NBA PM: Grizzlies May Trade Rudy Gay
For the second offseason in a row, Rudy Gay will likely be the subject of trade rumors.
Last summer, Gay’s name repeatedly popped up in trade scenarios after the Memphis Grizzlies advanced to the Conference Semifinals while he was sidelined with a left shoulder injury. While the Grizzlies gauged interest in the small forward, they never seriously considered trading him. The organization wanted to see just how effective the team could be with Gay back in the lineup.
Now, after a disappointing first-round exit to the Los Angeles Clippers in this year’s postseason, the likelihood of a trade involving Gay is much higher. League sources expect Memphis to shop Gay, who is owed $53,666,790 over the next three years. Gay is no longer considered untouchable, and he could be on the move in the next few months if the right offer comes along.
If Gay does become available this summer, there would be no shortage of teams interested in the 25-year-old. The Golden State Warriors, Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic are among the teams who would attempt to trade for Gay, according to sources close to the situation.
Several executives believe that Memphis could to trade Gay in a cost-cutting move since the team wants to re-sign restricted free agents O.J. Mayo, Marreese Speights and Darrell Arthur after already giving long-term deals to Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley.
There are plenty of executives around the league who believe Gay is a very talented player with a high ceiling. He has only been in the league for six years and his game is still developing. While he is owed a lot of money over the next three seasons, that shouldn’t scare teams away since his best basketball is likely ahead of him.
During the 2011-12 regular season, Gay bounced back from shoulder surgery and averaged 19 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals in 65 games. In the postseason, Gay had similar numbers, averaging 19 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.3 steals.
This summer, Gay will attend Team USA’s training camp in Las Vegas and then he’ll work out in Miami to expand his game. Next season, Gay is determined to have a breakout year and hopes to make the All-Star team for the first time. Whether that happens in Memphis or in another city remains to be seen.
Sefolosha’s Defense Key for OKC: In the first two games of the Western Conference Finals, Tony Parker torched the Oklahoma City Thunder. Parker was scoring at ease and setting up his teammates for easy baskets. In the first two games of the series, Parker contributed 52 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs jumped to a 2-0 lead. It looked like the Spurs were on their way to the Finals, on the verge of sweeping the Thunder just as they had done to the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers.
Thunder head coach Scott Brooks knew he had to make an adjustment. Thabo Sefolosha, Oklahoma City’s best perimeter defender, would be guarding Parker for the rest of the series. Sefolosha had considered the adjustment as well and he was thrilled when Brooks approached him with the news.
“I’m going to try to make his life hell,” Sefolosha said.
In the two games since the adjustment, Sefolosha has done just that. Parker has struggled with the switch, contributing just 28 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds in the last two games. Sefolosha’s length and athleticism has limited Parker and the Spurs’ offense in general.
In fact, over the last two games, the Spurs are averaging almost 20 fewer points per 48 minutes when Sefolosha is on the court versus when he’s on the bench, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
Sefolosha is averaging 3.57 steals per 48 minutes, which is the third-most in the postseason. Sefolosha recorded six steals in Game 3, which is the highest playoff steal total for the franchise since Gary Payton had six for Seattle against Utah on May 3, 2000, according to Elias. It was the most steals by any player in a postseason game against San Antonio since Dirk Nowitzki had six on May 14, 2001.
Regardless of what the numbers say, Sefolosha isn’t content with Oklahoma City’s defense. Following the Game 4 victory, he described the team’s defense as “average” and vowed to improve in Game 5.
“I think we can do a lot better,” Sefolosha said. “I’m sure we’ll come out with more energy and more focus. We’re growing up every day and every game. I’m sure we’ll come out next game and do better.”
Sefolosha has done his job, shutting down Parker and giving the Thunder life in this series.
Bobcats Head Coach Update: The Charlotte Bobcats aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach.
The Bobcats are taking their time and are expected to conduct several more interviews before selecting one of the candidates. Charlotte’s brass has interviewed about 10 people for the job, and they’ve begun narrowing their list and scheduling second interviews with a number of candidates.
Rather than rushing a decision, the Bobcats want to make sure that they’ve met with everyone and done their due diligence before making a hire. Several candidates who have been linked to the job include Jerry Sloan, Nate McMillan, Brian Shaw and Quin Snyder.
Inside Game 4: Here are news and notes from last night’s Heat-Celtics game.
• LeBron James scored a game-high 29 points and Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 23 points, but both players fouled out of the game after committing their sixth personal foul in overtime. According to Elias, it was the first NBA playoff game in which each team’s leading scorer fouled out since April 27, 1992, when Reggie Lewis (32 points for Boston) and Reggie Miller (32 points for Indiana) were each whistled for six personal fouls in the Celtics’ 102-98 victory at Indiana that completed a three-game sweep in the first round.
• The Celtics were outscored 42-28 during the second half of Game 4 before winning it in overtime. Boston became the second NBA team during the shot-clock era to win a playoff game in which it scored as few as 28 second-half points, according to Elias. The only other team to do so over that span (since the 1955 playoffs) were the Spurs, who were outscored 43-28 during the second half of their 100-97 overtime win against the Trail Blazers in their first-round series clincher in 1993.