The Memphis (then Vancouver) Grizzlies and the Toronto Raptors joined the NBA in time for the 1995-1996 regular season as part of the NBA expanding into Canada. If the Toronto Raptors get their way, they’ll be teaming up with the Grizzlies again to make more news.
Reports surfaced on Wednesday afternoon that the Raptors could seek to move their lottery pick and maybe one of their veterans for a young, athletic forward. One of the guys that they may seek could be Memphis’ own Rudy Gay.
The Raptors own the 8th pick in the lottery this season and while it is a high pick in one of the deepest drafts in recent NBA history, the best small forward in the draft pool this season is Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and he is slated to be off the board before the 8th pick.
The other intriguing prospect would be North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, but he’s also unlikely to be on the board.
If the Grizzlies did make that deal and didn’t take back one of Toronto’s small forwards, then Memphis would have a pretty decent sized hole at that spot with only Quincy Pondexter on the roster to give them minutes there.
Toronto is apparently seeking to sign Steve Nash this off-season in an effort to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2009. They’re in a position to do so with some cap space, former #1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani and last year’s lottery pick Jonas Valunciunas ready to join the team.
The Raptors make this move because they don’t want to wait on another prospect to come to fruition and see that the eastern conference is more wide open than anyone realized with the Miami Heat and New York Knicks still struggling to gel as a unit, Derrick Rose coming off of a serious knee injury in Chicago and the Boston Celtics maybe on their way down from the east’s elite (yeah, right.)
Memphis does it because they want more flexibility with their payroll and if they can pay two pieces what they’re paying one and get similar production, why wouldn’t they do that? The team doesn’t need to rebuild, just retool and spinning Gay into multiple pieces is retooling.
Personally, I would be wary about trading my best guy from a position that is already thin, but the Grizzlies may have no choice.
The other upside for the Raptors is that this guy will be the happiest guy in Canada if they trade for Gay. WARNING: Video is NSFW or anything really, but it is relevant to the conversation.