Posted December 09, 2013

Raptors agree to send Rudy Gay to Kings in seven-player deal

Aaron Gray, Chuck Hayes, Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons, Patrick Patterson, Quincy Acy, Rudy Gay, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors
Rudy Gay wearing his No. 22 jersey, soon to be available in Kings' purple. (Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

Rudy Gay wearing his No. 22 jersey, soon to be available in Kings’ purple. (Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

Rudy Gay’s stint in Toronto has come to an unceremonious close. Less than a year after being acquired by the Raptors, Gay served as the centerpiece of a seven-player trade between Toronto and Sacramento, as first reported by Yahoo! Sports. The Raptors will also ship out Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy in the transaction while the Kings, in exchange, will part with Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes. The trade was made official on Monday, with Toronto waiving D.J. Augustin in order to clear out the necessary room on its roster.

The acquisition of Gay back in January was less a play for the Raptors than it was for former GM Bryan Colangelo, who aimed to make a splashy move in an attempt to save his job. That particular trade didn’t do the job; Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) assigned Colangelo elsewhere within the organization before he ultimately resigned, and the post of general manager was later filled by the razor-sharp Masai Ujiri. The decision to hire Ujiri — a more analytical decision maker with a better understanding of how to navigate the salary cap — all but telegraphed the Raptors’ interest in moving Gay, though the sheer amount of salary loaded on Gay’s contract ($17.9 million this season, $19.3 million on a player option next season) served as prohibitive factor.

That apparently wasn’t as much of an issue for the Kings, who are also under new management (and ownership) this season. Sacramento reportedly sees Gay as an option at either forward position, fit for rotation between the two spots along with the recently acquired Derrick Williams. In trading away Vasquez as well, Sacramento has cleared a path for 24-year-old point guard Isaiah Thomas to assume the majority of the minutes at the position.

There are less talented combinations to build around than Gay, Thomas, and DeMarcus Cousins, but in the final balance Sacramento has subjected itself to an all-too-familiar glut of similarly independent players. Neither Gay nor Cousins (nor Williams or rookie Ben McLemore, for that matter) has had all that much success working in the context of a five-man offense. Thomas, too, is just getting a feel for running a team, and is at his best when looking to score for himself off a high screen. There’s no immediate synergy between the three, nor much proof of defensive aptitude. If the Gay-infused Kings are to make anything of themselves at all, it will come in stark contrast to the existing precedent.

GOLLIVER: Grading the Rudy Gay deal

Further thoughts on this strange, unexpected deal:

• Let’s not pretend that there is any great debate worth having in regard to the value of Rudy Gay these days. This is not a matter of analytics vs. conventional wisdom; Gay has been so underwhelming of late by every test and measure that it seems silly to limit criticism to solely “advanced” stats. In 18 games this season, Gay has shot 38.8 percent from the field on 18.6 unapologetic field goal attempts per game. His defense over the past two seasons has ranged from uninspired to passable — good enough at his best only to avoid becoming a more serious problem. Gay doesn’t score at the rim, doesn’t get to the free throw line, and doesn’t create scoring opportunities for others. In no way could Gay be classified as a contributor worth sopping up $17.9 million in salary or cap room, no matter his overinflated reputation. He’s an upgrade for the Kings (as bad as Gay has been, he’d have to really collapse to limbo the bar set by John Salmons) all the same, but one that comes at the expense of the team’s 2014 cap room and could become an imposition to the development of both Thomas and Cousins.

• In addition to clearing $2.8 million in salary this season and $12.4 million (assuming Gay accepts his player option and Toronto waives John Salmons) next season, Toronto managed to clear away the redundancy between its core wing players. It’s too early to tell if DeMar DeRozan will be a Raptor for the long haul, but for the moment he’s rightly won a bit more room to operate without Gay vying for the same on-court real estate.

• Consider this a send-off to Cousins’ league-high usage rate. Sacramento’s prized big man has been dominating the ball and putting together a monster season, but the arrival of Gay (who used the same percentage of his team’s possessions in Toronto as Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City) and bigger minutes for Thomas (who uses a greater percentage of his team’s possessions than Stephen Curry) should derail the all-Boogie era. It’s hard to say whether fewer touches for the Kings’ most engaging player will make them less entertaining, or if fewer touches for their most temperamental player will make them more so.

• On a related note: Where, exactly, does this deal leave Carl Landry — the injured, $26-million man who has yet to play a game for the Kings? Once healthy, Landry would add another shoot-first player to Sacramento’s rotation, whether as a starter or reserve.

• As well as the Raptors did to clear cap and save money by dumping Gay’s contract, this was not a constructive deal for Toronto. Vasquez and Patterson won’t likely be in town beyond this season. Salmons will surely be waived in due time to capitalize on the fact that just $1 million of his $7 million 2014-15 salary is guaranteed. Hayes acted as logistics incarnate, included to make the salaries and interests on both sides align with no basketball repercussion. Ujiri made a tremendous play to clear a load off his team’s cap sheet, but he hasn’t yet made any moves to make the Raptors a better basketball team.

Hopefully, those come next. Toronto will now be in a position to make signings outright using their cap space next summer (or beyond), facilitate deals between other teams to land a few draft picks or complete trades with lopsided salary to alleviate some other franchise’s financial burden. All could help the Raps, but are hypothetical, in the works, and down the line. This was a purge and a purge alone. That doesn’t take anything away from what Ujiri accomplished in this transaction, but it serves to illustrate how far he and the Raptors have yet to go.

