Rudy Gay might be the big winner this summer

In his trade deadline rankings, Chad Ford discusses the Grizzlies’ quandary with Rudy Gay.

With so many teams getting under the cap, it almost guarantees that one of them will panic this summer and overpay for Rudy Gay. (The Knicks, Nets, Clippers and Wizards all like him.) Will Michael Heisley really pay the max for Gay? If not, chances are they lose him this summer.

Gay fits the profile of a non-max player who could very well get max money this summer. There are eight teams that currently have enough money to sign a max player and two of those teams (the Knicks and the Heat) that have enough cap space to sign two max free agents. So, this summer, there will be room for 10 max players, but looking at our list of the top potential free agents, there are only three players — LeBron, Wade and Bosh — that I’d offer a max contract. Granted, guys like Amare Stoudemire, Joe Johnson and Carlos Boozer are likely to get huge long-term contracts, but still, that’s just six guys for 10 slots (not even counting teams like Cleveland and Toronto, who can re-sign LeBron and Bosh, respectively).

This means non-max players like Rudy Gay and David Lee will probably end up with bigger contracts than they deserve because the teams that miss out on LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Amare, etc. will panic and overpay so that they aren’t stuck with a gaping hole heading into the 2010-11 season. Certain teams may hold onto their cap space for the following summer, but it depends on who is likely to be available and how poor of a season that team is prepared to have.

So if you’re a fan of the Nets, Clippers, Timberwolves, Kings and Wizards…or the Grizzlies…be prepared.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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