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Well, it happened a lot sooner than we all might have thought…but not sooner than Jason Levien would have thought.

Follow past the jump for reaction (warning: some visceral, emotional longtime Grizzlies fan stuff ahead) from all of us here at Three Shades of Blue.

Matt:

Well, we all knew this day would come, and there have been many times when I sorta thought that a guy like Tayshaun Prince would be a decent return. Lo and behold look what has transpired.

As it stands, the Grizzlies will have AMPLE room to re-sign Tony Allen next year. The Grizzlies have saved themselves money in the deal as well. The Grizzlies have stacked up a few trade exceptions, and have invited their most popular players EVER back onto the roster… LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, CAAAAAAASH CONSIDERAAAAATIONS!!

How will this affect the Grizzlies on the court?

I’ve said what the Grizzlies needed at SF was a non-ball-dominating. long-armed defender who can hit the three. They needed to ease the cap hit of Rudy’s salary. They needed a big guy who can rebound.

Some Memphis fans will be naturally be hurt by the departure of Hamed Haddadi.

On-court-wise, the only thing that concerns me is whether the Grizzlies intend to join the rest of the world in “playing small.”

I remember Kyle and Rudy helping carry the Grizzlies to triple OT against the Knicks at the home opener of their first season. I said many times “man, Rudy is a special player.”

It’s a big bag of emotions opening up seeing him gone.

Chip:

Rudy Gay was lost long before the trade was made final yesterday. Similar to the way Pau Gasol played himself out of Memphis, the time had come for the Grizzlies to make a move to salvage the team as much as correct a financial miscalculation.

That being said I was as surprised as anyone when the word finally came down. The rumors had been flying for so long I knew to expect it but like the passing of a loved one battling an incurable disease it is still a shock when the end comes.

The trade makes sense if you follow Hollinger’s statistical analysis and even if you don’t believe in his voodoo it makes sense to bring on board a better defensive player who can stretch to floor at SF and the Grizzlies got that. It makes sense to bring on a promising young talent and a draft pick. The Grizzlies got that as well.

It didn’t make a lot of sense to do that right before you play the OKC Thunder and Washington Wizards in back to back games but once the story leaked the team had to make the move or let it die. They couldn’t ignore the pressure any longer.

John:

When I heard the news about the trade, I was a mix of confused and optimistic. I thought the whole reason for trading Ellington, Speights, and Selby to Cleveland was to avoid the luxury tax without trading Rudy.

I’m still not sure what to make of that.

With that said, I think the Grizzlies have made out pretty well in this trade, and might actually be better now than before. Anyone who has watched the Raptors lately knows that Ed Davis has blossomed this year. He’s extremely talented and he good get better in Lionel Hollins’ system. Plus, I really like the lineup of big men now: Z-Bo/Marc/Davis/Arthur. The Grizz are very deep up front, and I think it’ll help them come playoff time. I could see Davis receiving the most playing time of any bench player, possibly going for 25-30 a night. He was a great pickup.

I’m said to see Rudy go, but he never seemed to realize his full potential. Either that, or he just wasn’t the player we wanted him to be. At any rate, I wish him the best in Toronto. Tayshaun Prince is a bit of a downgrade, but I could see him thriving simply because this is his first time playing on a contender since 2008. All in all, I think the grizzlies come away from this trade looking pretty good.

Lee:

I’m kind of numb to the trade. We’d been hearing for weeks that trading Rudy was inevitable, so it’s not like this was out of the blue. We know the whys of it, and they make sense for any Grizz fan who wants the team to remain a contender beyond 2014. Still, I hate to see the guy go.

Yet, I’m genuinely excited about the new guys. Young talent and a championship veteran with some shooting . . . what’s not to like? My biggest concern is team chemistry though. Five guys gone, five new guys in the past two weeks. If Hollins can keep team chemistry from disintegrating, I think we’re in for another magical run in the spring.

Steve: 

What I draw from this going forward is that the front office has essentially made the Grizzlies’ “Grit n’ Grind” blueprint much more sustainable in multiple senses.

First and foremost, the Grizz are set to remain comfortably below the luxury tax. Secondly, regardless of Rudy Gay’s role, the Memphis model has for years been built around Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol’s ability to dominate the paint. This is valuable as it sets us apart. With Zbo on the wrong side of 30, that model was not going to hold water forever.

Now I’m a sucker for narrative, and if Ed Davis lives up to what potential dictates, he may stand to be successor to the throne next to Gasol. Essentially what this would mean is that the front office can justify constructing around and within this blueprint with confidence that they’re maneuvering towards a long-term solution, regardless of any Randolph depreciation.

Beyond that, the recent trades afford requisite flexibility to do so. Presently speaking, the addition of Tayshaun Prince likely makes a premier defensive unit even better. There are bound to be hiccups in the near future, especially offensively, but from what I gather, the vision is strong.

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