Add the Toronto Raptors to the growing list of teams showing serious interest in trading for Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay. ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports that the Raptors, who made a run at Gay before the 2012 NBA Draft, are attempting to assemble trade packages to bring the forward to Toronto:
Among the trade chips that the Raptors are believed to be dangling, in addition to draft considerations, are veteran point guard Jose Calderon (who possesses an expiring contract worth $10.6 million) and young big man Ed Davis.
Toronto initially made a charge at Gay prior to the June draft, offering up a variety of packages that were headlined by the No. 8 pick and Calderon. Memphis, still under the old ownership of Michael Heisley, declined the offers.
However, the Grizzlies' new ownership group led by Robert Pera and Jason Levien are reportedly looking to shop Gay in order to lessen luxury tax hits over the coming seasons. Gay is due $16.4 million this season, and is owed $17.8 million in 2013-14 with a player option of $19.3 million in 2014-15. Memphis is at $74.3 million in salary this season, about $4 million above the tax line. The outlook is similar for the next few years with the group of Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley taking up most of the cap.
The whole situation is tricky though, considering Memphis is right in the thick of things in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies are 22-10, which is fourth-best in the West. While Gay has struggled at times this season and is shooting a career-low 40.8 percent, trading the team's leading scorer in the middle of a potentially excellent season could be a tough sell.
There's still no guarantee that Memphis ends up trading Gay. Stein reports that any trade will not simply be a salary dump, and that the Grizzlies will work hard to get fair value back in any deal. Other teams rumored to be involved in the Gay sweepstakes are the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors.