Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports the Memphis Grizzlies are willing to listen to trade offers for Rudy Gay. The reason? Memphis is about $4 million over the luxury cap.
Gay is on the books for $16 million this season, $17 million next season, and holds a player options for $19 million in 2014-15.
Lowe lists the Celtics as one of the “sensible” trading partners for Memphis, but it wouldn’t be easy:
Two things work against Boston getting involved in any Gay deal:
1. The chances of pawning Jeff Green’s terrible contract off on Memphis plummeted when Levien and Hollinger took on key decision-making roles. Finding a workable deal without Green’s contract is tricky.
2. Boston used the full mid-level exception on Jason Terry, meaning their payroll during this season cannot exceed $74.3 million — $4 million above the tax line — at any point. Boston’s payroll is at about $71.9 million, meaning they can only take on about $2.4 million in salary. Memphis needs to drop $4 million to duck the tax; simple math says Boston would have to find a third team with cap space to facilitate — unless Memphis is prepared to settle for a deal that cuts their tax payment but doesn’t get them under.
Houston, Phoenix, and Cleveland are the only teams with major cap room, and any of the three could appear as a facilitator if Memphis does move Gay. (The Cavs obviously need a small forward, but it’s hard to find a realistic fit, since Memphis’ strong big rotation minimizes the need for Cleveland’s best trade asset, Anderson Varejao).
A package of Green, Courtney Lee, and Avery Bradley works, though it only saves Memphis about $1.4 million in salary (and the same amount in tax payments). Memphis might be able to cut the rest by salary-dumping Marreese Speights or Bayless later (Speights isn’t trade-eligible until Jan. 15 and can veto any deal), and they could sell at least Lee and Bradley as helpful pieces that fill needs now and going forward. Replace Green with the cheaper Brandon Bass, and Boston would have to work a lot harder — sending out more players, and involving more teams — in order to find a deal.
Paul Pierce for Gay works straight-up, but it’s sacrilege and does not save Memphis any tax money this season.
There’s no way in hell Hollinger takes on Jeff Green. So forget that. Adding a third team always complicates matters. In the end, the Celtics would be re-shuffling their entire roster for… Rudy Gay. He’s not worth that.
I know what you’re all thinking: Avery Bradley is too good for this deal. You made your point pretty clear when his name surfaced in rumors about DeMarcus Cousins.
Is there anyone out there who would deal Pierce’s aging legs for the spry Gay?
In actual news, the Celtics assigned Kris Joseph to the Maine Red Claws.