We’ve heard plenty of rumors regarding the Cleveland Cavaliers recently, some of them legit, some of them downright laughable. The one that has seem to stuck the most, though, is the rumor that the Cavs were interested in trading for Memphis Grizzlies’ SF Rudy Gay.
Perhaps the Cavaliers did have some interest, but it was always questionable whether the Grizzlies would be interested in trading Gay. The common thought was that the Grizzlies’ playoff run without Gay made him expendable and that they would be open to shedding the giant contract they gave him last year. Dan Gilbert has proven he will spare no expense, so a deal actually kind of made sense.
But according to Grizzlies owner Mike Heisley, we can stop all that talk right now. In a phone interview with the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Heisley makes it clear that the Grizzlies are not trading Gay:
“You could do me a favor,” he said.
For you, Mike? Anything.
“Would you please make it clear that we’re not trading Rudy Gay?”
You’re not? But I keep hearing all these NBA types say that you might well trade him.
“I know,” said Heisley. “And, quite frankly, it (ticks) me off. I think it’s cruel to the guy. He died during this period. That’s how much he wanted to play. And to now have to hear that we’re trading him? There’s nothing more untrue than that.”
So, I should write that he’ll be back?
“Let me tell you something,” said Heisley. “No disrespect to Oklahoma City, but if we had had Rudy Gay, we would have won the bleepity-bleep series going away. I really believe that.”
So there you have it. Never say never, but it sure sounds like that is an owner determined to keep that team together and see where they can go. And you know what? Good for him. I love seeing small-mid market teams stepping up and trying to keep their teams intact.
If there really is a changing of the guard in the Western Conference, the Grizzlies proved that they can play with the powers that be in the West. So adding Rudy Gay to a team that just came about 1 quarter short of possibly advancing to the Western Conference Finals sounds like a pretty decent idea, even if all that money they’re giving him might be better used on adding multiple pieces.
Regardless, it was always going to be a challenge for the Cavaliers to acquire Gay anyway. Once Gay’s 2011-12 salary of $15,032,144 kicks in, it would exceed the Cavaliers’ $14,500,000 trade exception and thus make them unable to use it to get him. Perhaps the Cavaliers could have used Jamison’s expiring contract to get the job done, but the move would have sent the wrong message to Grizzlies fans, particularly after this playoff run.
They say never say never, but for now, I think Cavs fans can consider the Rudy Gay rumor officially dead. This one just isn’t happening.
Photo Credit: JD Meredith for Memphisport