Rudy Gay trade rumors: Will Grizzlies wait until after season ends?

USA TODAY Sports

Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay is a hot commodity on the trade market, but ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports that Memphis may be leaning toward keeping Gay through this season before looking to deal him in the offseason.

Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay is the hottest name on the NBA's trading market, as it seems like every day there's a new team throwing their hat into the ring for his services.

According to Ric Bucher of CSN Bay Area, the Washington Wizards are the latest team to do so, making what he calls a "good" offer for Gay. However, with Memphis firmly in contention, there are certainly no guarantees that the team actually trades Gay before the Feb. 21 deadline. Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports that the Grizzlies are actually leaning toward keeping Gay for the rest of this year before looking to deal him in the offseason:

Yet it's still very early in that game for the Grizzlies. The Grizz are still in fact-finding, asset-gauging mode and, according to one source who has discussed Gay trade parameters with them, are leaning toward waiting until after the season before breaking up their core to reduce future luxury-tax obligations, as Memphis coach Lionel Hollins would undoubtedly prefer judging by a series of interviews he gave Friday.

As Stein mentions, Memphis is looking to move Gay in order to reduce future luxury tax hits, which are more severe under the new collective bargaining agreement. The Grizzlies are currently about $4 million above the tax line this season, but making such a deal could throw a wrench into what has been a marvelous year so far. So perhaps they will keep the team together and bite the proverbial luxury tax bullet this year before working to get under the tax in coming years.

With the core of Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley slated to earn about $58 million over each of the next two seasons, it only makes sense to look for possible deals for the 26-year-old forward. Gay is slated to earn over $37 million the next two years, and while he's a good player with dynamic scoring abilities, it's hard to argue that he's worth that much. Gay is currently averaging career-lows in field goal and 3-point percentages, and his 17.9 points per game is the lowest since his rookie season.

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