NBA AM: Moving On From Rudy Gay
Moving On From Rudy Gay: The Memphis Grizzlies traded forward Rudy Gay yesterday, sending him and Hamed Haddadi to the Toronto Raptros in a three-team deal with the Detroit Pistons that returned small forwards Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye from the Pistons and Ed Davis from Toronto. The Grizzlies gained a second-round draft pick and more importantly cash considerations. The Raptors sent Jose Calderon to the Pistons to complete the deal.
Before we get too far into this, Gay wanted out of Memphis almost as much as Memphis wanted to move him. There were tensions in the locker room. There were disconnects with the coaching staff. A deal had to be done sooner than later so Memphis shopped the hell out of Gay.
One team was in the mix from the beginning and it was Toronto. Sources close to the process say there were constant calls from Toronto and if one voice remained front and center as Memphis did its due diligence on moving Gay it was Toronto.
The challenge reaching a deal between the two was that Toronto wanted to use Jose Calderon as the meat and salary in a deal and Memphis really didn’t see a long-term need for Jose. Memphis wanted a first-round draft pick in a deal, and Toronto couldn’t do that so things stalled for quite a while as Memphis talked with other teams.
Despite reports, as late as 1pm EST yesterday Memphis did not think they were doing a deal with Gay, but according to sources, Toronto and Memphis engaged in calls for more than 48 hours off and on, working on scenarios in which to get a deal done.
Detroit’s last minute involvement made the deal come together, which at times teetered on collapse, simply because Memphis needed to return a veteran small forward and had real reservation on whether this was the best deal they could make.
From a Memphis point of view the Grizzlies get a proven small forward in Tayshaun Prince who fits the veteran locker room in Memphis. He is not nearly as dynamic a player as Gay, however, he is far more consistent, a better shooter and a more engaged defender.
Daye is more of a throw-in in the deal; however, Daye has coveted a fresh start and he’ll get one in Memphis. The knock on Daye is work ethic, which could push him out of the picture in Memphis. If Daye embraces the Memphis process he could turn his career around.
Davis is the young player with upside the Grizzlies coveted in a Gay deal. There is not a lot of expectation on Davis, however, over the last two weeks in Toronto Davis has shown tremendous ability and he’ll get the chance to play behind Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies gained a second-round pick and some cash in the deal, cash they will likely use to buy their way into the first round of the draft this year.
For the Pistons, the acquisition of Jose Calderon was 100 percent about dumping the long-term money owed to Tayshaun Prince. The Pistons have talked up their affections for Calderon; however, with his ending contract the Pistons are now looking at as much as $37 million in possible cap space in July and a chance to really re-tool their team. Re-signing Calderon is not out of the question, but the goal for the Pistons was to move into serious cash dump mode, so keep an eye out for a Rodney Stuckey deal as he has an $8.5 million player option for next year and no long fits where Detroit is headed.
Toronto actually didn’t give up much to get the guy they coveted for some time. Losing Davis is a blow, but getting an impact small forward has been a goal of Raptors president Bryan Colangelo for some time and Gay was absolutely at the top of their board.
Hamed Haddadi was a throw-in for Toronto and he may have no role going forward.
Gay could be an interesting player for Toronto. He will get more opportunity with the Raptors to be the focal point of the offense and he has a history with point guard Kyle Lowry and Alan Anderson as all three train at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas each summer. So fitting together and continuity shouldn’t be a major issue.
Overall, all three teams got what they were looking for. Toronto got a possible star in Gay. Memphis broke Gays’ $16 million into three smaller contracts, gained a promising young player in Davis, a draft pick and some cash. Detroit gets a serviceable point guard, but more importantly $10 million more in usable cap space this summer.
Time will tell how these deals will impact the play on the floor, but this was the deal each team was looking for.
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Lakers Get Their Exception: The LA Lakers were granted a $1.7 million disabled player exception from the NBA yesterday after the league reviewed the medical details of Jordan Hill’s surgery and agreed that he is done for the season.
The disabled player exception can be used to sign a replacement player from free agency or used in trade to acquire a player already under contract.
The Lakers do gain a roster spot in the move, but would have to pay luxury tax on any player they sign, making it unlikely that the Lakers use the exception.
The Lakers are four games back from the eighth-seeded Houston Rockets with 36 games remaining on the season (16 Home, 20 Away). Of those remaining games the Lakers will see 18 teams with a record above .500 and will play 22 of their remaining 36 games against Western Conference teams.
It is shaping up that 43 wins will land a team the 8th seed in the West, meaning the Lakers at 20-26 would need to go 23-13 (.633) for the balance of the season to get into the playoffs. 39 losses all but eliminates a team in the West this season.
From the “In Case You Missed It File” — check out my look at the Memphis Grizzlies new front office for USA Today Sports. There is a new sheriff in town and he wants to make the Grizzlies a sustainable power team in the West. Check it out here.
Also checkout my latest on the Orlando Magic and their future in the current issue of Sports Weekly on news stands everywhere USA Today is sold..
Down Goes Big Baby: As if Orlando wasn’t having enough problems, Glen “Big Baby” Davis went down last night to a broken left foot. Davis stepped on Knicks guard Iman Shumpert’s foot and was taken out of the game and did not return.
According to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel Davis will be examined today to determine how bad the fracture is and what the next course of action will be.
Davis going down is a body blow to the Magic who have been in a free fall lately. Davis has been labeled as one of the players the Magic had hoped to trade before the Feb. 21 NBA trade deadline.
The Magic are 14-31 on the season, which is the fourth worst record in the NBA. If the season ended today the Magic would have an 11.9 percent chance at landing the top overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
The Charlotte Bobcats have the worst record in the NBA at 11-34, giving the Magic a three-game lead on the best odds of a top pick.
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