Although the Memphis Grizzlies are doing very good so far this NBA season, they have a problem.
If the Grizz keep their roster as is, they will go over the luxury tax for the 2013-14 season, costing the team millions in penalties.
So the new owners are looking to dump salary and the player in the middle of all the current trade talks, is the longest tenured Grizzly - Rudy Gay.
The Houston Rockets drafted the Connecticut forward in the June 2006 NBA Draft, which would be the start of an up and down career for Gay. He was immediately traded to Memphis in a draft day trade. The Rockets got in return then-Grizzlies fan favorite Shane Battier.
Former general manager Jerry West had high expectations of Gay.
"The most talented player in the draft we thought was Rudy Gay," West said in 2006.
After a decent rookie season Gay was excellent in year two averaging more than 6 rebounds and 20 points per game, a career high.
In the 2007-08 season, Gay was invited to All-Star Weekend in the Rookie-Sophomore Challenge and the Slam Dunk Contest.
Gay, who has yet to be selected to the All-Star Game as a starter or reserve, would see the Grizzlies team he started his career with go from terrible to respectable once the team added Zach Randolph, Tony Allen and Marc Gasol. The new starting five would become a playoff contender in the 2010-11 season before a shoulder injury sidelined Gay for the remainder of the season.
"This is my job and I love my job and I take it seriously, so when I am not able to contribute to us winning, it's tough," Gay said after he injured his shoulder.
However, in the midst of the 2012-13 season and with his team playing well off to a 24-11 record, Gay is having an up and down season. Rumors are swirling that he might be traded.
Commercial Appeal Grizzlies beat writer Ron Tillery doesn't think the team will make a move yet.
"It's tough to think they would think to bust up a (24-11) team," Tillery said. "This team is to successful to break it up."
Fans FOX talked to before Friday's game against the Spurs have mixed opinions…
"He is shooting 40 percent on the year," said one Grizz fan. "He is having an inefficient season. He is scoring the same amount of points on more shot attempts but let makes so why not look for someone who can get you more efficient buckets?"
"That is an awful idea," another fan said on the trade rumors. "Why would you want to do that? He gets along with all the players and everyone loves him."
"If it ain' t broke, don't fix it," another fan said.
Gay is set to make $19 million in the final year of his contract. That money would put the team over the luxury tax. So the new owners seem to be looking to dump salary.
"You're $4 million over the tax and if this team is allowed to stay the same, it will be the a tax-paying team going forward," Tillery said. "You have to look at the financial side as well as the team side."
Head Coach Lionel Hollins says he likes his team as is.
"Certainly I like my team the way it is, but again it is not my call," he said.
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