With their team salary some $4 million above the luxury tax threshold, the Memphis Grizzlies have been reportedly shopping various players on their roster for weeks in an attempt to get below the tax. Until now, it was reported and expected to be Rudy Gay on the move, but Alex Kennedy of USA Today and Hoopsworld is now reporting that another player has emerged: Zach Randolph. Not only does Kennedy report that the Grizzlies could move Randolph, but that the Rockets would be the likely destination.
Here's his report:
Source says that the Memphis Grizzlies may keep Rudy Gay, and instead trade Zach Randolph to the Houston Rockets. Houston loves Randolph.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) January 20, 2013
Not to be a complete buzzkill, but I have a hard time seeing anything here. For one, it makes little sense for Memphis to move Randolph instead of Gay unless they're completely blowing it up, but that's not even close to the only problem.
The Rockets have three major contracts, and then a bunch of rookie deals. Without including one of Lin or Asik (both of whom can't be traded without their permission), the Rockets will have a very hard time making the money match with Memphis. The Rockets have a decent cache of cap space, but not nearly enough to accommodate Randolph's whole salary. If the Rockets were interested in closing a deal like this, they would have to include some five players for just Randolph, a nearly impossible proposition.
Add in the fact that the Grizzlies would be essentially enabling a division rival to pass them up in the Western pecking order and kill all their chances at contention for a relatively small sum of money, I just don't see it happening. The Rockets might be interested and might be high on Randolph, but it just seems like such an unlikely trade partnership that I don't see it happening.
More likely, I'd imagine that Memphis is engaged with another team in Rudy Gay discussions, and wanted to get some leverage in the talks by floating a rumor that they won't move Gay. Because Daryl Morey has been connected to nearly every player at some point in the last few years, any rumor with his name has instant viability.