The blockbuster deal involving Rudy Gay, which was rumored to go down sooner or later, finally went through last night. In a three-team trade, the Toronto Raptors landed Gay but had to bid farewell to the long-serving and fan-favorite Jose Calderon. All teams seem to be rather happy with the deal, so let’s break down the implications for all those involved, team-by-team.
The Raptors had every intention to contend for a playoff spot this year, but injuries and inexperience quickly put that goal to sleep.
For Toronto, this deal worked out extremely well. As hard as it was to part ways with Jose Calderon, his trade value could not have been any higher, especially with his expiring contract. And same goes for Ed Davis, who was allowed to showcase his skillset in the absence of Valanciunas.
I am not the biggest fan of Rudy Gay, but to land him by giving up Davis and Calderon certainly seems like a bargain. Raptors now have another strong wing player, who can help the team score in crunch time.
The roughly $53.6M that the Raptors now owe Rudy Gay over the next three years is quite a significant amount of money, for a player of his caliber. Still, in order to become relevant in the big picture, you have to either get lucky or pay the price. A perfect example is Amar’e Stoudemire, who was signed to a $100M deal by the New York Knicks. Everyone knew that Amar’e was getting overpayed, but had the Knicks not signed him when they did, Carmelo & co. would probably be earning their money somewhere else right now.
Toronto has a solid core to build around in Valanciunas, Gay, Lowry and DeRozan. However, in order to continue improving the roster Andrea Bargnani has to be traded, either for expiring contracts, or a valuable piece. Ideally, the Raptors want to go into this year’s free agency with some cap space, and they can only do so if they somehow get rid of Bargnani’s contract as well as using the amnesty clause on Linas Kleiza.
Despite the fact that the Grizzlies solved their immediate luxury-tax dilemma, they really didn’t like Gay’s contract and got rid of it.
At first sight, it looks as though the Grizzlies didn’t get enough, especially since most teams thought that Memphis were asking too much for the athletic small forward. They received Ed Davis, Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye as part of this deal, which doesn’t seem like a lot.
But think about it. The Memphis Grizzlies looked very impressive in the 2011 NBA playoffs, knocking off the 1st seeded San Antonio Spurs in the first round and taking the Oklahoma City Thunder to a game 7 in the conference semi-finals. They accomplished that without Rudy Gay, who was out for the season with a shoulder injury. Fast-forward to the 2012 playoffs and the Grizzlies are out in the first round against the Clippers, who get swept by the Spurs in the very next round.
Gay’s shooting has hurt the Grizzlies’ offense this season. He is shooting just over 40% on the season, averaging 16.4 field goal attempts. That’s a lot of shots that Marc Gasol or Zach Randolph could use more efficiently in the post.
Tayshaun Prince will directly replace Gay in the starting lineup, and should fit in very well. Prince is a threat from the 3-point line, which Gay wasn’t, and will spread the floor more effectively. He also doesn’t need to take nearly as many shots as Rudy, and will contribute to the team with championship experience.
Ed Davis will pretty much fill the role of the departed Marreese Speights. Austin Daye should also be able to be part of the rotation, and will add versatility to the 4-spot by being able to stretch the floor to the 3-point line.
The Grizzlies wanted to cut salary but still remain a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference, and the trades they made could very well work out for the best.
There is not much to say about the Pistons in this trade, as the primary objective was to create cap space. Calderon will finish the season and head into free agency where anything can happen. If the Pistons amnesty Charlie Villanueva’s contract this summer, they will only have around $26.5M in salary commitments.
Detroit has a lot of good young players in Drummond, Monroe, Knight, Singler, Stuckey and even Jerebko. Regardless of whether Calderon resigns after the season, the Pistons will be very active this summer.