When Robert Pera purchased the Memphis Grizzlies, and remade the team’s front-office, the priority became clear: salaries had to be slashed, and Rudy Gay’s big contract became the likeliest candidate for removal.
Per Yahoo! Sports:
“You have to give me a chance to see if I’m worth that,” Gay said. Gay averaged at least 18 points in his previous five seasons with Memphis, but the new regime in the small market didn’t believe the forward with no All-Star appearance was worth paying $53.7 million over three seasons. Memphis also had two stellar big men in All-Star forward Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol while playing a half-court offense that didn’t utilize Gay’s athleticism.
After Robert Pera bought the Grizzlies last offseason, Gay’s name often came up in trade conversations. Gay quietly had an intuition he would be dealt. “With [new management], I don’t think anybody’s comfortable,” Gay said. “They’re rookie owners. They come in there and they want it their own way, and you can’t blame them for that. But it’s a player’s league.”
It may be a players’ league, but business trumps all. The Grizzlies seem to think they’ll be better off financially and on the court going forward without Rudy Gay (Memphis has gone 11-4 since the big trade.)
Now the undisputed main guy on the Raptors — Gay says it was a “tug of war” in Memphis, playing alongside stars like Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol — Rudy appears ready to embrace his new role as the face of the franchise. And so do the Raptors, who will reportedly offer their new forward (who has averaged just over 20 points since joining the team) a contract extension this summer.