With the February twenty-first NBA trade deadline approaching, one of the bigger names constantly being mentioned in a potential deal has finally been dealt.
The Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors, and Detroit Pistons have exchanged six players between the teams. The most noticeable name of the bunch is Rudy Gay, a former NBA All-Rookie team member and a guy averaging over 17 points a game. Gay was sent along with backup center Hamed Hadaddi to Toronto for Ed Davis, the 13th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, and veteran Jose Calderon. The Raptors also sent a second round draft pick in 2013 to the Grizzlies as part of the deal.
The 31-year old, seven year veteran point guard Calderon was then sent by himself to Detroit for forwards Tayshaun Prince and the Pistons 15th overall pick in the 2009 draft, Austin Daye. Prince leaves Detroit as the last remaining player from the 2004-05 Championship team. He also leaves the Pistons as potentially one of their all-time greats ranking in the top-ten statistically in several significant categories. After eleven seasons in Detroit Prince ranks fifth in games played(769), fifth in three-pointers made(499), seventh in blocks(441), eighth in points (9838), tenth in rebounds(3586), and tenth in assists with 2,036. Each category is really significant when you look at some of the Hall of Fame players who are above Tayshaun Prince and have played in Detroit, as well as the fact that the franchise has been around since the late 1940′s(joined NBA in 1948 as Fort Wayne Pistons).
The Gold Medal as part of the 2008 USA Olympic roster, along with an NBA Championship ring, could prove to be the perfect amount of credentials and veteran leadership needed from Tayshaun Prince in Memphis.
With that said, perhaps the name lost in the “hoop-la” is that of the surging center coming from north of the border in Ed Davis. Prior to this trade, Davis had been coming out of his shell so-to-speak, and had begun to really produce as a Raptor. When starting center Andrea Bargnani tore a ligament in his elbow and was sidelined in early December, Davis stepped in and the Raptors seemed to play better on both ends of the court, especially defensively. Immediately following Bargnani’s injury the Raptors would finish December winning 7 of their final 9 games to end the month.
Even more recently, after the winning for Toronto began to level out and the team came back down to reality, Ed Davis didn’t slow down his productive play. In his last ten games as a Raptor leading up to the trade Thursday afternoon, Davis has been averaging over 14 points and 8 plus rebounds a game. The former Tar Heel is also averaging just over one block in 32.7 minutes a game over that same ten-game span. All of this production had folks in Toronto talking about the former number one overall selection in the injured Andrea Bargnani as a potential player to be traded. Along with the play of Davis in the last month plus, had to make the final decision at least a little more difficult on the Canadian side.
Lets not forget that Ed Davis is still in just his third NBA season out of Chapel Hill and won’t celebrate his 24th birthday until early June. The 6’10″, 230 pound center is still scratching the surface and now on his way to Memphis he will have a great opportunity to play behind two very talented big men in Marc Gasol and All-Star Zach Randolph. The Grizzlies are currently the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoff race as of now and have been one of the more consistent teams through the first half of the regular season. Come playoff time we may look back at this trade as not a negative in the loss of a Rudy Gay for Memphis, but as a positive with the additions of Ed Davis , Tayshaun Prince, and Austin Daye. This transaction gives a dangerous team in the Memphis Grizzlies a deeper bench instantly, and also, it gives them a potential future star in the budding youngster Ed Davis.