Those who subscribe to "The 5 Percent Theory” believe such fringe powers should go for it anyway, since very few teams each season even reach 5 percent territory. But the Grizzlies are about $4 million over the luxury tax, staring at a very expensive four-man core that, if left intact, could take Memphis over the tax line in this season and the following two. Three straight tax seasons wouldn’t trigger the dreaded repeater tax penalties, but that path would hamstring Memphis’ roster-building flexibility during those three years and could put the repeater penalties in play if the Grizz cross the tax later.
All of this explains why Memphis, over the last few weeks, has made it known in preliminary talks with other teams that Rudy Gay could be available via trade, according to sources around the league. Memphis also has a brand-new ownership and a revamped front office; John Hollinger and Jason Levien are in, longtime personnel gurus the Barones are out, and Chris Wallace’s current level of power as holdover GM is unclear. They can also cite their exciting 2011 playoff run without Gay, though that run involved a superhuman performance from Zach Randolph, a very good matchup in San Antonio, and a much deeper wing core with actual shooters.