NBA PM: Not Much Interest in Rudy Gay?
As the Memphis Grizzlies continue to shop Rudy Gay, it has become clear that teams aren’t exactly lining up to trade for the 26-year-old forward. The Grizzlies have talked to a number of teams and gauged their interest, but most executives aren’t willing to part with significant pieces to acquire Gay. That could be why Memphis has explored other options such as waiting until the offseason to move Gay or trading Zach Randolph instead.
The Grizzlies’ payroll currently sits at $74,127,785, and with the league’s luxury tax threshold at just over $70 million, Memphis is in danger of having to pay the tax.
If the Grizzlies do trade Gay, don’t expect them to acquire a star player or even a high-potential rookie. The more likely scenario is Gay being traded for a package that includes several role players on short, reasonable contracts and possibly a draft pick. That’s why players like Jared Dudley of the Phoenix Suns and J.J. Redick of the Orlando Magic have been mentioned as realistic targets for Memphis. Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards was briefly mentioned as a possibility, but that was quickly shot down, which lines up with the idea that teams aren’t willing to move a star-in-the-making for Gay.
One of the biggest reasons that teams aren’t expressing much interest in Gay is because of his contract. He’s owed $16,460,532 this season and then $17,888,932 and $19,317,326 over the next two seasons. He’ll be one of the highest paid players in the league for the duration of his contract and teams don’t seem to think he’s worth that much money.
It doesn’t help that Gay is having one of the worst seasons of his career. It’s hard to justify paying that much money for a player when his numbers are down across the board. This year, Gay has averaged 17.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.4 steals while shooting 41.7 percent from the field and 31.2 from beyond the arc. Those numbers are lower than Gay’s stats over the last two years. The Grizzlies are having success – they currently sit at 24-13 and hold the fourth seed in the Western Conference – but Gay hasn’t been as effective or efficient this year.
Gay’s struggles are why his Player Efficiency Rating is just 14.95, which is below the league average of 15. Gay’s PER hasn’t been that low since his rookie year, when he came off of the bench for half of Memphis’ games and played just 27 minutes per contest. Gay’s PER is just the fifth-best on the Grizzlies and his PER is ranked 140th among all NBA players. In fact, Dudley and Redick both have higher PERs than Gay this season. If you don’t think PER matters, keep in mind that the inventor of PER, John Hollinger, recently joined the Grizzlies’ front office as the team’s vice president of basketball operations.
If a team is trading away significant pieces for Gay and willing to take on his contract, it’s because they believe that he can become a cornerstone of their franchise. The fact that Gay has regressed rather than improved this season is a concern for potential suitors.
The Grizzlies will likely continue to shop Gay and weigh their options over the next month, but finding a trade partner that’s willing to give Memphis the deal that they want before the NBA’s trade deadline on February 21 may be more difficult than expected.
George Discusses His Breakout Season
Entering this season, Paul George told himself that he was going to have a breakout year. He wanted to take the Indiana Pacers to the next level and take his game to another level. When it became clear that Danny Granger would be sidelined for much of the season due to patellar tendinosis in his left knee, it became even more important for George to step up.
This season, George has done just that. He’s having the best year of his career and averaging career-highs across the board including 16.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.7 steals. He has been the Pacers’ leading scorer this year and the one-two punch of George and David West along with the contributions of Roy Hibbert have kept Indiana afloat without Granger.
While the Pacers got off to a rough start, they’re currently 24-16 and hold the third seed in the Eastern Conference. Not only is George playing better, he’s much more confident and vocal than in the previous two years. He’s making his presence felt in Indiana and his emergence could be just what the Pacers needed to move forward. Now, when Granger returns, George will have the confidence and experience to be more than just a marginal contributor, the Pacers will be harder to defend and they’ll have an additional leader on the court since George is no longer reserved and quiet.
HOOPSWORLD’s Steve Kyler recently caught up with George to discuss his breakout season, the team’s potential, what he learned from last year’s playoff loss to the Miami HEAT and much more. Check out the interview:
Barbosa Demands Trade from Celtics
Leandro Barbosa, who signed with the Boston Celtics in October, has demanded a trade. The 30-year-old guard is unhappy with his role and wants out of Boston, according to a report by ESPN Brazil. Here is what Barbosa had to say about this season and his future in Boston after translation:
“I will not lie to you, I tried to get out several times, but (Celtics GM) Danny Ainge does not want to let me go,” Barbosa said. “He’s a guy that comes admiring my basketball for many years. I was supposed to have got a good contract with the Boston Celtics, but did not. He will not let me go so no.”
The article suggests that Barbosa is upset with how he has been used by Celtics head coach Doc Rivers and that he didn’t realize how little he’d be playing when he arrived in Boston. Barbosa also hints that a move could be coming in the near future, saying: “A lot will happen. In a little while you will hear a firecracker.”
It’s hard to imagine a team trading for Barbosa, especially considering how long he remained unsigned. The preseason had already begun when Barbosa inked his veteran’s minimum deal with the Celtics. If every team in the league passed on him then, why would they trade for him now? Maybe Barbosa is anticipating that he’ll bought out?
This is definitely a situation to keep an eye on and HOOPSWORLD will provide updates as they become available.
UPDATE: Leandro Barbosa denies making those comments to ESPN Brazil. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald said that Barbosa was shown a transcript of the original article as well as the translation and denied saying those things.
“No, I want to play. I want to be here. That’s it,” Barbosa said. “I knew it was going to be like this when I came here.”