|Could ZBo be moved? (Getty Images)|
Is a fire sale coming to a championship contender?
As rumors continue to swirl around a potential Rudy Gay trade from the Grizzlies, the Memphis Commercial-Appeal reports that Gay isn't the only starter for Memphis who could be moved as the franchise tries to get under the luxury tax.
Griz CEO Jason Levien, whom principal owner Robert Pera has entrusted to run the franchise, is gauging the value of several players on the roster. There also have been exploratory trade conversations centered on forward Zach Randolph.
The Sacramento Kings are one of the teams the Griz recently held preliminary talks with, according to a league source.
Let's be clear about this. Trading ZBo would be disastrous for the franchise. He's the most popular player in team history. He is their best player. He led the only playoff series win in team history. He identifies with the city and embodies the culture that the team has tried to develop. He's been an on-floor leader and a friend to fellow big man Marc Gasol. Trading him would set the franchise back in way more ways than just points and rebounds.
Oh, but he is averaging 17 points and 12 rebounds per game this season as well.
If the new ownership in Memphis is this hard up for cash when it comes to the salary and luxury tax, then maybe making the $377-million bid wasn't the best idea. The city has only come to embrace the team in the past few years, with this grit, grind approach having resonated with the city's blue-collar culture. Randolph has embodied that. Trading Randolph in a cash dump has its upside, namely getting out of his long-term contract money, which will inevitably be an anchor as he ages.
But moving your best player, the All-Star, the most popular player, to save yourself the luxury bill? That's a disaster waiting to happen for the team and its relationship with the city.