Raptors Acquire Rudy Gay – Details and Reactions

The Memphis Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors have agreed in principle on a trade that will send leading scorer Rudy Gay to the Raptors, according to sources with knowledge of the deal.

So the deal is agreed to in principle. Per several beat reporters, Ed Davis and Jose Calderon have said their goodbyes and will not be in uniform. Some assorted quotes are below. Scroll down lower for RR-writer reactions.

Here’s the ESPN source (Stein):

The Memphis Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors have agreed in principle on a trade that will send leading scorer Rudy Gay to the Raptors, according to sources with knowledge of the deal.

Sources told the Grizzlies will acquire forward Ed Davis and veteran guard Jose Calderon from the Raptors and then move Calderon to a third team to ultimately make this a three-team deal.

The Detroit Pistons, sources said, are one of the prime options to take on Calderon, having pursued the Spanish floor leader all season.

The Grizzlies want a small forward out of the trade and Detroit has two believed to be available: Tayshaun Prince and Corey Maggette. But Memphis, sources said, is talking to at least one other team about taking on Calderon and is expected to receive a second-round pick from Toronto as part of the deal.

The Raptors, sources said, are expected to take on Grizzlies reserve center Hamed Haddadi in addition to Gay.

The Dallas Mavericks are the other most likely landing spot for Calderon, but sources said Dallas is resistant to parting with Vince Carter, Memphis’ prime target on the Mavs’ roster.

And this, from Woj:

The Memphis Grizzlies have reached an agreement in principle to trade forward Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The Grizzlies will receive point guard Jose Calderon as part of the deal, and will route Calderon’s $10.5 million expiring contract to the Detroit Pistons for a package that includes forward Tayshaun Prince, sources told Y! Sports.

Gay, 26, is averaging 17.2 points and 5.9 rebounds.

Under new owner Robert Para, Memphis has been desperate to unload contracts for the short- and long-term. In Prince, the Grizzlies could get a respected, if not aging, small forward who’ll give them considerable savings over the $37 million owed Gay the next two seasons.

Prince, who turns 33 on Feb. 28, has played his entire 11-year career with Detroit. He’s averaging 11.8 points and 4.6 rebounds this season. He has been a vital member of seven Pistons playoff teams, including the one that won the 2004 championship.
Calderon will be a free agent this summer.

Detroit could clear the final two years, $15 million left on Prince’s deal, and move nearly $25 million under the salary cap beginning with free agency in July. The Pistons will then be in the market for two young perimeter players to build around their promising young core of Greg Monroe, center Andre Drummond and guard Brandon Knight.

So it breaks down like this for Toronto: Ed Davis and Jose Calderon are out, Rudy Gay and Hamed Haddadi are in. There may be a Raptors’ 2013 2nd round pick heading somewhere, too, depending on your source.

Arsenalist reaction:
Let’s pray that Ed Davis’ ceiling is close to what we’re seeing these days, and that Rudy Gay is more than a slightly better version of DeMar DeRozan.  After two more seasons, when the Raptors have shelled out $50M to Gay, they better hope that they actually achieved something from this reactionary fiasco, because that is what it is.  You can almost hear Colangelo’s brain banging around in his head: We need a scorer to close out games because we’re losing close games.  Let’s get a scorer who is perceived to do exactly this.  One such scorer could be Rudy Gay.  Sure, he’s expensive and Memphis wants to unload him for more than just financial reasons.  Sounds like a plan!

As for Ed Davis, it sounds like trading him is an endorsement of Andrea Bargnani as the unquestionable power forward going forward (and this is what bugs me the most).  I really hope I’m wrong on this, as Bargnani has done nothing to even deserve a roster spot.  I’m a little surprised that he’s even still here, but once you think about what his value around the league must be (a center who shoots low percentages and doesn’t rebound or play hard), I’m almost thinking Colangelo can’t even find a buyer for him.  Speculation on my part, but that’s the only reason I can see Bargnani still being on the roster.  The Raptors are trading Ed Davis right at the point in his career where he’s starting to show that he can be a valuable NBA player, and honestly, nobody can say with any sort of confidence where he’s going to end up on the spectrum.  All I know is that he’s actually developed according to plan and is putting up numbers.  Looking at his recent poor defensive play is missing, projecting it into the future, and citing it as a reason for possibly letting him go is foolish.

I’m not going to heavily regurgitate the “Colangelo trying to save his job” angle because that’s too obvious.  What I do know is that this is GM hackery and he’s entirely flying by the seat of his pants and gambling at every turn.  He’s failed every time but the sun shines on a dog’s ass some days, and I’m hoping this gamble, unlike every other, works.  To me, there was no reason to disrupt the course we were on (get draft picks, develop draft picks), but that requires patience.  Sometimes, when your NBA reputation is on the line, one’s job security takes precedence over what the proper direction of a franchise should be, especially when your tendency is to gamble rather than plan (but hey, at least he didn’t give up a first-round pick!).