20 comments
Killingjoke
Killingjoke

I don't know whats worse. Toronto or Sacramento trading for Gay.

tootallgoof
tootallgoof

Stupid fact for the day:  Basketball was invented by a Canadian living in Massachusetts and was modeled after lacrosse.   So you have to have one team in Canada.   

If a team moves or there is expansion, where would they move to?  The US is saturated and there are no obvious locations outside of St. Louis or KC but Montreal and Calgary could work.   



Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask
Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask

Its a nice deal for the Kings except giving up Vasquez. Making Thomas the starter is nice but where are you going to get that spark off the bench ow that he is a starter. As for the Raptors, a nice deal as well as it rids them of that illogical trade for Gay in the first place. I still didnt understand why or what they were trying to accomplish with acquiring Gay. I like Gay but he is a complementary piece to a tem nd not a franchise player. How about we take the Toronto Raptors and send them off to Seattle to be the new Supersonics because I just dont see a viable future for that organization in Toronto, no offense.

aberezuk42
aberezuk42

The article title reads.. "Kings get Gay" lol.

Chuck7
Chuck7

funniest jersey ever.

TheCantankerousNut
TheCantankerousNut

The kings would have been better served to keep Tyreke, then trade Cousins this year for a high draft pick, and take their chances with a weak team going into a strong draft with two first rounders.


My raptors have to tank this season.  They have too.  They have been a team built around mid to late first rounders for much too long.

JAY20
JAY20

@Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask

There are a lot worse revenue making teams in the NBA than Toronto. In fact Toronto is a pretty big market. Move the Bucks to Seattle. That makes more sense. 

MichaelDeveaux
MichaelDeveaux

@Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask  Don't Tell??!!?!  I take great offense to an uneducated comment like that.  Since you don't know, Toronto has a passionate, strong fan base, where we are always in the top half of league attendance, or better.  Then factor in the fact that they have the richest ownership group in all of the NBA, and they certainly are not going to let a franchise worth 405 million become an expendable, non viable business.  Then throw in the fact that they are making money every year and the Toronto area has twice the population as the Seattle area, and it just goes to show you how little you know about the economics of basketball, no offense.  


At least half a dozen times a year, I see some American who just assumes that since the team is in Canada, they don't get any support or our fans don't know the game.  Not everyone in Canada is a hockey fan, and as you can see with more Canadians in the NCAA and the NBA than ever, with more on the way, there are a lot of Canadians that grow up playing and loving the game of basketball.  

Skins'Fan
Skins'Fan

I've been a die-hard Raps' fan since their inception and I live over 2000kms away from Toronto. I buy apparel, watch games, and have even flown in to see a game. MichaelDeveaux is bang-on - we'd have a top-5 attendance team if we had a decent product on the court. It's not management's issue that many American players don't like being out of the States (Carter and T-Mac) or can't stand the cold. Canadians are very loyal to their team and will continue to be - we love Ball' up here - just look at Wiggins.


Papi Del Negro clearly doesn't know much about the NBA if he thinks an 18mil/year player is a "complementary piece." Gay would be a great addition... at 6mil. He's a brutal shooter, poor defender and not a team player. He'd be a great small-ball 4/instant iso-offense off the bench, that's it. He needs a strong backline to pick up his slack. His offense consists of jab-step, jab-step, jab-step, power dribble, contested shot. That works, if you're Kobe. Ridiculous to think that this is a good trade for Sactown. Papi probably thinks the Bargnani trade was a 'steal' for the Knicks too. Ujiri is fleecing GMs left, right and center. Watch him flip a frontcourt player with Vasquez or Lowry to acquire something worthwhile in the next few weeks. I just hope its not Amir - that guy just keeps getting better, somehow. (Amir, by the way Papi, is "Amir Johnson" who used to play for Detroit - just figured you won't know considering how little you know about the NBA, no offense)

slickwilly
slickwilly

Tanking doesn't work if you're the Toronto Raptors. David Stern hates the Toronto Raptors.

malgus
malgus

some more good ones.   I don't get the people that say that there aren't enough cities for teams.  This is Amurica and she's a big ole place.   Bigger than Texas even.   


I can see the concerns about quality basketball players.   College teams put out more competitive teams than there are NBA teams every year don't they?

KellyChase
KellyChase

But can they lure free agents? Canadian teams have a huge tax bill that their gov. lays on the players and guys know the bottom line. Even in the US athletes have factored what states don't have a state tax or a very low one (like Florida or Texas). It's basic math and these guys and/or their agents use that in negotiations. As in "Hey Chris Bosh our 15 million is equivalent to their 20 million after taxes". I like the Raptors but they have a built in disadvantage. Side note: Skins Fan is just about right on with respect to Rudy Gay. Doesn't pass, not a good shooter, lousy on defense. He can get you points but he won't help you win.


Shortofbrillant
Shortofbrillant

Gay would be a good starter with a pass first point guard running the show. Without that type of player the ball gets passed to him and it never comes back. A pass first point guard wouldn't always pass to him because he would see other options on the court. He would probably also be instrumental in putting Rudy in check.


Bang on about the Raptors. Some Americans just don't like the NBA being outside the USA. The fact is, money is money.

Skins'Fan
Skins'Fan

BREAKING NEWS! David Stern has overturned the Rudy Gay trade because it is "detrimental to promoting the NBA in Canada."