Rudy Gay's tenure with the Memphis Grizzlies is over.
On the eve of a big showdown with Oklahoma City, the Memphis Grizzlies have pulled off their second trade in the last week, dealing Gay and back up center Hamed Haddai to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for point guard Jose Calderon and 6-foot-10 power forward Ed Davis and a second round draft pick.
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As part of the deal, the Grizz will send Calderon to the Detroit Pistons in return for veteran small forward Tayshaun Prince and power forward Austin Daye.
The details are unconfirmed right now, and continuing to unfold, but it does appear the Grizzlies' new front office has done what they set out to do, get out from under Gay's contract.
This is the second trade the Grizzlies have made in the past week.
Gay was the longest-tenured Grizzly and the team's leading scorer. 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.
Gay was set to make $19 million in the final year of his contract with the Grizzlies. That money would put the team over the luxury tax. So the new owners looked to dump salary and trade him before the NBA trade deadline Feb. 21.
Trading away Gay also eases a luxury tax hit due next season, while concentrating the team around center Marc Gasol and All-Star forward Zach Randolph. The Grizzlies had their best playoff run in 2011 when they knocked off then-No. 1 seed San Antonio before losing to Oklahoma City in seven games in the Western semifinals - all with Gay on the bench after needing season-ending shoulder surgery.
On Jan. 22, the Grizzlies agreed to trade Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a future first-round draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Jon Leuer. The first trade cleared $6.4 million in salary in getting Memphis under the luxury tax threshold this season.
The moves surprised many around the league, including Calderon.
''It's been my home for eight years,'' Calderon said in Atlanta Wednesday evening, shortly before leaving the arena. ''I've done everything possible for this team. It's tough. The fans have been with me since Day 1. It's tough.''
Prince and Daye were both listed as inactive for the game against the Pacers in Indiana on Wednesday night, but a Pistons spokesman decline to comment.
Gay, averaging 17.2 points and 5.9 rebounds, signed a five-year, $82 million maximum contract in July 2010 with Memphis. The 6-foot-8 small forward is due $16.5 million this season with $37 million more over the next two years. That's a big number for new owner Robert Pera, who took over the franchise last November and has quickly started addressing the team's salary situation.
FOX13 Sports Director Matt Stark and Associated Press Basketball Writer Jon Krawczynski contributed to this report.
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