Memphis Grizzlies Are Playing Just Fine Without Rudy Gay

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

When the Memphis Grizzlies decided to trade away top scorer Rudy Gay the weeks before the NBA trade deadline many assumed they were insane. But now a month after the trade, the Grizzlies appear to be in good shape Gay no longer on the roster.

The Grizzlies are 10-4 since sending Gay to the Toronto Raptors as part of a three-team deal that landed Memphis Tayshaun Prince and Ed Davis (more on Davis later), with three of those losses coming in the game immediately after the trade when the Grizzlies were shorthanded. After the initial shock the Grizzlies ran off an eight-game winning streak that was recently snapped by the equally hot Miami Heat. In other words, the Grizzlies hangover from losing Gay was short-lived.

But there’s one thing about the Grizzlies timing in trading Gay that wakes it that much more interesting. The Grizzlies traded Gay on January 31, three weeks before the February 21 NBA trade deadline. Dealing Gay at the end of January was right before the Grizzlies experienced the easiest part of their schedule with eight of the Grizzlies 11 February opponents being under-.500, giving the team an opportunity to gel with their new players while facing less challenging competition. That was an shrewd and underrated move by the Grizzlies front office.

Also the Grizzlies landing Ed Davis in the deal was a steal. Although he hasn’t played much but at 23 and 6’10″ Davis has the potential to develop to a productive rotation big man for a Memphis team that is built on interior toughness. Add Tayshaun Prince’s experience to the mix and the Grizzlies could actually be better off in the present and the future without Gay’s massive contract.

It’s isn’t often that a team in playoff contention deals their leading scorer in the middle of a winning season, but the Grizzlies deserve some credit or appearing to have made the right decision so far.

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