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We’re about two weeks away from trade season really firing off as this summer’s free agents become tradeable assets on January 15. The Grizzlies have seen their name in the rumor mill for a number of reasons, and it wouldn’t be unlikely to see them make a move or two. The question is, will it be a minor or major move?

Memphis will almost certainly have to trade either Rudy Gay or Zach Randolph at some point in the future — probably before the start of next season. That’s not an opinion — it’s an undeniable fact due to salary cap constraints and the reality of doing business in the NBA in a small market. As it stands right now, the Grizzlies are on the hook for $58.75 million next season just for their Big Four players (Conley, Gay, Randolph, and Gasol). The salary cap this year was less than that at $58.044 million and the luxury tax was set at $70.307 million. The number jumps to $65.37 million with guaranteed deals and then to over $73 million with the player options of Speights and Bayless. The math is pretty simple when you look at it that way. Somebody with a big contract has to go…and it won’t be Marc Gasol. So, let’s look at some small deals that might push them closer to title contention this year and a couple of big moves that might set them up for future success.

UPDATE (by Lee Eric Smith): This post (and the comments so far) reminded me of comments I got from Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace at Media Day 2012. I think they’re informative on how the Grizz front office thinks, and his thoughts on Rudy Gay before the season. May this continue to fuel the debate! — LES

Memphis receives: Andre Miller and Anthony Randolph
Denver receives: Marreese Speights and Jerryd Bayless
(Cannot be completed until January 15 due to Speights’ being an offseason re-signing)
This trade is predicated on the fact that the Grizzlies could use a better backup PG than what Bayless has provided so far this season. He hasn’t been horrible; in fact, he’s been exactly what his career numbers indicate he should be. Unfortunately, Memphis thought they were getting the player he was last year, which appears to be a one year aberration now. Although Miller is older (36) and still has two more years remaining on his contract, he is still steady and productive. He’s not a perimeter threat, but his superior playmaking ability might help the second unit get more favorable looks at the basket — including Ellington and Pondexter, who can hit from outside when open. Anthony Randolph is basically just a throw-in salary to make things work. Let that be a lesson kids: Don’t draft forwards from LSU.

Memphis receives: J.J. Redick
Orlando receives: Tony Allen and Marreese Speights
(Cannot be completed until January 15 due to Speights’ being an offseason re-signing)
Memphis needs perimeter shooting. That’s not a secret to anyone. Redick is one of the deadliest outside shooters in the game, and definitely the best one in the trade rumor mill right now. Moreso, he isn’t just merely a shooter now; he has turned himself into a complete player. While he is a free agent this summer, just like TA, he is younger (by 2.5 years), has less wear-and-tear on his body, and isn’t a liability at either end of the floor. I know that everyone loves the Godfather of Grit and Grind (including me), but teams can’t ignore J.J. on offense like they can Tony and it is questionable whether or not the front office is going to go all-out to re-sign a player who will turn 31 next month and has iffy knees. If they aren’t, then might as well bring in a player that might fit into future plans. Just the nature of the beast, unfortunately.

Memphis receives: Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, and Marco Belinelli
Chicago receives: Rudy Gay and Jerryd Bayless
ESPN Trade Machine
If Memphis decides to trade Rudy Gay, then they have to get comparable talent in return. Deng isn’t on the same level as #22, but he’s a reasonable fill-in at a cheaper price ($14.2 million next year vs. $17.9 million next year and $19.3 million the year after that) who should fit in well with the Grit and Grind style of play. Exchanging Bayless for Hinrich is a wash at worst, and adding Belinelli’s sharpshooting is the bonus that puts this deal over the top from my perspective.

Memphis receives: Greg Monroe, Tayshaun Prince, and Corey Maggette
Detroit receives: Zach Randolph and Wayne Ellington
ESPN Trade Macine
If Memphis chooses to trade ZBo instead, then getting talent and cap space is necessary. This cannot be another Pau Gasol deal, even though that one worked out pretty well for us due to the development of Marc Gasol. A known commodity has to come back to Beale Street in this trade, and Greg Monroe is certainly that. I talked with two Pistons’ bloggers and while they both counted Monroe as a likely untouchable, they also said that the front office might consider moving anyone if enough talent came back. I like to think that one of the league’s best low-post players would qualify for that. Memphis would have to take Prince and the extra two years of his contract in return, but they’d also get Maggette’s expiring $10 million which would give them some cap space as they prepared for Monroe’s extension down the road, as well as a free agent signing or two this summer. Prince would move to the backup SF and Quincy Pondexter could slide down to the SG spot.

