Grizzlies Trade Shane Battier to Houston in Exchange for Forward Stromile Swift and Draft Rights to Rudy Gay
Memphis, Tennessee, July 12, 2006 — The Memphis Grizzlies acquired Stromile Swift and the draft rights to Rudy Gay, the eighth pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, from Houston in exchange for Grizzlies forward Shane Battier, Grizzlies President of Basketball Operations Jerry West announced today.
Gay, a 6-9, 220-pound forward, played two years at Connecticut where he started 59 of 64 games played and posted career averages of 13.6 points and 5.9 rebounds. As a sophomore, he was named an All-Big East First Team selection, and an NABC All-America First Team and Associated Press All-America Second Team member.
“We acquired one of the very best prospects from this year’s draft,” said West. “Even though he is a very young player at 19, the talent of this young man is phenomenal and we are hopeful people will enjoy watching this special kind of athlete. With the addition of Rudy, Stromile, and our other draft picks, this will be a year that will create opportunities for our young players to play and our veterans to share their insight and experience.”
Last season as a sophomore, Gay led the Huskies in scoring (15.2 ppg), recorded six double-doubles and reached double figures in scoring a team-high 28 times. He scored a career-best 28 points in a win over Arkansas on Nov. 21 and finished the season tallying 20 points and six rebounds in his team’s 86-84 Elite Eight loss to George Mason on Mar. 24.
As a freshman, Gay earned Big East Rookie of the Year honors and was a unanimous All-Rookie Team selection. He was also named National Freshman of the Year by The Sporting News. He appeared in all 31 games for the Huskies, starting the last 26, and averaged 11.8 points and 5.4 rebounds.
Immediately following the completion of the trade, Gay was signed to a two-year deal with team options for the third and fourth years (2008-09 and 2009-10). Financial terms of the deal were not released, per team policy. Gay will join the team in Long Beach to compete in the remaining Summer Pro League games through July 19.
Swift, a 6-9, 230-pound forward originally selected by the Vancouver Grizzlies (second overall) in the 2000 NBA Draft, returns to Memphis after signing with the Houston Rockets as a free agent last season. Last season with Houston, he averaged 8.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in 66 games (five starts). In five seasons with the Grizzlies (2000-01 – 2004-05), Swift appeared in 352 games (70 starts) and averaged 9.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.45 blocks in 21.0 minutes. Over the course of his six-year career, Swift has appeared in a total of 418 games and posted averages of 9.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.30 blocks. He returns to the Grizzlies ranked second in franchise history in blocks (835), fourth in free throws made (835) and attempted (1,172) and sixth in points (3,172) and rebounds (1,749).
West added, “By re-acquiring Stromile, we are delighted to get another athletic player back on our roster. Last year we missed his ability to change the game through his shot-blocking and versatility to play multiple positions, and we are thrilled with his return.”
Battier was the Memphis Grizzlies’ first-ever draft pick, selected sixth overall in the 2001 NBA Draft. The 6-8, 220-pound forward spent the first five seasons of his career with Memphis, appearing in 396 games (279 starts) and averaging 10.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.28 steals and 1.00 blocks in 32.3 minutes. He leaves Memphis as the franchise’s all-time leader in games played (396) and steals (507), second in three-point field goals made (389), third in blocks (418), fourth in points (4,160) and fifth in rebounds (1,908).
“Shane has been very instrumental in helping this franchise move forward to a position where we were expecting to win,” said West. “By trading Shane, we lost not only a fine basketball player, but also a person who is just about as good as you can find. Our city will miss him, but we are hopeful that a move like this will ensure future growth and success for the franchise. We all wish Shane nothing but the best and when Houston comes to town, I hope he will be paid the respect he deserves.”
Last season, Battier finished second on the team in steals (1.14 spg) and blocks (1.41 bpg) and third in rebounding (5.3 rpg). He tallied a season-high 24 points and 10 rebounds at New Orleans/Oklahoma City on Mar. 31 and pulled down a season-high 13 rebounds on Feb. 21 vs. Toronto – one shy of matching his career-high. He also finished the regular season ranked sixth in the NBA in steals-per-turnover (1.02).
Off the court, Battier was presented with the Memphis/Shelby County Optimist Research for Law Citizen of the Year this past December, selected as the Southwest Division winner of the 2004-05 NBA Sportsmanship Award, named Outstanding Young Tennessean in September of 2004 by the Greater Mid-South Chamber of Commerce and won the NBA Community Assist Award in April of 2002. He also was a member of the Grizzlies’ All-Star Reading Team and served on the Professional Advisory Board at St. Jude and the board at the Memphis Zoo.
A press conference to introduce the new players to the media will be held following the team’s return from Summer League in Long Beach, CA. A date will be announced next week.