No, this isn’t a way-too-early puff piece about Rudy Gay showing up on Christmas morning at some lucky fan’s house.

When Grantland’s Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose previewed the Raptor’s season, one of the things they agreed on was that Gay’s days in Toronto were numbered. Now this wasn’t exactly a revolutionary thought. Numerous publications, both in Canada and the US, had already wondered aloud whether Gay would make it to the trade deadline without changing his address.

This also isn’t a column about whether or not the Raptors should trade Rudy Gay. Either they will or they won’t, and, in the end, the decision rests with Masai Ujiri. If Ujiri does end up trading Gay, then it’s likely it will be before Christmas. And if he is traded, then it’s not going to be so they can make a run for the playoffs and waiting too long to trade him might give the team too many wins, a problem if you’re trying to get a high pick.

So when Rudy Gay wakes up on Christmas morning, where are the likely places that will be?

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When the Raptors traded for Rudy Gay, the hope was that he would be able to bring the Raptors the respectability the franchise has lacked for most of it’s 18 year existence. While he didn’t live up to many’s expectations, he is still one of the best small forwards the franchise has ever had and one of the best players on the current roster.

Right now, the Raptors are at a crossroads and no one, possibly not even Ujiri, knows where they will be going. Keeping Gay would be a signal that the team wants to compete right now and make a push for the playoffs. Trading him would most likely signal a full rebuild and a move to try and get a high pick in the vaunted 2014 draft.


There are two reasons that Ujiri might keep Gay. The first is if the Raptors make it through their tough early schedule  with their head above water. The second is if he can’t actually find anyone who will take him.

In the twenty six games before Christmas, the Raptors will face the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls twice, as well as the Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors. That’s nearly half their games against contending teams, seven of which are on the road. And many of the rest of the games are against teams that will most likely be in the playoff hunt at the end of the season, such as the Dallas Mavericks (away), Atlanta Hawks (away), Portland Trailblazers, Washington Wizards, and Milwaukee Bucks (away).

And while they do have a few games against teams that are tanking or might as well be (Philadelphia, Phoenix, Charlotte and Boston), the majority of those games are on the road.

If the Raptors are at or above .500 by Christmas, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gay still in a Raptor uniform when Toronto heads on the road to New York to play the Knicks in their first post-Christmas game.

Even without a great start, no one really knows how much trade value Gay has or even if any team wants to take on his massive contract. It’s possible no one will, and Ujiri may have to keep Gay and figure out how to rebuild without trading him.


Take another look at the schedule of the Raptors in their first twenty six games? It’s brutal. Whether or not they trade Gay, the team will be lucky to have double digit wins by Christmas, and a 7-19 start is very plausible. That would be the same record after 26 games as last season, and no one wants a repeat of last season. Tim Lieweke didn’t get rid of Bryan Colangelo and hire Ujiri just to see more of the same. Even if the Raptors win a few more games, that’s a deep hole to be digging yourself out of, and a poor start might just be the cover Ujiri needs to blow the team up, starting with Gay.

More importantly, it’s not a secret that a lot of fans would love the idea of the Raptors drafting Andrew Wiggins. Even just the possibility of it should allow Ujiri some breathing room for a rebuild.



When LeBron James left Cleveland for Miami, their owner, Dan Gilbert, famously predicted that the Cavs would win a Championship before the Heat would. That obviously didn’t happen, but after three years of top 5 picks (4 in three years) the last thing they want is to return to the lottery. They have their franchise player in Kyrie Irving, and a lot of young talent around him, so this could be the year the Cavs return to prominence.


They have Kyrie Irving at PG, Dion Waiters at SG, Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett at PF, Anderson Varejao and Andrew Bynum at center and Earl Clark at SF. Notice a dropoff there? Cleveland’s biggest weak link right now is their SF position and Gay would be a massive upgrade.

While there are some that still think that LeBron James may return to Cleveland, that’s looking more and more like a pipe dream. Gay Isn’t LeBron, but he’s probably as close as they can get and he’ll make them a better team. Plus, if Cleveland has some success in the playoffs, it’s likely they can entice Gay to re-sign with them.


– Anderson Varejao and his $9.1 salary with only a team option next season.

– Tristan Thompson and his rookie contract.

– Anthony Bennett and his rookie contract.

– Cleveland has all their own first round picks, as well as Sacramento’s protected pick (top 12 in 2014, top 10 in 2015 and 2016 and then it becomes a second round picks, 56-60 protected ??).

– Andrew Bynum and his $12 million salary which is only partially guaranteed will become available on December 15th.


