Toronto Raptors Can’t Help Themselves, Trade for Rudy Gay

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Updated: February 3, 2013

The Toronto Raptors, Memphis Grizzlies and Detroit Pistons made a three team trade on Wednesday which makes sense for two of the three teams. Let’s break it down:

The Pistons receive PG Jose Calderon and give up SF Tayshaun Prince and SF Austin Daye

The main motivation for the Pistons to be involved in this trade is that Toronto needed to move Calderon’s salary to meet salary matching trade rules and Memphis did not want Calderon. The Pistons get rid of Prince’s contract which still has two  years left after this one for over $7 million. The Pistons will miss Prince’s presence in the room but are not making the playoffs anyway and if they amnesty Charlie Villanueva, could have major cap room this summer. The Calderon signing also gives the Pistons a NBA-class starting point guard on the offensive end who can help mentor Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey, at least for the rest of this season. Daye is someone who has not lived up to being the 15th pick in the 2009 draft and is not a big loss.

The Grizzlies receive Prince, Daye and PF Ed Davis, give up SF Rudy Gay and C Hamed Haddadi

I like this trade from the Grizzlies perspective except for its timing. If this trade was on the table then the Grizzlies probably did not need to trade away Speights, Ellington and a future first round pick to Cleveland for a bench player. I think Prince fits into the Grizzlies grinding philosophy with his defense and his ability as a spot-up shooter. The real prize is Davis who has been productive in limited minutes in Toronto and is still on his rookie contract. He slots in perfectly with Darrell Arthur off the bench and will be active on the boards and eventually will be Zach Randolph’s replacement as the starting power forward. Losing Gay hurts but a small market team like the Grizzlies cannot carry his salary ($17 million in 2013-14, $19 million in 2014-15) and expect to continue to contend. Prince replaces Gay’s defense and I think overall the Grizzlies can still make a run in the playoffs this year and have really cleaned up their luxury tax problems for the near future.

The Raptors receive Gay and Haddadi and give up Calderon and Davis

I don’t know what Bryan Colangelo is doing as GM of the Raptors. As a basketball fan I’m looking forward to seeing a Lowry/Ross/Gay/Johnson/Valanciunas lineup for entertainment purposes but at best this is a six to eight playoff seed with no injuries. I don’t think this trade can be graded correctly before we see if the Raptors can get some help on the defensive end for Andrea Bargnani. Gay is not a superstar even though he is paid like one. He should fit into the lineup ok but he is a little too similar to DeRozan and Ross for my taste. The one positive of this trade is that Kyle Lowry is now the full-time starter at point guard which he should be. I’m not a fan of this trade because going into next season (barring any other changes) the Raptors are going to be giving $17 million to Gay, $11 million to Bargnani and around $10 million to DeRozan. You can get by with overpaying one or two players but not three. Raptors fans have to hope Colangelo has another move up his sleeve or the Raptors ceiling is a first round loss in the playoffs.

What did you think of the trade? Let us know in the comments below.

Jeff Lingard

Jeff Lingard


A Chartered Accountant living in Peterborough, Ontario, Jeff writes for a variety of websites about different sports but has focused on his favourite league, the NBA, here at Sportstok.ca. Jeff cheers for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Browns and Indians and the Florida Panthers

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