Is Rudy Gay’s New Deal a Good or Bad Move?

JARVIS GREER, Action News 5 Sports Director
Jarvis Greer has become a Grand Slam Winner this year. Four years in a row he has won the award for Favorite Sports Television Personality. See all the award winners on page 18.

Five Years at $82 Million? What’s all the fuss about?

Many so-called “fans” out there said Grizzlies Owner Michael Heisley would not pay to keep Rudy. Heisley said all along he wasn’t letting him go.

These “fans” said, when Rudy’s contract was up he couldn’t wait to get out of Memphis. I never heard him say that and I’m around the team about as much as anyone not employed by the team.

Rudy likes it here and has said to me personally he wants to stay. So, now Rudy’s here and Heisley’s paying to keep him. Again, what’s all the fuss about?

Plus, the Grizz knew Gay’s suitors included not only Minnesota, but New York, New Jersey, and Miami, (whom he put 41 on last season.) All are destination locations with about $30 million each to spend on free agency.

Chris Wallace, the Grizzlies GM, says those teams had the capability to “front load” a deal for Rudy that could’ve paid him as much as $24 million for the first season! That would cause cash flow problems for the home team to match.

Rudy had the advantage of timing in this free agent lalapalooza.

The NBA is about scoring. Memphis just locked up a scorer. You win with people that can put the ball in the basket. Rudy can get you 20 just about every night.

The Grizzlies just spent four years cultivating this kid. He’s only 23 and he’s finally got a head coach in Lionel Hollins who believes in him. (Fratello didn’t believe in playing rookies, Iavaroni ignored him, and Barone, Sr. was an interim.)

You want the Grizzlies to become the Clippers? Owner Donald Sterling was notorious for letting really good players walk after their rookie deals expired.

Some facts. Rudy is one of only seven players in the league to average right at 20ppg and at least 1.5 steals a game.

He is a big shot taker and a big shot maker at the end of games. He’s won several for us on last second shots, and/or had big fourth quarters to get us back or keep us in games.

Plus, Gay’s deal could’ve been bigger. As his original team, the Grizzlies could’ve offered six years at $96 million. No other team could do that.

As it stand now, should the Grizzlies want to move him in the future, this deal is not crazy considering the money being tossed around to other free agents.

For those of you who think Gay, who balked at the five years at $50 million the Grizz offered before last season, would’ve taken, say $65 mill? C’mon! Gay and his agent knew their position and the money that would be available once the 2010 free agent floodgates opened.

Five years at $82 Million? I say money well spent.

CHRIS VERNON, Host of the Chris Vernon Show on 730 ESPN Radio
Chris Vernon has become a Grand Slam Winner this year. Four years in a row he has won the award for Favorite Sports Radio Personality as well as Favorite Sports Radio Program. See all the award winners on page 18.

The Grizzlies signing Rudy Gay to five years at $82 million was a big mistake.

When you are in a small market, and you are on a strict budget, it is worse to overpay second-tier players than to let them walk. When you overpay second-tier players in a small market you then lock yourself into having a team with a low ceiling. We have seen this happen in Memphis before when the Grizzlies made the exact same mistake with Pau Gasol. You may have heard people say that you cannot let Rudy walk because Pau went on to become a consistent All-Star, an NBA champion, blah blah blah.

Pau plays for a team that spends $91 million in payroll!  The Lakers can afford to pay enough for the players around him. Nobody that understands how the Grizzlies operate in regard to the salary cap can possibly justify paying Rudy Gay a maximum deal.

Looking at what happened in free agency and comparing the Rudy deal to other guys that are not worth what they got is flawed, and I heard this argument quite a bit when people were attempting to justify the max contract.

There were several crazy deals given out, and I understand that Rudy is not the only guy that got overpaid, but the harsh reality is that teams that give out crazy deals either suffer, or spend their way out of it.

Which do you think the Grizzlies will do? Do you think Michael Heisley is going to spend his way out of this mistake? Give me a break.

If some other team was willing to give Rudy Gay a crazy contract, the Grizzlies should have let them. The team didn’t learn from their mistakes, and it is the Pau deal all over again.

The Grizzlies signing Rudy Gay to five years at $82 million was a big mistake. Rudy is a good guy and I am happy for him as a person, but he should wear a ski mask to pick up his check. The contract they gave him is insane.

Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter, the hosts of the Memphis Sport Live radio program, will be back next issue, but they can still be heard every Tuesday at 6pm on Sports 56 WHBQ. Podcasts of the broadcasts can be found online at

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