut small-market teams and dash the championship dreams of the players and their fans? Gay was owed a combined $37 million on his contract if he played out his next two seasons, meaning the books simply had to be balanced if the Grizzlies were going to survive financially.
Yet amid all that chatter, key parts of the process were overlooked, specifically the Grizzlies’ view of … [For more on Memphis Grizzlies better off after trade, click here.]