From Comcast SportsNetRudy Gay is on his way to Toronto in the latest and most dramatic move in the Memphis Grizzlies' money-motivated makeover.The Grizzlies agreed to trade their star swingman to the Raptors on Wednesday, parting with the leading scorer on a team that has aspirations of making a run in the powerful Western Conference.The Raptors gave up point guard Jose Calderon and forward Ed Davis in the deal that also included Grizzlies backup center Hamed Haddadi, and Memphis then shipped Calderon to Detroit for Austin Daye and Tayshaun Prince."Players like this don't come along that often in terms of their availability," Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo said of Gay. "This was a very unique circumstance. We feel like we took advantage of it."Memphis general manager Chris Wallace didn't mention finances in a statement issued Wednesday night, but there is no doubt they played a big role in the decision."We are excited to add three players who bring with them a tremendous amount of value to our team and have achieved incredible success on the pro, college and Olympic levels," Wallace said in a statement Wednesday night. "In these players, we welcome NBA Champion and Olympic gold medalist Tayshaun Prince, as well as up-and-coming athletic forwards Ed Davis, who won an NCAA title at North Carolina, and Austin Daye."The moves surprised many around the league, including Calderon and Prince."It's been my home for eight years," Calderon said in Atlanta, shortly before leaving the arena. "I've done everything possible for this team. It's tough. The fans have been with me since Day 1. It's tough."Prince and Daye have both spent their entire careers with Detroit, and Prince was the last link to the proud championship team of 2003-04."Trading a player like Tayshaun Prince, who has meant so much to our organization and contributed to our championship success, is never easy," Pistons president Joe Dumars said in a statement. "We want to thank Tayshaun for his professionalism and contributions over the last 10 years. We also appreciate everything that Austin Daye has done for our team both on and off the court over the past three-plus years."Gay, averaging 17.2 points and 5.9 rebounds, signed a five-year, 82 million maximum contract in July 2010 with Memphis. The 6-foot-8 small forward is due 16.5 million this season with 37 million more over the next two years. That's a big number for new owner Robert Pera, who took over the franchise last November and has quickly started addressing the team's salary situation.Just over a week ago, the Grizzlies sent valuable reserve Marreese Speights and two other players to Cleveland in a move that cleared 6.4 million in salary and avoided a 4 million luxury tax hit this season. Team officials said that move put the Grizzlies in position not to have to make a move this season.Memphis coach Lionel Hollins had been lobbying to keep his five starters together the rest of this season, but he apparently lost that fight. It's a significant move for a team that was fourth in the Western Conference and three games behind the third-place Clippers."Wow," Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley tweeted.Trading away Gay also eases a luxury tax hit due next season, while concentrating the team around center Marc Gasol and All-Star forward Zach Randolph. The Grizzlies had their best playoff run in 2011 when they knocked off then-No. 1 seed San Antonio before losing to Oklahoma City in seven games in the Western semifinals -- all with Gay on the bench after needing season-ending shoulder surgery."Wow that was 1 crazy trade today," Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins tweeted. "Are you serious Rudy Gay is right there under KD, Lebron, Kobe, and Melo. (hashtag)badtrade."They do run the risk of upsetting the chemistry on a tight-knit group, even if there were some questions of how Gay's scoring fit in with the ball-dominant frontcourt of Gasol and Randolph.But there may be more deals like this one coming in the new NBA economy.The collective bargaining agreement negotiated after last year's lockout makes the penalties for exceeding the salary cap far more punitive, and the system begins in earnest next season. Playing in a smaller market, the Grizzlies don't have the extra revenue from lavish television contracts like teams in Los Angeles or New York, which makes it that much more difficult to go over the cap. But even teams such as the Lakers and Bulls will likely have to be more responsible with their spending under the new deal, where repeat offenders are taxed at rates that multiply with each consecutive year they go over the cap.The first domino fell before the season, when Oklahoma City sent James Harden to Houston instead of signing him to a big-money extension, and more are sure to follow.All told, the Grizzlies shaved nearly 40 million over the next three years after the two trades.They'll get a hard-nosed defender in return in Prince, the 32-year-old forward who was drafted by the Pistons in the first round in 2002. He is averaging 11.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game this season."Shocked obviously," Prince said after the Pistons played the Pacers. "I didn't find out, obviously, until I got here. I'm shocked, but it's a business and you never know what's going to happen."Calderon joined the Raptors from Spain in 2005 and has been a fan favorite and trusted veteran on the team. He is averaging 11.1 points and 7.4 assists this season for the Raptors (16-29), who are desperately trying to scratch their way into the playoff picture. Toronto was in 11th place before the games were played Wednesday, 5 games behind Boston for the eight seed.Calderon and Davis had both been starting for the Raptors, but they do have Kyle Lowry waiting in the wings at point guard and likely see Gay's scoring punch as the key to vaulting back into the discussion in a mediocre conference.Coach Dwane Casey will have to deal with a bit of a log jam with Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, Landry Fields and Alan Anderson as wing players with similar skill sets. But getting a player with Gay's natural scoring talent, even at the expense of parting with a valued player like Calderon, proved too enticing to pass up."Hopefully this team is back to the playoffs as soon as possible," Calderon said.