Memphis receives: Kevin Love
Minnesota receives: Zach Randolph and a draft pick
ESPN Trade Machine
Pipe dream? Probably. You can’t blame me for still being somewhat wistful about the guy that the Grizzlies had and let slip through their fingers on draft day a few years ago. With the interview that Love gave last week making the rounds on the internet, it seems obvious that he’s not 100% pleased with how their front office has handled things to this point. If (and I know it’s a big if) both sides feel that they are better off parting ways, this might be the most even swap they get offered unless the Lakers offer Pau Gasol and some change. I don’t expect the T’Wolves to try to move Love anytime soon, but just in case they do, I want to get out ahead of it. He isn’t the big question mark that a player like DeMarcus Cousins would be.

Memphis receives: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Gerald Henderson, Desgana Diop
Charlotte receives: Rudy Gay and a draft pick
ESPN Trade Machine
I won’t lie. I love this trade. I even like it for Charlotte’s side. They get the star-level player they so desperately need (and should have drafted to begin with) in Rudy Gay. Memphis gets a solid up-and-coming player in Henderson, expiring money in Diop, and a ton of enticing potential in MKG. When I hear people talk about Kidd-Gilchrist and say that his upside is Andre Igoudala and his basement is Gerald Wallace, it makes me weak in the knees. This would help set Memphis up with a young, talented player still on a rookie deal, as well as cap space in Diop’s $7 million expiring, and Henderson’s potential to be their SG of the future, too.

As always, chime in with your own ideas in the comments.

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20 Responses to Trading Places

  1. KyleNo Gravatar says:

    I’m not gonna lie, I love Rudy and in no way want to see him go, but out of all those, I like the Chicago trade the most, deng is a good SF himself and is a good defender, also, don’t want to see zbo gone either but i could only hope we get Kevin love for him

  2. PresidentjoeNo Gravatar says:

    Agree that one of the big four will have to be traded before next season and it will most likely be Rudy.
    Of those different trade scenarios listed above the only one I found appealing was rhe last one for MKG with the others undervaluing Rudy in my opinion. I have another possible scenario to add to the above: Rudy for m beasely and Shannon brown of the Phoenix suns.

  3. ColeNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t want a trade but it is inevitable. Barring the Kevin Love long shot, the Chicago trade seems to be the best.

  4. DanNo Gravatar says:

    I love the JJ reddick trade. I have been high on Reddick for a long time. I think rudy is the one to trade. I would like to see a trade with Cleveland. A minor trade with Denver for miller and Wilson chandler would be very beneficial.

  5. bobNo Gravatar says:

    i like the detroit trade the best, getting monroe, a promising young player is so enticing along with marc getting more time on the low block but we would give up some rebounding losing zbo. another deal that would be good would be rudy and ellington for batum and matthews

  6. boNo Gravatar says:

    zach and tony have been huge pieces of the grit and grind that has turned the grizz into contenders.
    would prefer more creative, crazy, wild ideas than trading them.
    gasol-keeper. period.
    rudy-maybe blossoming into super star-keeper
    love conley- would hate him to go , but think we came come up with a game-control passing PG and keep the above 4.
    l am just not going along with anything near ” conventional thinking” on this trade idea….
    call me crazy if you like, you won’t be the first

  7. FredreckNo Gravatar says:

    I personally think that when it’s all said and done Rudy, Zach and the Godfather if grit-n-grind will be in the trade block. The one big question is, what will the new owners do? What if they want put their stamp on the team? That being said I love the MKG move it also allows for the move of Tony and squeeze a pick out of them. The Monroe move might be a pipe dream Drummond instead might make it happen take Prince out and add Maxiell or Daye.