Because a player such as Varejao or Bynum would have to be included in order to match salaries, a third team will most likely be have to brought in since it would make little sense for the Raptors to take back either of those players.

Rudy Gay and Kenneth Faried to Cleveland Anderson Varejao and DeMar DeRozan to Denver and  Anthony Bennett, Wilson Chandler, Andre Miller, Evan Fournier, as well as Cleveland’s 2014 pick and Sacramento’s pick (via Cleveland) to Toronto. (does not include draft picks)

This deal gives Toronto a couple of prospects, including hometown hero, Anthony Bennett, as well as a couple of first round picks. They also receive a couple of veterans who could be moved later, in Chandler and Miller.

Cleveland becomes a sure-fire playoff team, with depth and talent at every position.

Denver gets some interior defense, in Varejao, which they sorely lack, as well as a replacement for the departed Andre Iguodala, in DeMar DeRozan. Denver may need more in order to agree to the deal.


Right now, Cleveland is projected to have major cap room next summer, should they wish it (they would have to waive Bynum and not pick up Varejao’s team option), and risking that to trade for Gay and his huge salary might not be the smartest move. Plugging the hole at small forward might also not be necessary if Bennett is able to play that position.



When Joe Dumars signed Josh Smith and sign-and-traded for Brandon Jennings, he was signalling to the world that Detroit is done being a lottery team. The fact that their 2014 first round pick (top 8 protected) is owed to Charlotte in exchange for taking on a year of Ben Gordon’s contract, only made their quest for the playoffs all that more necessary.


When Joe Dumars famously offered the expiring contracts of Charlie Villaneuva and Rodney Stuckey for Gay, Raptor fans were outraged with the offer (even most tanking proponents thought this was a bad offer), but it did show Dumars had an interest in Gay.

While it’s possible that signing Josh Smith has quenched Dumars’ thirst for dynamic, high-flying forwards with a propensity for taking way too many long jumpers, it’s also quite possible that he might see teaming Smith and Gay up as an enticing prospect.

Right now, Detroit looks like it will have Smith playing out of position, at small forward, most of the time, which likely means more outside shots and fewer inside shots, where he’s FAR more deadly. Adding Gay would allow Smith to move to power forward, where he can take more efficient shots.

And while most expect Detroit to be in the hunt of a playoff spot, they’re by no means a shoe-in. And considering the Piston’s 2014 pick will probably end up going to Charlotte next June (it’s top 8 protected), trading for Gay would increase the chance that pick  isn’t a lottery one.


– Greg Monroe and his rookie contract of $4.1 million this season. While it might have seemed unthinkable a year ago to trade Monroe, who was the sole bright spot on the roster, he’s become replaceable with the drafting and play of Andre Drummond, and the signing of Josh Smith. The fact that they don’t appear to be able to reach a contract extension agreement might be an indication that Monroe’s day’s in Detroit are numbered.

– The $17 million in expiring contracts for Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva, because that is their sole value.

– Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the 9th pick in last June’s draft.


While a straight up deal could definitely be worked out between the two teams, I like the idea of bringing in a third team…

Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Quincy Acy and Kirk Hinrich to Detroit. Rodney Stuckey, Charlie Villaneuva, Jonas Jerebko, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Chicago’s rights to Nikola Mirotic and possibly Charlotte’s protected first round draft pick to Toronto. Greg Monroe to Chicago. (does not include draft pick or Mirotic)

There are various versions you could do, including possibly sending Steve Novak to Detroit, and even taking Carlos Boozer and his massive contract back.

The big prize for Toronto is Mirotic, a player with star potential earning MVP awards in Europe, but they would also get a good, young prospect in Caldwell-Jones and, possibly, a fairly high draft pick in either 2014 or 2015. Again, this is a trade with an eye towards the 2014 draft and rebuilding, but acquiring a couple of pieces like Mirotic and Caldwell-Jones would put them way ahead of schedule.

Detroit gets two dynamic, athletic scorers and possibly the most athletic starting five in the entire league, as well as a  good, veteran guard off the bench.

Chicago would be loathe to give up a potential star in Mirotic (and Charlotte’s pick), but might do it for one of the best young big men in the league. A front line of Monroe and Joakim Noah, along with Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler would surely be the league’s best chance of unseating the Miami Heat, and I’d say that’s a pretty good reason to do it.


Right now, the Detroit Pistons have three of the least efficient scorers at their positions, in Monroe, Smith and Jennings. Gay (or DeRozan) won’t exactly improve that situation. Also, both Smith and Jennings take far too many of the 16-23 foot shoots, while connecting at a well below average rate from there. Again, Gay (or DeRozan) is equally guilty in this area.

