Kevin C. Cox
With a lot of negativity surrounding his team following the Rudy Gay trade, Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins attempted to clear the air on Friday before the team's win over the Warriors.
It's no secret that Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins was not a big fan of the Rudy Gay trade. He spoke out shortly after the trade, saying, "When you have a champagne taste, you can't be on a beer budget." And in recent days, Hollins has also complained about his lack of a backup center behind Marc Gasol, claiming that neither Darrell Arthur nor newcomer Ed Davis could play the position.
Combine Hollins' comments with several players expressing their unhappiness with his playcalling, and a toxic environment was brewing in the Grizzlies' locker room. But before Friday night's game against the Golden State Warriors, Hollins tried to clear the air.
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The head coach said that while he would not have traded Gay if it was up to him, he will accept the decision that ownership made. Ron Higgins of The Commercial Appeal has the quotes:
"A lot of my comments have been taken like I am against the (new) ownership and management. In both trades, they kept me abreast. I had my opinion and suggestion, they went the way they went. . .
"I accept the decision (of trading Gay) because I have to, it's over my head. If I was the decision-maker, would I have made it differently? I can't say I wouldn't."
Hollins also admitted that although he is disappointed that Gay is no longer in Memphis, he and the team must get over it and move forward:
"Was I disappointed? Of course I was disappointed. ... But that doesn't mean I love Rudy Gay more than I love Zach Randolph. It doesn't mean that I can't go on without Rudy Gay.
"Life goes on. Me as a leader has to move forward and bring a spirit of work, a spirit of togetherness and let our players know that this is the business of basketball. I'm sure our players had a hangover as well. . .
Memphis certainly played like they had a hangover following the trade, going 1-3 in four games prior to Friday night's contest. But against the Warriors, the Grizzlies finally looked a bit like their old selves, grabbing a hard-fought 99-93 win. Five players scored in double figures, and both Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph posted double-doubles. Austin Daye, who came over from the Detroit Pistons in the Gay trade, chipped in 12 points off the bench in his first solid game since the move.
Memphis is now 31-18 and fifth in the Western Conference, one-half-game behind the Denver Nuggets for the fourth seed. If the Grizzlies can rally together as a group, they still have plenty of talent to make a deep playoff run.