This season the Boston Celtics have shown flashes for a few minutes here and there that they were an elite team defensively.
But what they did in the second half to the Orlando?
Boston (13-9) put on a defensive clinic that overwhelmed the Magic on every level imaginable as the Celtics cruised to a 117-87 thumping of Orlando.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has been even-keeled when it comes to discussing his team’s play, win or lose.
But even he couldn’t contain how pleased he was to see the way his players defended in the third and fourth quarters.
“On defense, the second half was as good as we’ve guarded all year,” Stevens told reporters afterwards. “Really focused, really urgent. I felt good about that.”
Setting the tone for the Celtics was Avery Bradley who certainly was impressive with his scoring.
But as much as he knew the team would need a boost offensively with Isaiah Thomas (right groin) out, that wasn’t his approach to the game.
“I had a defensive mindset coming into tonight’s game,” Bradley told CSN’s Abby Chin following the win. “Just trying to get my teammates to playing the right way so we could come out and get the ‘W’ tonight. I’m happy with how all the guys played. We all played hard, and we played as a team.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Wednesday night’s game.
Bradley picked up the scoring with Isaiah Thomas (right groin) out for Wednesday, leading the team with a game-high 23 points to go with four rebounds and three assists.
Arguably the biggest spark off the bench for Boston, Brown had one of his best games as a Celtic. He finished with 13 points which included a dunk over Nikola Vucevic that quieted the Amway Center crowd and just as important, provided a nice energy boost for Boston.
He had the hot hand at the end of the second quarter, but was a non-factor in the second half as Augustin finished with 15 points – all of which came in the first half.
This was a great confidence-booster for Rozier as well as his teammates to see him have a big game and make the most of his increased opportunity to play. He finished with a career-high 16 points off the Celtics bench on 6-for-13 shooting with five rebounds.
It doesn’t matter if he starts or comes off the bench. Vucevic is always a double-double threat on the floor. He finished with 12 points off the bench along with 10 rebounds for his 13th double-double this season.
Orlando second half defense
The Celtics got pretty much whatever they wanted, when they wanted it in the second half against the Magic defense which pulled a major disappearing act. Boston shot 61 percent from the field in the second half, and 45.4 percent from 3-point range.
It came against a rookie quarterback. It came against an offense that averages a league-worst 15.0 points per game. It came against an offense that has fewer yards than any other.
Still there are signs that Bill Belichick is pretty pleased with where his defense is after beating the Rams 26-10 on Sunday. One came on Wednesday when Patriots.com published its "Belichick Breakdown" for a closer look at a handful of plays from the team's most recent win.
Belichick called his team's third-and-eight stop with about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter "probably one of the best good, team defensive plays we've had all year."
The Patriots show a five-man front, but linebacker Kyle Van Noy feigns a rush only to drop into coverage.
"Van Noy in here does a good job on the rush," Belichick said, "and also on the coverage on the back. Just good team defense. Good pass coverage down the field. The quarterback really doesn't end up having a lot of time, but there's no one to throw it to right away."
Belichick noted that all four rushers -- Chris Long, Trey Flowers, Dont'a Hightower and Rob Ninkovich -- all are able to pressure Jared Goff on the play. Combined with strong coverage in the secondary, the Rams nver really had a chance.
Belichick said it looked like a "tidal wave" of defenders bearing down on the quarterback.
"Long wins here . . . on the inside spin," Belichick said, "and Trey Flowers and Hightower both win on the little twist game inside. Then that's Rob with good speed-to-power on [Rams tackle Rob] Havenstein on the outside. Four good rushers. Plus a fifth guy...Van Noy getting that two-for-one on the guard and the back.
"Good team defense. That's great to see. A lot of hard work an execution on the practice field to make that happen."