And let’s not even get into the whole decision-making discussion.

And Monroe looks like one of the bright young big men in the league. Even if they decide they can’t keep him (there are real questions about how well Monroe, Drummond and Smith can play together), Joe Dumars might want to wait and see what deals he can get at the trade deadline, when teams are a little more desperate.



Michael Jordan’s team is so bad they have become a cautionary tale for other teams. Basically a guidebook for how not to run a franchise. But that’s not to say that fans shouldn’t have any hope. Sure, they’ve drafted poorly, overpaid the wrong free agents and made bad trades, but at least they’ll get their old name back next year!


Michael Jordan hates to lose. He positively hates it. And you know all this losing is driving him crazy. Charlotte could have pulled off a trade like Utah (grabbing a couple of draft picks from Golden State in exchange for taking on Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson) in order to get to the minimum salary, but instead they made a splashy free agent signing and grabbed one of the best low post scorers in the league, in Al Jefferson.

While the original plan, under GM Rich Cho, was to be patient and build through the draft, Jordan is not known for his patience, and if he’s presented with a deal that could help the team immediately, he might take it.


– Ben Gordon and his $13.2 million expiring contract.

– Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and his rookie contract. The second pick in the 2013 draft may have fallen out of favour in Charlotte after struggling all season with his jumpshot and so far hasn’t hit a three in preseason.

– While their own protected pick is promised to Detroit, they have protected picks from Portland (top 12 in 2014 and 2015, unprotected in 2016), and Detroit (top 8 in 2014, 1 in 2015 and unprotected in 2016), and those could end up being quite valuable.

– Ramon Sessions and his $5 million expiring contract.


Rudy Gay and Terrence Ross for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Ben Gordon and Bismack Biyombo

Kidd-Gilchrist is the perfect type of prospect for a rebuilding team to acquiring. His stock is low, right now, but he’s just a second year player and could payoff big. He’s a born leader, is tough as nails, has a high basketball IQ and could end up being one of the best wing defenders in the league. Gordon is taken for his expiring contract and Biyombo is some size on the bench who won’t ever become the player some hoped, he’s still got a lot of defensive potential.

Adding Gay would make Charlotte a contender for one of the last playoff spots. And while he can opt out after this season, also trading for Ross minimizes the risk.

If Charlotte is not ready to give up on Kidd-Gilchrist, one (or both) of the picks Charlotte is owed from Portland and Detroit could be substituted.


When Rich Cho was hired, he said this:

“One of the worst things you can do in this league is be a middle-of-the-road team – in the playoffs one year, out the next. One of the tough things about a middle-of-the-road team is you never get really good draft picks. That makes it hard to have sustained success. Sometimes you have to take a step back to take two steps forward.”
Real GM

Making a trade for Rudy Gay just to get better this year goes against everything he seemed to be preaching. And why trade any future assets for a player who could walk away this season? Just to create a middle of the road team? And why do it the one year they SHOULD be tanking?



There are some teams that simply don’t have the option of rebuilding. The Milwaukee Bucks owner, former senator Herb Kohl, is 78 years old and has gone on record that he doesn’t want the team to rebuild. That means that the Bucks are always in win-now mode, for better or for worse.

Normally losing your two leading scorers might signal a rebuild, but Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis neither scored efficiently or had much, if any, impact on the defensive end, so management wasn’t in a rush to bring them back.


Per Kohl’s directive, the Bucks are aiming for the playoffs, but don’t have the talent to be a lock, and lack talent at a couple of positions, one of them small forward. The start of the season will be a big test for them, as they face Toronto, Cleveland, Detroit (twice) and Washington (twice), all teams that they will be competing with for one of the final playoff spots. If they struggle out of the gate, they might be willing to make a big trade.


– Caron Butler and his $8 million expiring contract. He was traded for this summer and while he has Wisconsin roots, it’s hard to imagine the Bucks are all that attached to a 33 player whose best days are behind him.

– Ersan Ilyasova is being paid $7.9 million next season and signed a 5 year extension before the start of last season. After starting off last season poorly, he improved his play every month and looked great by the end, but there is a feeling that the Bucks don’t know quite what to do with him, and he might be available if the right offer was made.

– Brandon Knight and his $2.8 million rookie contract, and his option was just recently picked up for next season. He has been disappointing so far, and while he’s shot well, there are still questions about whether he can run a team.

– Ekpe Udoh and his $4.5 million expiring contract. He’s 6’10.

– Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was the Bucks’ 15th pick in last June’s draft. He’s 18, has massive hands and an unpronounceable name. What’s not to like?

– The Bucks own all their future first round draft picks.

– $7 milli0n in cap room that means they could take on a bigger contract without having to send out one.

I don’t see anyone else on this team being available.


Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowry for Caron Butler, Ekpe Udoh, Brandon Knight, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Milwaukee’s top 10 protected 2014 first round pick. (does not include draft pick)

This isn’t a huge haul for two of the Raptor’s best players, but considering both have expiring contracts, not a lot of teams are going to want to give up a lot for players who could leave for nothing at the end of the season.

The Raptors do keep their financial flexibility and get two young prospects and a draft pick, which helps their long term rebuilding goal. If the team is going to tank and go after a top pick in 2014, this is exactly the type of trade they need to do.

The Bucks become a legit playoff team with this trade, plugging their two biggest holes.


While the Bucks might seem like a perfect target, because of their desire to be a playoff team, their cap room and the pieces the have, I just have one name for you: J.J. Redick.

Last year, the Bucks, hoping to make a push for the playoffs, traded promising young prospect, Tobias Harris, for sharp-shooting veteran, J.J. Redick. There were two teams that benefitted from that deal, and none of them were the Bucks. Harris looks like a rising talent, and Redick has taken his talents to Los Angeles, playing for the contending Clippers.

Are the Bucks going to want to give up young assets again for a player who might be gone next summer?



The Wizards are another team that has been directed by the owner to make the playoffs. They have one of the most promising young backcourts in the league, in John Wall and Bradley Beal, and when those two are teamed with Nene, the Wizards are a good team. Not one of those players, though, was able to make it through even 50 games last season, so the playoffs are not a sure thing.


Right now, they have four small forwards and their best one is probably Martell Webster, who as a starter is a good backup. Needless to say they could use an upgrade at the position. What would make Gay more attractive to the Wizards is that he can play the power forward position, in a small ball lineup, something the they will probably be doing a lot of this year.

Last season, Washington had the lowest scoring offense in the entire league, and Gay would definitely help them improve on that. A team with John Wall and Bradley Beal should run a lot and Gay would be the perfect addition.


– Emeka Okafor and his $14.5 million expiring contract. Under normal circumstances, Okafor would be a trade chip, but with a neck injury that could cause him to miss the entire season, you can bet Ernie Grunfeld will be shopping him hard.

– Otto Porter and his rookie contract. The third pick in the 2013 draft.

– Trevor Ariza and his $7.7 million expiring contract.

– The Wizards own all their own first round picks.


Rudy Gay for Emeka Okafor, Jan Vesley and Washington’s 2014 first round pick. (does not include draft pick)

The Raptors could also include Amir Johnson in the deal, who Washington would love to replace Okafor on the front line, but that deal would have to include something substantial going back to the Raptors, like Otto Porter, and I’m not sure Washington would be amendable to that.

The prize in this deal would be Washington’s first round pick, which would probably have to be protected. Quite frankly, that would be the best case scenario for a player who will most likely opt out of his contract at the end of the season.


With Okafor most likely out for the season, Nene is the only legit big man on the roster. How desperate is their front court situation? The Wizards have actually brought back Pops Mensah-Bonsu to the NBA. The Wizards really only have two valuable assets (my belief is expiring contracts are only valuable as trade ballast in the new NBA climate) in Porter and their draft pick, and there’s no way they will move either of them without getting a talented big man in return.

Plus, with Wall’s limited perimeter game (I’m being kind here) if they do pick up a small forward he had better be able to hit from three more consistently than Gay has lately. And are they really going to want to give up such a valuable asset for someone who could end up leaving after the season?



Sacramento has a new owner, coach, GM, a new arena on the horizon (maybe) and a newfound optimism. The environment is perfect for a big trade to show the fans this is a different team. The Kings now have the longest current playoff drought in the league, which I’m sure they would like to change.


They have two real small forwards on the roster right now. John Salmons and Travis Outlaw. That pretty much says it all right there.


Not a whole lot…

– Ben McLemore and his rookie contract.

– John Salmons could be considered an expiring contract ($7.6 million) as he’s got a team option for next season.

– Jimmer Fredette is a good outside shooter who might do well with a change of environment.

– They owe their first round pick to Cleveland (with protections), so have little in the way of draft picks.


While the Raptors might be able to pull a player like Fredette from the Kings in exchange for Gay, in order to get anything of value back, they would probably have to include another player…

Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowry for Marcus Thornton, John Salmons, Chuck Hayes and Ben McLemore.

