By JARED COWLEY
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
ESPN.com’s Ric Bucher reported on SportsCenter Wednesday (and then Tweeted it, which is where I learned the news) that the Warriors have offered Monta Ellis (and change) to the Memphis Grizzlies for Rudy Gay.
This isn’t the first time the Warriors and Grizzlies have talked trade regarding the Warriors’ diminutive shooting guard. Two seasons ago, a trade that would have netted the Warriors O.J. Mayo and Hasheem Thabeet went up in smoke. At the time, I approved of the trade offer, since I considered Mayo at the time to be a much better player than he actually is, but all that proves is that I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed.
However, at the risk of shooting myself in the foot once again, I’m going to put my stamp of approval on this trade offer as well. As a disclaimer, I’ll put it out there that I don’t believe this trade happens. I don’t think Memphis wants Ellis enough to give up Gay, unless they’re motivated primarily by money, which I don’t believe to be the case. But, if the Grizzlies were interested enough to say yes, I think the Warriors would be very fortunate.
I haven’t made it a secret over the years how I feel about Ellis. Spectacular talent. Not the right fit for this team, not as long as Stephen Curry is the other starting guard. The two players are too similar on offense, and their collaborative defensive effort is uninspiring, to put it kindly. That said, Ellis is one of the most talented guards in the NBA. The Warriors shouldn’t give him away unless they get true value in return.
Enter Rudy Gay.
Gay missed much of last season to injury, but when healthy (and I don’t foresee injuries becoming a recurring problem with Gay), he’s one of the most talented, exciting small forwards in the league. He’s a gifted shooter, a legitimate 20-point scorer, a solid rebounder from the 3 spot (he averaged 6.2 last season) and has started to develop into a very good defensive player. He would fit the Warriors’ roster perfectly.
If the Warriors traded Ellis for Gay (not sure what other pieces the Warriors would give up), their starting lineup would look like this:
PG: Stephen Curry
SG: Reggie Williams
SF: Rudy Gay
PF: David Lee
C: Ekpe Udoh
That’s a well-balanced starting lineup. Depending on what the Warriors do in free agency, they might have a different starter at the center or shooting guard spot, but even as-is, that’s a good lineup. Plus, it allows Dorell Wright to play 30 minutes per night as the Warriors’ sixth man, which I think suits his game nicely.
This trade probably doesn’t happen. But if it does, I’ll be nodding my head in approval.
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