Late last week, Grantland's Zach Lowe wrote about how the Memphis Grizzlies are in a really interesting position. They're tied with Golden State for the fourth best record in the Western Conference, but after a hot start seem to be falling farther and farther from the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers. As a result, they're trying to figure out what to do with their large pay roll and the subject of those conversations has at times been Rudy Gay.
Lowe presented options from half of the teams in the league, putting them in categories ranging from sensible to (much) longer shots. As boring as it is to agree with Lowe's first decision, but the Timberwolves make the most sense.
"Minnesota has plenty of cushion between its current cap level and the luxury tax. They also have Andrei Kirilenko, a tweener forward on a semi-expiring $9.8 million deal, and a bunch of interesting pieces in the $4 million-$5 million range. It’s very easy to build a Minny-Memphis trade around Kirilenko/Gay that gets Memphis under the tax and provides either an intriguing high lottery pick (Derrick Williams) or a useful guard to round out the Grizz’s rotation (Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea)."
Kirilenko, Williams and Barea for Gay and Tony Wroten, Jr. would give Memphis one of the best and longest defensive small forwards in the game as well as two guys that can score of the bench. People have been down on Williams, but according to NBA Advanced Stats, he's shooting 42 percent on three pointers above the break, 45 percent from mid-range and his shot percentage at the rim is improving. Even better, you could pair him with Marc Gasol, Marreese Speights or even Darrell Arthur. Just don't put him and Zach Randolph on the floor together.
Gay's contract is so large it seems like a long shot he'd be traded, but you can imagine Rudy Gay being the third best player on a championship team, couldn't you? Would a Ricky Rubio, Gay, Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic core compete in the West? As Lowe points out, it'd be tough for the Wolves to re-sign Pek this summer without going in to the luxury tax.
Again, Gay's contract makes things tough. The other team I do like that Lowe mentioned was Sacramento. They have a ton of assets they could deal. Something like Tyreke Evans, Francisco Garcia and Thomas Robinson for Gay would thin out their guard situation and give DeMarcus Cousins someone that can he can inside out with.
Photo: USA Today