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Grizzlies to deal Rudy Gay to Toronto

By Royce Young | NBA writer

What's been rumored for weeks appears to be finally happening.

According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, the Grizzlies and Raptors have agreed in principle to a deal sending Rudy Gay and Hamed Haddadi to Toronto in exchange for Ed Davis and Jose Calderon. The plan for Memphis is to then involve a third team to take Calderon, essentially turning this into a three-team trade.

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Berger reports the mystery third team will be the Pistons, who will send Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye and a second-round pick to Memphis. Calderon -- for some reason -- is making $10.5 million this season, but is on an attractive expiring contract.

Gay, 26, is averaging 17.2 points and 5.9 rebounds but with an anemic PER of just 14.39.

Davis, 23, was taken 13th overall in 2010 out of North Carolina, but hasn't exactly lived up to his potential. On the season he's averaging 9.7 points and 6.7 rebounds in 24.2 minutes.

Prince, 32, is averaging 11.7 points and 4.6 rebounds. Daye, 24, is averaging 5.1 points and 2.6 rebounds.

The Grizzlies completed a deal with Cleveland just a couple weeks ago to shed salary, sending Wayne Ellington, Marreese Speights, Josh Selby and a pick to Cleveland for Jon Leuer. That deal was seen as a bit of a stop-gap for Memphis and enough potential tax relief to keep Gay, but evidently not. The temptation to move Gay and his still-owed $53 million off the books was too much. Gay is set to make $16.4 million this season, $17.8 next season and with a player option in 2015, $19.3 million.

Also: The Grizzlies recently shook up their entire front office, so a change in direction is probably part of it.

What's curious about the deal though is that the Grizzlies currently are fourth in the West at 29-15, and very much a legit contender. Obviously they feel strongly centering the team around their outstanding interior duo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, but removing Gay from the equation eliminates probably their best isolation perimeter scoring option.

Bringing in Prince will help fill the hole, but he's not the same kind of scorer Gay is. What Prince is though, is on a smaller deal, one that pays him about $21.7 million through 2015.

Total, between the two trades, the Grizzlies save almost $40 million over the next three years, and are now about $8 million under the tax line.

So the Grizzlies save big money and get a decent replacement along with two prospects. The Pistons shed salary and pick up a big expiring contract. And the Raptors get Rudy Gay, and his rather robust contract.

 
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