When the Memphis Grizzlies hired renowned statistics guru John Hollinger to join their front office, many questioned the move. While at ESPN Hollinger was the mastermind behind the now-popular “player efficiency rating” category (or PER) that uses a formula that uses a number of factors to rate a player’s value to their team.
With the latest NBA trade news about the Grizzlies sending overpaid Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors for Jose Calderon and Ed Davis, then flipping Calderon to the Detroit Pistons for forwards Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye. This coming just a week after dumping the salaries of Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, and Josh Selby to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Jon Leuer.
In essence, the Grizzlies have not only managed to get well below the salary cap and avoid a luxury tax penalty, but have also brought in a veteran defensive forward with championship experience that makes HALF of what Gay makes.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Hollinger’s expertise with statistics helped facilitate these deals for the Grizzlies. Many would argue that losing a 17-point per game scorer like Rudy Gay hurts the Grizzlies, but those who make that claim are ignoring the fact that Gay is shooting a career-worse .408 from the field and only .310 from three-point range, whereas Prince is knocking down .434 from long range this season for a fraction of the cost.
The Grizzlies also acquired a promising young power forward in Ed Davis who was impressive while starting in place of Andrea Bargnani. Davis also is in just his third season and still under his rookie contract. This deal was virtually a no-brainer for Memphis.
Without getting into specifics, the Grizzlies are saving somewhere in the area of $37 million over the next three seasons.
Well done, Grizzlies. Well done, indeed.