Gay’s Gone, But Hollins Should Stay

HANG TIME, Texas — Yes, it was about the money.

The Grizzlies had given far too much of it to Rudy Gay, a guy who was sitting on the sidelines nursing a bad shoulder when they scratched out the only playoff series win in franchise history.

That’s not to say that Gay hasn’t been a nice player during his six-plus seasons in the NBA; the kind who could often fill up the basket and make it look easy.

But that was the trouble. The Grizzlies have carved out their place, if tenuous, in the upper half of the Western Conference. Like Tina Turner and her band: they never, ever do anything nice and easy.

Gay has been barely shooting 40 percent from the field this season, checking it at a myopic 31 percent from 3-point range. For a player taking such a big bite out of the payroll, Gay too often seemed to drift, which was the rap as far back as 2006 when he was drafted eighth overall out of UConn.

Now the Grizzlies get veteran Tayshaun Prince, who can knock down the 3s, play solid defense and do all of the dirty work/little things, if he’s still so inclined at 32. They also get Ed Davis’ ability to finish at the rim and a couple of contracts that are far more palatable.

In short, the Grizzlies saved themselves a bundle and in a roll-of-the-dice way may have gotten some answers for a team whose chances to reach the NBA Finals this season were probably closer to a scratch-off lottery ticket than money in the bank.

Now the question is whether they’ll do the right thing by coach Lionel Hollins, who’s been allowed to quack like a lame duck without a new contract all season.

While the new ownership group (which is led by Robert Pera and celebrity pals Justin Timberlake and Peyton Manning) and the management team (which includes stat guru John Hollinger) are clearly making their mark on the operation, it is Hollins who has already placed his stamp on the Grizzlies.

Yes, he’s often cranky and challenging. But those are the same attributes that describe the Grizzlies when they’re at their best. A lot of coaches talk about professionalism and accountability, Hollins demands it. He learned during his playing career from championship teams in Portland and Philadelphia that sacrifice and teamwork are not just to be valued, but expected.

Much was made of Hollins recent statement when he said: “We get hung up on statistics a little too much, and I think that’s a bad trait all over the league.”

Was it a shot at Hollinger and the new regime? Or simply Hollins being Hollins? Likely a little bit of both.

In the four years since Hollins has been on the Grizzlies bench, he has pushed, prodded, cajoled, driven and turned the quaint little franchise in the league’s smallest market that had never won a single playoff game into a “Grind House” team which Memphis could support. He did it by making the Grizzlies a reflection of his own personality, often flinty and contrarian.

This is Hollins’ team, even if they change pieces, because they share his DNA. You can’t have the “Grind House” without the head grinder.


  1. Bob M says:

    Grindhouse, maybe, but a one trick pony goes home early in the NBA. The wings are weak and transition is an old school variety. The perimeter game isn’t there; and Gay was the scorer. I have seen a few Grizz games, pound the post, pound the post, pound the post. The Grizz saved a bunch of money for a free agent next year. They are going to be significantly weakened because you just fed the one trick pony.

  2. rudy Gay # 1 Fan says:

    i don’t no why they traded my Rudy Gay.Its ashame that the grizzles lost against OKC last night, but they to him back. I’m glad they lost because they mad a stupid mistake and they are need to get him back as soon as possible. With thought him this team will never be the same. Even though he gone I will still go for the GRIZZLES and the RAPTORS

  3. that guy says:

    one positive thing about the trade is tayshaun prince will finally be in the post season again and rudy gay will become THE MAN in Toronto and jose calderon will get to shine on detroit even if they got like four other guards while brandon knight has the most potential and upside he is in a slump, jose has proven to be a consistent point guard. im excited to see if ed davis and austin daye can improve in memphis, memphis wont need rudy if austin daye tayshaun prince and ed davis can average 10 ppg 6 rb and 1 stl 1 blk each

  4. Good article by Fran! My previous post was directed more towards the negativity I have been reading in other articles/comments.

  5. It’s obvious how many people don’t actually follow and watch the Grizzlies consistently. Rudy Gay is not the star, nor is he the go-to guy for Memphis. The media attempts to portray him as a superstar or “face of the franchise” – but he is not.

    While not a superstar, Rudy is a solid player and I wish him the best in Toronto. However, it made no sense for Memphis to hold on to a max contract with a player who has never produced max numbers. Prince will provide a Shane Battier type of presence, which is much needed. Ed Davis fills (and probably upgrades) the gap that Speights left when traded to Cleveland.

  6. ko0kie says:

    shouldn’t the new CBA help the smaller teams to compete better? until now, it only hurt them,.. OKC, Memphis.

    btw. it’s a shame to break up such top5 teams with a chemistry build over 3,4 years.. especially if they’re still young.

  7. vlad says:

    i love the grizz going to zach randolf again. maybe we can see them in the Finals. Everybody fell in love with the inside out type of play when gay was injured. last year they couldn’t decide on their style and were clipped. so welcome back memphis among my favorite teams.

  8. tomer says:

    we european guys cant really understand how can a team, send their go-to-guy just like that in a glimpse?!?!?!?!

    who is going to be that guy from now on? answers will be appreciated……

    • B-Ball4Life says:

      Sorry but Gay was only a couple of times their go to guy. Too inconsistent. Usually they go with Zach Randolph.
      After all it´s a good trade for the Grizzlies. Prince is a solid defender and he will help them a lot even though he´s quite old already but he can still bring it. Actually he had a couple of top ten plays this season already. D.A. said it right, Gay is a All Star caliber type of player but isn´t playing at the level. Honestly if someone had to make at top 30 list of NBA players he wouldn´t be on that list. Iam curious to see him developing in Toronto. Good luck Rudy!

  9. Melvin says:

    I guess Memphis now will change their style to half-court play since their main swingman gone.
    Overall this trade good for Memphis. =)

  10. roy says:

    piston trade prince for calderon????LOL bad move

  11. Andrew says:

    What a letdown… why would the Grizzlies trade such a good player, Badtrade

  12. Nils says:

    i just remember, that someone from the team wrote, that the owner “has to sit still and not move Gay” …. only 2 days ago …. i can´t seem to find that post now …. why is that?!?!?!? 🙂

  13. steppx says:

    TERRIBLE trade for memphis. Terrible. My god, gay is a big time player having an off year (so far)………..but why was he given a big contract to begin with? Because he is a big time player. YOu get a nearly totally washed up Prince, a back up four in ed davis, and a second round pick…oh, and someone called austin daye. Wow…………….spurs and clips and nuggets are happy tonight.

  14. Bstarr says:

    Good trade for both but it was all financial tactics for the Grizzlies. Grizz will make the playoffs without Rudy and Toronto will not with Rudy. So nothing changes….Not the kind of trade that we were waiting for but ok a trade is a trade.

  15. chonun says:

    so sad to see gay go. but part of me was happy.

  16. Kamote says:

    Grizzlies got a good veteran in Prince. Though he wasn’t that effective after the blue-collar era, he is still a solid contributor. Given that he is not a franchise cornerstone (as seen in Detroit after everyone else left), but he proves to be effective when he is surrounded by good players. With Randolph, Gasol and Conley with him, he could go back in doing what he does best, defense, hitting open 3’s and all-out hussle. They would need a combo SG-SF shooter though to provide offensive boost behind him and Tony Allen.

  17. 416 says:

    Very sad to see Ed gone since he’s kinda prove me wrong this season. BUT damn, it’s “Rudy Gay”!

  18. markabby says:

    good trade for the grizz and the raptors….