  8. GoGrizz12-13No Gravatar says:

    Thinking in other side… What about a move for a backup 3-pt shooter like Daequan Cook? Expiring contract also. Other question, can Grizzlies hold a player like Royce White? He is suffering from his mental issues, but I guess that they could at least try to help him, just like they sucefully did with Zach Randolph (I know it’s not the same situations, but you got my point).

    Arthur and Wroten for White and Cook.

  9. btNo Gravatar says:

    I think strategically (as a legitimate contender this year) it is really tough to make a move, but as we’ve seen with OKC, moves are going to happen. Our strategic advantage in the league is an excellent scoring/ rebound/ defensive anchor front court – so it is tough for me to see us trading Marc/ Zbo unless the other side of deal is legitimately Kevin Love or a Greg Monroe/ Kyle Singler or Tristan Thompson + guard… and I can’t see any of those teams taking Zbo @ 31.

    So Rudy Gay & Mike Conley seem to be people who are not “as” key to the team’s advantage, but also could have fairly decent trade value. Rudy Gay clearly has more upside than Mike, and MEM would be smart to keep Mike with his consistent upward progression unless there were an amazing deal on the table.

    Which leaves my line of thinking with Rudy Gay being the only real option – and a handful of teams who could be interested… either really bad teams rebuilding or teams on the outside of contention. Let’s also factor who has talent to replace Rudy Gay or improve the roster and future cap space.

    Charlotte, Houston, Detroit, Cleveland, maybe Indiana or Dallas…

  10. kasdNo Gravatar says:

    or this?

    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=bcum6xz

    I hate to throw TA in there…….but pretty even and saves us money…….

  11. btNo Gravatar says:

    I would vote yes on both of those trades immediately. However, does +Gay and -Hayward & Millsaps (2 extremely efficient & cheap players) help the Jazz? Not sure… probably demand a pick.

    the Denver trade is less exciting, but arguably will make Grizz significantly more efficient offensively… Both trades hurt us in the situation of “Ok, we need a shot, 1 v 1 – who gets the ball
    but ultimately I think Gordan will be *nearly* as effective as Rudy in those plays.

    • kasdNo Gravatar says:

      The Jazz trade:
      The Jazz have been shopping Millsap for the past two Seasons and chances are they will let him walk at the end of the season if he doesn’t get traded before then. Don’t forget they have two talanted young bigs in Kanter and Favors so it doesn’t really hurt them short or long term. At that point it’s a straight up Hayward – Gay trade for them which makes sense I think. For us it’s a lot of expiring money and Hayward… who I agree with you will be close to what Rudy gives us now.
      The Nuggets trade:
      I think is pretty even. Good for everybody!!

  12. Lee Eric SmithNo Gravatar says:

    Grizz Fans:
    Take another look at the post for an update: Preseason video of Chris Wallace about Rudy Gay, and knowing when it’s time to shake up the team. Check it out!!!!

    • kasdNo Gravatar says:

      thanks for that video….
      few questions/thoughts…

      1. Is trading away Rudy Gay really a “dramatic change”?
      I for one don’t think so. Although he is a very gifted player, he is still only the 3rd option on the Grizz as far as I’m concerned. Substitute him for a Deng/Gallinari/G. Hayward/P.George/D.Granger/P. Pierce/J. Smith/G. Wallace etc. and do we really suffer as a team? Even rookies Kidd-Gilchrist/H. Barnes could potentially reach his level and would be serviceable in the short term. The reason for trading Rudy was never his talent or potential…it’s his ridiculous salary! Out of all the players above only P. pierce makes more then Rudy.
      2. Wallace asked why would you shake up a team that can make the playoffs and win a few games…..
      I don’t think we can win a championship as we are. I hope I am wrong, but that’s how it feels. Otherwise we are looking to be the Hawks. Always good….never great!
      3. I don’t think Rudy has been getting “better and better”….
      You look at his stats….pretty much the same since his second year. (18-19ppg/5-6 rpg/2apg)….maybe more efficient, but not greatly improved!

      • btNo Gravatar says:

        Lee, thanks for jumping back in here… the crux of Rudy Gay is that he is paid as a top 20 player (as in ZBo).. If he was paid $10M a year – I don’t think people would complain as much..

