Cavs should make a play for Gay

Cavs should make a play for Gay

Published Jan. 10, 2013 10:21 a.m. ET

Rudy Gay would be a great fit for the Cavaliers, and he’s supposedly available.

And since we all know general manager Chris Grant is sitting in his office and thinking, “Well, I’d better wait to hear from Amico,” I’m about to make a suggestion.

My rally cry: Make a play for Gay.

In case you don’t know much about Gay, he’s a 6-foot-8 small forward for the Memphis Grizzlies, a well-rounded player with natural athleticism. He can slash, he can score, he can rebound, he can defend.

What's not to like?

Gay is also just 26 years old, a high-character guy and a borderline All-Star. Oh, did I mention Gay can score?

He does it from inside, he does it from out, he does it from most points in between. This season, he’s averaging 17.8 points and 5.8 rebounds for the overachieving Grizzlies (22-10 entering Wednesday night).

So not only is Gay a proven individual talent, he offers the type of winning mindset any team would want.

"He can get to a sweet spot on the floor and elevate, and he has a high-release point on his shot," Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace told me earlier this season. “When things aren’t going well, we can get him the ball and just sort of let him go.”

Now imagine that type of guy lining up next to Kyrie Irving. Imagine Gay finishing the break off an Irving pass, or bailing out the Cavs with the type of shot only a fantastic athlete can make with the shot clock expiring.

All that, and again, he’s only 26.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “If Gay is so great, then why is Memphis trying to trade him?”

Well, that’s a good question. And, oh yeah, about that contract.

Gay is signed through the rest of this season, and for two more after this one. He’s due $16.4 million this year, $17.8 million next and a whopping $19.3 in 2014-15.

No joke, that’s a lot of cash, kids.

But so what? The Cavs have a lot of cap space – more than anyone else in the league. At some point, they have to put it to good use, right? Right.
Truth is, players like Gay don’t come around very often. Not ones who are in the prime of their careers, and who are at least solid in every area.

Plus, Gay isn’t Andrew Bynum or DeMarcus Cousins. There are no questions about whether Gay is coachable. He’s never had issues with teammates. He just shows up, plays hard, produces and keeps his mouth shut.

Something else to think about: Gay has never played with a point guard like Irving. Former Ohio State guard Mike Conley is the Grizzlies’ point man, and Conley is certainly a nice player. But Conley’s no Kyrie.

Anyway, no less than nine teams supposedly have inquired about Gay’s services since word got out he’s obtainable. I don’t know if the Cavs are one of those teams. If not, they should be.

Nor do I know what it would take to land Gay. Clearly, you’d need cap space, draft picks and other assets, and the Cavs have an abundance of all.

With the news that Anderson Varejao will miss another six to eight weeks after knee surgery, the Cavs and their fans could use a little pick-me-up. The Cavs likely wouldn’t even have to trade Varejao to get Gay. And think about that lineup going into next season. Gay would immediately give the Cavs what they'd likely have to wait at least a couple seasons to get from yet another lottery pick.

So there you have it. My one request this season for the Cavaliers:

Make a play for Gay

I’ll leave the rest to Chris Grant. My guess is he’ll appreciate that.