The Rudy Gay trade rumors can finally be put to rest.
According to reports, the Memphis Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors have agreed to a deal in principle that will send Gay and center Hamed Haddidi north of the border to Toronto in exchange for point guard Jose Calderon and emerging young forward Ed Davis.
Toronto will also send a second-round pick to the Grizzlies as part of the deal.
GRADE THE TRADE (Memphis Grizzlies): C
New owner Robert Para was desperately trying to move Gay for quite a while now, if only for financial reasons. Rudy is owed $16.5 million for the current season, $17.9 for 2013-14 and a whopping $19.3 in 2014-15.
From a talent-standpoint, losing Gay is going to hurt. He was the leading scorer (17.2 points per game) on a roster that’s only averaging 93.4 points a night, which is fifth-worst in the NBA.
His (former) teammates are clearly unhappy with the move.
The Grizzlies weren’t exactly bottom-feeders in the Western Conference before this deal. They currently own a record of 29-15, which is good enough for the fourth seed (home-court advantage). It’s also just 5.5 games out of first place (San Antonio Spurs).
This trade changes a lot, and I’m not entirely sure it’s for the better.
Rudy Gay was clearly struggling with his shot for most of the year (40% from the field), but he was still the team’s primary weapon on offense. You can’t lose a player of that significance and expect everything to be peaches and cream once he’s gone.
It doesn’t work like that.
Ed Davis is a solid backup power forward who will provide some much-needed insurance behind Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph in the frontcourt, now that Marreese Speights is in Cleveland. Davis had started 24 of 45 games for Toronto and was averaging 9.7 points and 6.7 rebounds. He was starting to show major improvement in his game after moving into the starting lineup with Andrea Bargnani being hurt, but he’s obviously going to be regulated to the Grizzlies bench upon his arrival.
Tayshaun Prince has spent his entire 11-year career with Detroit. He’s been a part of seven Pistons playoff teams, including the one that captured the 2004 NBA Championship. He’s currently averaging 11.8 points and 4.6 rebounds on the season. He’s an extreme downgrade at the small forward position compared to Rudy, but he’s a cheaper alternative, and that’s all Memphis really concerned themselves with in this deal. He can still produce, but he will never match Gay’s production.
It will be interesting to see what kind of effect this trade has on the Grizzlies ability to maintain their position in the conference heading towards the playoffs. They haven’t blown up the roster to the point where they are giving up on this season, but there is enough change
GRADE THE TRADE (Toronto Raptors): B -
As a resident of Toronto and a diehard fan of the franchise for as long as I can remember, I find myself torn on how to feel about this trade.
Jose Calderon is one of only three players to suit up for Toronto 500 times or more. Personally, it will be weird for me to turn on a game and not see him running the point.
It was a breath of fresh air to watch Davis really come into his own this season. With more minutes and a greater role, Ed was truly starting to blossom and live up to his potential.
That’s the thing though. If they were ever going to trade him, now was the perfect time. His value was at its highest. For that reason alone, it makes sense.
Rudy Gay is the closest thing the Raptors have had to a “franchise player” since Chris Bosh bolted for South Beach. The team loves blowing leads at the end of games (as evident by recent losses in the month of January), so Gay will surely help in that respect.
However, when you look up and down the roster and notice the gluttony of wing players this team has (Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, Alan Anderson, Landry Fields, Linas Kleiza), it brings up the question of how exactly the playing time is going to be distributed.
Here’s a look at Rudy’s current numbers in comparison to his new Raptors teammate, DeMar DeRozan…
It makes me worry.
Gay is three years older, yet he’s only putting up slightly better numbers than his younger counterpart.
Did Toronto really need him? Well, they didn’t really, but they certainly wanted him, as they’ll be paying him “star money” over the next two seasons.
Is he going to make the Raptors a playoff contender?
It’s possible. I still believe the ceiling for Toronto is that eighth seed. I believed that before this trade and I still stand by that.
Are the Raptors a better team because of this deal? I can’t answer that, and that’s not a scapegoat of an answer. I just don’t know. If Rudy can somehow elevate his game and find new life with a new team, than Toronto will be all the better because of it. He’s a talented enough player to make a difference, I’m just not sure how much of a difference that will be.
GRADE THE TRADE (Detroit Pistons) B +
Clearing the two years and $15 million left on Prince’s contract is huge for Detroit, as the team now finds itself $25 million under the salary cap.
Jose Calderon’s contract comes off the books at the end of the season for $10 million dollars.
The Pistons finally have a pure point guard to run the offense, which will benefit guys like Greg Monroe and rookie Andre Drummond a great deal. Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight are more-or-less combo guards, so I expect to see Calderon start at the point and have Knight move over to the 2 spot.