        However, here is the problem – Let’s take last night’s Boston game: Gay finishes with 19p, 6r, 5a, 1s, 2to’s… You look at the box score and say, “Man, that guy really is getting it done” – But if you watch the game, you see massive stretches where Rudy just vanishes, completely disappears. I’m not sure if it is a head thing, or a fire thing, or just Rudy is such a “chill” guy that he backs off. Sure, he had some Free Throws late in the 4th that put the game away, but it is almost reluctantly…

        Now do I like the guy? Absolutely. But that type of effort will never win playoff series. He is an incredible athlete, great offensive player, and has great size/ length. BUT right now in the NBA, as @kasd listed above, there are quite a few guys who put up similar nightly numbers and as you succinctly pointed out – we can’t keep both Rudy & Zbo…

        When you look at Zbo comparisons, he is on a very short list. Maybe you could swing a trade with Zbo/ young guy for Brooke Lopez or possibly a Ryan Anderson – but Zach is a lot tougher to trade with still getting significant value back (because of age/ history/ contract).

        Rudy still has upside (which is why Wallace defends him) but it is likely dimishing in the eyes of most other GMs – why would IND trade a Paul George for Rudy? Can’t do it. DeMar DeRozan? No way.

        My thought is the Grizzlies need more consistent offense @ the 2 spot and more consistent effort @ the 3 to make a long run. We still need to have a player willing (& able) to take 1-on-1 situations late in a possession and take a late game shot. We waste too many possessions and rely too heavily on tough shots

        There are bad teams/ contracts/ and opportunistic franchises out there who could still use Rudy Gay.

        Imagine a Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes back court with Mike Conley? Sure, we probably have to take on a bad contract to get the deal done and send Mo Speights – But in that case you’ve got great shooting, solid play, and good size.

        Same with the Hayward + Millsaps deal. Get Zbo’s minutes down to 30/gm and let Millsaps handle 18 mins @ PF and ~ 12+ @ SF. Hayward’s upside is IMO equal or greater than Rudy at this point.

        • btNo Gravatar says:

          tl:dr – Rudy Gay is a great player. On our team he isn’t worth 19M/ year & 2nd Round playoff exits. I believe we could couple Rudy + Speights & make a big trade splash for longer term success.

    • Lee Eric SmithNo Gravatar says:

      I’m no fan of Rudy’s contract. But I do wince when people talk about trading him — mostly because it wasn’t that long ago that the Grizzlies were shuffling the roster every season and swapping coaches every 18 months. The unsung hero in the teams recent success is plain old continuity.

      I also remember these things: We beat San Antonio in six games without Rudy. It’s widely believed that had Rudy played against OKC, we’d have won that series. The Clippers series? Literally a few bounces away from winning that series. And for those with short attention spans: We started this season 12-1… WITH Rudy. So I gotta say I’m philosophically with Biggie Smalls (Chris Wallace) on this.

      That said, I think we desperately need a guy who can create off the dribble and get into the lane. Conley CAN do it, but another would help immensely.

      And I was thrilled with Darrell making those corner threes. A stretch four type player would help a lot. I read a story on ESPN.com about how the best offenses take & make corner threes at a good clip — it’s closer & stretches the defense, spacing the floor. That’s why we’re gonna miss QPon so much….

      • btNo Gravatar says:

        I understand your point – but this piece spells out what the FO realizes, Zbo & Rudy cannot suck up 37M of the teams contract space… (and have Mike + Zbo). The playoff history does speak volumes…

        But there are 2 options: keep Zbo, trade Rudy for “similar” guys and keep the ‘Power, Size, Post game’ Culture…or trade Zbo for what is unlikely a similar guy, and change the team structure.

        DA, Wayne, Mike, even a cutting TA are all built to succeed in a big man focused team. Trading Zach to me signals full rebuild (more run, Iso-wing, less pick&roll). Trading Rudy can be a somewhat ‘lateral-step-up’ depending on talent received.

        I think at the end of the day, the league at large will not value Rudy or Zach as much as we/ Grizz FO value them, and they will be in Blue until the off-season. Which, I believe, will be for the long term detriment, as putting more efficient minutes @ SG spot and more aggressive minutes @ SF could effect playoff outcomes.

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