Last week, the NBA saw its first blockbuster deal of the 2012-2013 season when Baltimore native Rudy Gay was traded from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Toronto Raptors in a three-team deal. The Grizzlies notably received forward Ed Davis and former Detroit Piston Tayshaun Prince in return, with career Raptor Jose Calderon headed to the Motor City.
This trade is notable for the Wizards since rumors have been spreading widely for months about the possibility of Gay heading to his hometown team. He averaged a commendable 17.9 points and 5.8 rebounds over a six-year career with Memphis, and had the potential to fit right in with point guard John Wall and provide immediate offense to the ever-struggling Wizards. The crux of the problem became that the Grizzlies reportedly wanted rookie standout and 2012 No. 3 overall pick Bradley Beal in any sort of Wizards package for Gay, something GM Ernie Grunfeld wasn’t willing to offer. Discrepancies in salaries would have made a deal tough as well, given Beal is making $4.13 million this season and Gay approximately $16.5 million.
Nevertheless, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in the end Gay won’t be playing for the Wizards any time soon. Washington is committed to approximately $70 million in contracts over the next two years among three veteran players alone—Nene, Emeka Okafor, and Trevor Ariza—all of whom the team has acquired within the last calendar year. The Wizards surely need offense given their mediocre 11-35 record, but the 2013 draft class has been looking better and better recently with top prospects Cody Zeller (Indiana), Ben McLemore (Kansas), and Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA), to name a few, all playing tremendous basketball at their respective schools.
The Wizards have a solid young core of players including Wall and Beal on which to build, so even if the 2012-2013 doesn’t finish on a high note, the future could still be looking bright.