Welcome, Rudy Gay.  I hope you surprise us all.  At the end of the day, we all knew Calderon was a goner, so this essentially boils down to Ed Davis for Rudy Gay, thus clearing the long-standing logjam at PF.  Two years ago, that would’ve been an awesome deal for the Raptors, the question is whether it is now.  I also hope that this is not the end of the wheeling and dealing.

One final thing.  Jose Calderon was the most  professional Raptor of all time and I know fans, including myself, have a tremendous amount of respect for him.  I hope that he doesn’t end up with the Pistons, because he deserves better.  I sincerely hope that he lands on a contender so the league can properly appreciate what kind of player he is.   In my opinion, he’s been severely underrated by the league, and generally overrated by the Raptors.  It doesn’t stop him, in my eyes, for having his jersey retired at the ACC.

Sam Holako reaction:
The Raptors finally bring in an overpriced player who’s STILL in his prime; unprecedented! Losing Calderon is like losing a solid goaltender in hockey, you won’t know how much you appreciate him till he’s gone. We can only hope that Lowry’s learned enough from Jose to keep the ship steady in his wake.

An underrated PR possibility with landing Haddadi is that Toronto has the 2nd largest Iranian population outside of Iran: Iranian Heritage night will net them an easy 10,000 units sold of his jersey once a year until his contract runs out; that’s about the only value he brings to the table. He wont be replacing Ed Davis who I’m willing to go on the record as saying that Colangelo sold at his peak value. I’m fully onboard with this deal; hopefully Stern engineers a lottery day coup that brings Wiggins home in true conspiracy form.

Blake Murphy reaction:
Jose Calderon is perhaps my favorite basketball player of all time. I am aware this is kind of irrational and doesn’t make a tonne of sense. Neither did naming my dog after him (Jose). This is the biggest take-away from this deal for me, and I’ll miss his emotion, effort, professionalism, ball-sharing and three-point signal a great deal. He is the best Toronto Raptor of all-time when you consider only time spent with the Raptors, unless you’re ready to forgive Vince Carter.

The second thing I take from this is that the board just extended Colangelo’s contract. I shouldn’t use a trade as a referendum on a general manager, but by approving this trade and taking on long-term salary, there is no message to receive other than “we believe in your ability to build this team over the next few years.” Vetoing the deal at the board level would have been an obvious “axe” to Colangelo’s tenure, and this does the opposite.

As for on the floor, Gay is a curious fit next to DeMar DeRozan, and the Raptors have not improved their floor spacing at all. However, Gay and Lowry are BFFs and have experience playing together, which could prove synergistic for both parties. DeRozan may get lost at times in the offense, but he does that of his own accord anyway. I would hope Gay will play a small-four more than he did in Memphis, as the front-court is now woefully thin and the wing rotation deep (I’m very high on a Lowry-DD-Ross-Gay-Amir lineup). I’m going to withhold judgment on the on-floor impact because this move is about next year and beyond, not the rest of this season; more moves are to come.

And finally, in terms of value, I don’t think Gay is a max contract player. I do think the Raptors probably would have been better off with Prince (if Detroit was willing to deal him in-conference), Davis, flexibility and whatever would come from dealing Bargnani, who may or may not be back in the long-term plans now. The trade is not a “win” in any traditional sense, nor is Gay a bargain despite this being a buy-low. At the same time, you can’t fault the logic that the team got the best player in the deal, and that’s important for a team that finds mid-level talent well but has struggled to bring in above-average players.

Garrett’s reaction:
If you’ll indulge me for a moment, I’m going to leave all particulars of this trade to my fellow writers, and instead offer my thanks, and a fond farewell, to the greatest Raptors point guard of all time (apologies to Damon and Alvin). Assuming he doesn’t find his way back into town after his current deal expires, José Calderon will leave town the franchises’ all time leader in assists, second in games played, fifth in points and steals, and with the Raptors’ only major individual NBA record (for his incredible .981 free throw percentage in the 2008-2009 season).

But what José brought to the Raptors franchise goes far beyond numbers. José is an old-school basketball player in every sense of the word – enduring losing season after losing season, ugly rebuilding effort after ugly rebuilding effort, and attempted position usurping after attempted position usurping. Through it all, though, he never wavered or publicly complained, and instead brought his lunch pail to work and quietly led the team year after year: a spanish rock in a sea of turmoil. He outlasted T.J. Ford, Roko Ukic, and Jarrett Jack, and though he won’t outlast Kyle Lowry, don’t let all of this Rudy Gay hoopla distract you from what it is the Raptors are really losing: the team’s unsung hero, the consumate pro, and a hugely important part of this franchise’s history.

Adios, José. You’ll always have a fan in me.

To Top