Teams that are winning games at almost at 70% clip generally are buyers, not sellers, on the trade market. But the Memphis Grizzlies appear to be bucking that trend with the news that they are shopping small forward Rudy Gay. Is this a wise move for the Griz?
In one word: absolutely. What - you're still here?! You expect me to say more on the subject?! Ok, fine. If you are a believer in advanced stats like Wins Produced (which I am), Gay has been a below average player for his career. And this year he has been just abysmal. But, the one thing he does do above average is the one thing that fans, GMs, media types, etc. etc. tend to overvalue and that is... (drumroll please)... score. Rudy Gay is a decent scorer. The fact that he is an above average scorer only because he takes an above average number of shots seems to be beside the point to most people, though. Scorers get the accolades, the chicks, and the money.
And Rudy Gay definitely gets the money, which is the main reason Memphis should do anything they can to get him off their books. Gay's $16.5 million salary this season makes him the 17th highest paid player in the NBA, and the third highest paid small forward (now that LeBron and Carmelo are primarily power forwards), slightly behind Paul Pierce ($16.8 million) and Kevin Durant ($16.7). And for those keeping score at home, Piece and Durant are far better players than Gay is, was or ever will be. But it gets worse - Memphis is on the hook for $17.9 million to Gay next season, and a $19.3 million player option the year after that. So Rudy Gay gets paid like an elite player, despite being an average player at best. And in a league with a salary cap and luxury tax, that is not a good thing.
If Memphis can find someone to take Gay off their hands, then they should jump at the chance. While it might look to the outside world that they would be raising the white flag on this season, a trade would help them not just financially, but on the court as well.
You are not looking into how he scores and the decent defense that plays. Rudy Gay is a guy that a team can build an offense around. He's a good wing post-up player, is capable of generating moderately efficient looks in the mid-range, has range on his jump shot, has good length and decent quickness on defense, and finishes well at the rim. There is definite value in that, esp. in being able to create moderately efficient shots in the mid-range and use that to draw more attention to himself. And to call him an average player at best and to seem to draw that conclusion from the fact he isn't particularly efficient is fallacy.
Furthermore, he's not an above average scorer because he takes an above average amount of shots. Not many players can take 16 shots and still be decently efficient. When a player takes more shots, esp. when he starts taking an upwards of 16, he is invariably going to vastly diversify the kinds of shots he takes. No player can take 10 layups a game or 10 threes a game. And those shots that he now begins to take more often are most likely going to be the kind that he isn't particularly good at.
I'm sorry if I come off as condescending, but for someone who tries to be knowledgeable of basketball, you sure do not know much. I think that I'll stick to Zach Lowe, Ian Levy, etc. from now on...
@Jeff Fox @CollegeWolf @mattroom Sometimes a change of scenery can have an effect on a player. Look at James Harden or even Carmelo (who is pretty much the same player he was in Denver, just getting more hype).
Agreed about DeRozan, but an attack with Lowry with the ball in his hands with Gay and DeRozan on the wing could work out.
Toronto just re-signed DeRozan to four years, $38 million this summer and he is basically a similar (albeit not as good) player as Gay.
@CollegeWolf @Jeff Fox @mattroom It's going to be put up or shut up time for Gay. If he is indeed a superstar (and he may be), he'll be able to prove it with the Raptors. I don't really think they gave up that much for a player like Gay in his prime. Calderon is an expiring contract and Davis is a third or fourth forward on a good team. Cap flexibility won't necessarily help Toronto.
@CollegeWolf @mattroom @Perry Missner It's truly laughable. They gave up their two most productive players this year (Calderon & Davis have combined for over 50% of the Raptors' Wins Produced this year) for one of the worst contracts in the league and a player they already have a mediocre version of in DeMar DeRozan. And Davis is only 23 years old and is signed for $2 million this year and only $3 million next. But, hey, they gotta clear up frontcourt minutes because Andrea 'Worst Player in the NBA' Bargnani is coming back from injury.
@Jeff Fox @Perry Missner @CollegeWolf Yet, you also have to take roster and market into consideration. If a team needs an all-star and is contending, that team is going to try to sign that player even if that team overpays. Not only that, but Memphis is going to have a hell of a time getting big free agents to sign there when there are other, larger markets out there. So with that said, the contract is not unreasonable for the Grizzlies. And this is not to say that I don't agree with your premise that Gay's contract is too much (even though it makes sense when put into context).
You could also make arguments for Evan Turner, Granger (when healthy), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Kawhi Leonard. So in my estimation Gay is about the seventh to 11th best small forward in the NBA. And the fourth best player on his own team. So perhaps he is slightly above average, but not my leaps and bounds.
All I'm basically saying is he is a good player, not great, yet his salary (which matters in a salary cap league) makes him out to be a star.
@Jeff Fox @mattroom @CollegeWolf I am going to go back to my original comment that Gay is the new age Big Dog (who was also overpaid because the NBA did not have the rookie contract scale yet). Scorers tend to get overrated by the mass media and underrated by the statistical community, but scoring as consistently as Gay, Robinson, or someone like Richard Hamilton should be completely dismissed. They may not be great fantasy players, but they are valuable commodities. I agree with Matt that calling Gay average is a little strong. He's good, but not great.
@mattroom @Perry Missner @CollegeWolf And I still stand by that statement that he is an average player (well, maybe I can be persuaded to make him a slightly, slightly above average player). Other than scoring, he does nothing exceptional. He's good at some aspects (like Matt mentioned), bad at others, but nothing really exceptional that makes him an extraordinary player. And even in terms of scoring, he's not off the charts there, either.
@Perry Missner @CollegeWolf @Jeff Fox The thing I mostly took fault with was the author calling Rudy Gay "an average player at best ". Never did I say that the Grizzlies should keep him, although I do see how the first part of my first paragraph could led you to believe I held that opinion. And I apologize for that vagueness.
@mattroom @CollegeWolf @Jeff Fox If we were living in a vacuum, then we wouldn't have to include Gay's salary in the discussion. The fact that he is due $36 million through 2014 is the only reason Memphis would think of trading him. Well, his 41.3% from the field this season is not great either. I think you like Gay more than the consensus, which is your right, but the Grizzlies may trade him anyway (if John Hollinger has anything to say about it).
@Jeff Fox @CollegeWolf @mattroom His salary is more of a problem for the Grizz than his production. He is paid like a superstar, while merely being above average at best. Memphis was able to get away from the salary cap with their dump of middlin' contracts to Cleveland. Gay has also not improved since his second year in the league. He has plenty of good points, but they are generally not good enough to lead a team far into the playoffs.
YES, they definitely should trade him. It would do amazing things for their financial situation, and wouldn't hurt their team. How about to the Wolves for Derrick Williams, Ridnour, and Amundsen? Win-win for both teams...
@CollegeWolf Get it done!
Robinson: 20.7 points, 45.9% from the field, 34% from three, 82% from the line, 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.6 blocks, 3.1 turnovers
Gay: 17.9 points, 45.3% from the field, 34.5% from three, 77.3% from the line, 5.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.9 blocks, 2.3 turnovers