The last 3 seasons it would have been a sign of rejoice for the name Rudy Gay to be mentioned in discussions with the Warriors and he is someone Warriors fans have thought of before. During each of the last 3 Drafts I'm sure many would have been willing to give up the Warriors first rounder along with several other assets to acquire Memphis' burgeoning "superstar.' Things have changed over those last 3 years which brings us to where we stand today.
Memphis acquired Zach Randolph in the Summer of 2009 to pair with Marc Gasol, Rudy Gay, and Mike Conley. Since then, the Grizz have reached the postseason each of the last 2 seasons, only missing once since acquiring ZBo. They have since that first appearance appeared to be on the bring of being a "contender." Now with new ownership, the fear of going over the concerning luxury tax, coupled with the ever-growing signs that the Gasol/ZBo/Gay contingency can only take you so far especially with little to no signs of scoring or an outside shooting presence elsewhere; and Memphis appears ready to deal it's 26-year old swingman.
Dealing Rudy Gay is not simply a sign of cutting cost's. Dealing Rudy Gay, a 26-year old swingman (who still shows signs and promise of the "superstar" label that he earns at least by the details of his contract) would be a business move and a basketball move. In cutting costs by dealing Gay and his remaining $34 mil. over the next 2 seasons including the $16 mil. he's on the books for this year; Memphis would be creating financial freedom moving forward while also looking to improve a core of ZBo, Gasol, and an improving Mike Conley.
Enter our beloved Warriors. Currently standing at 22-11 and .5 game behind the Memphis Grizzles (who we will face tonight) for 4th place in the Western Conference. The thought of adding Rudy Gay certainly sounds nice because his name rings a bell whether you're a devoted NBA fan or just a casual on-looker. Several months ago it would have been a glorious idea to possibly move a pick and an asset for Gay. Where we stand today with a set roster and starting lineup (once Andrew Bogut returns), we are also staring in the face of the ugly luxury tax with decisions to be made on the 6th-man tandem of Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry this Summer. So giving up young or any assets for that matter to acquire Gay hence tying ourselves up for the near future isn't a bright idea.
Having the benefit of Harrison Barnes on our roster helps the cause against this deal. Barnes adds the same dynamic as Gay with more room to grow at a much cheaper contract. So even though Jerry West (who originally drafted Gay after acquiring him in a draft day trade for Shane Battier back in '06) would love to have Gay it just doesn't make much sense if Memphis would not be helping us out along the way. Which is why there is the rumored insistence of including Richard Jefferson's massively, not-expiring soon enough deal. This may seem crazier than it sounds, but I'm surprised Memphis shut down dialogue at the mention of this. Jefferson is still on the books for $11 mil. next season thanks to a player option; Memphis is also one of the few teams who have yet to use their amnesty clause. I don't know what other names/assets Memphis was looking to acquire, but let's assume it's the one that would fill their glaring need, Klay Thompson. Thompson is the kind of sharp-shooter Memphis needs to bring themselves to the next level. He also has 3 seasons (including his restricted year) left on his rookie deal at a relatively cheap price. I would think a deal of Thompson, Jefferson (with the idea of amnestying or coming to terms on a buy-out), and a conditional pick or two would have Memphis jumping for joy compared to any offer Toronto, Phoenix, Sacramento, or anyone else might have to offer. Adding Klay and financial flexibility to ensure Memphis retains players such as Tony Allen, a perennial All-Defensive player would seem wonderful if I were a Memphis fan. Maybe Klay's name didn't come up and maybe the Warriors were just chopping at the bits looking to get a dollar on the penny like the rest of the league. I really don't know, that proposed deal in my eyes is more than anything Memphis will see unless they presumably wait until the draft which would also be giving up on contending this year.
In summation giving up any more than Klay and RJ's expiring for the idea of Rudy Gay being a superstar would be very bad for this organization. I'm all for adding another superstar if one is available to help this team in continuing to grow, Rudy Gay is not that player. Rudy Gay is the kind of player who could tie up this organization for the near future and diminish any hopes of acquiring that superstar. Rudy Gay (who I really like) is also the kind of player who could disrupt the flow on offense and defense that the Warriors have worked so hard to implement and sustain. Rudy Gay is also the kind of player who for 2 years could hamper the growth of another budding superstar in Harrison Barnes. So for all intensive purpose of any Warriors fan who's eyes may light up at the sight of "Rudy Gay-Warriors" this is me telling you, no, you do not want this. It will be for the best. Welcome to your 2012-2013 Golden State Warriors.
I still have to pinch myself sometimes to believe this is what life has become.