That’s a lot of crap to take back for the privilege of getting McLemore, but he has one of the higher ceilings of any player in last June’s draft, so it might be worth it. Thornton could be replaced with Jason Thompson, in the deal, which would be better for the Raptors.

This deal might actually favour the Kings more, simply because they get rid of a couple of bad contracts, as well as a player who is likely to miss half the season (Chuck Hayes) and end up with a ton of cap room next summer.


If they could, they very well might, but the Kings have so few decent assets, I don’t know if the two teams could agree upon a deal.



Kahn is gone, and Minnesota is poised to get back into the playoffs for the first time since the Kevin Garnett era. While they have a decent chance to make the playoffs, Minnesota’s biggest concern is preventing Kevin Love from leaving. The best way to do that is to surround him with so much talent that he can’t leave.


Right now they’re a borderline playoff team and their weakest position is small forward. Gay would probably ensure a playoff spot for the TImberwolves (barring injury) and give them one of the most potent offenses in the league.


– Derrick Williams and his rookie contract.

– Shabazz Muhammad and his rookie contract.

– Their first round pick (top 13 protected in 2014, top 12 in 2015 and 2016) goes to Phoenix.


It’s unlikely the two teams would even be able to complete a trade before December 15th, when several of Minnesota’s newly signed players are available for trade, so any trade would have to happen at that time.

Rudy Gay for Derrick Williams, Chase Budinger or Corey Brewer and J.J. Barea.

The Raptors are able to get a prospect who has not fulfilled his lofty expectations, in Williams, and a couple of serviceable veterans. The hope is that, in a new environment, Williams would become close to the player many expected when he was drafted 2nd, in 2011.

Minnesota becomes a playoff team.


Timberwolves management know that players don’t generally choose to play in Minneapolis. Even keeping their own players can be difficult, and trading for such an important player who could end up walking after a year is a major risk for a franchise that is always in a tenuous position. More so with Love’s future so much in doubt.

Plus, they don’t have a whole lot of attractive assets and no big expiring contracts, so even agreeing upon a trade would prove difficult.



Everyone knows the Pelicans want to win now, after trading a lottery pick and probable future lottery pick for Jrue Holiday and then breaking the bank for Tyreke Evans. They have what they hope is their future franchise player, in Anthony Davis, and some talent, but it’s doubtful they’ll take one of the last playoff spots in the West.


It’s going to prove quite difficult for the Pelicans to actually make the playoffs when Al-Farouq Aminu is their starting small forward. He’s not a bad small forward, but he’s also not very good, either. Gay would be a MASSIVE upgrade.


– Ryan Anderson and his $8.3 million salary for this season.

– I don’t think anyone would consider Eric Gordon and the $45 million left on his contract, over 3 years, an asset, but they have that.

– Is Austin Rivers one?  I doubt it.

– Their pick (top 5 protected) is going to Philadelphia next June.


Trading for Anderson makes little sense for the Raptors, and any teams that want him could just trade for him directly (Houston, with Asik), so what we’re left with is…

Rudy Gay for Eric Gordon and Austin Rivers (and they would have to throw in a first round pick of some kind). (does not include draft pick)

Toronto throws the dice on both Gordon and Rivers, but Gordon’s contract is worse than Gay’s, considering how much time he’s missed due to injury and how many years are left.

New Orleans would probably do this in a second.


Outside of Ryan Anderson, they have very little anyone wants. And they need a center far more than a small forward, and everyone is waiting for the inevitable Ryan Anderson-Omer Asik trade that just makes too much sense for both teams. And that leaves the Pelicans with virtually nothing else to trade.


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  • Thimble

    No Pau?

    • Why would the Raptors want to trade for Pau Gasol?

  • Mike

    You cannot be serious.

    • ItsAboutFun

      Afraid so.

  • DDD

    i hope we keep him

    • cdub

      I concur. However I know MU won’t unload him for nothing either so I’m not too concerned if he does go.

      • He might lose him for nothing next summer if he doesn’t deal him. That needs to be remembered.

        • cdub

          If they lose him for nothing that is the same as trading for expiring contracts which they could have already done. So either the right deal comes along or it doesn’t. Worst case they have his contract off the books this summer to sign someone else if he opts out. I don’t see this as a bad thing as they still have talent to build around on the team unlike when Bosh left. If he plays well this year they may want to keep him.

          • ItsAboutFun

            Hey, there’s always 3 team, 10 player, 2 1st round picks, trades to be had. Just look at the highest probability trade above. Why wouldn’t Cleveland give up their recent #1 overall pick, plus 2 first round picks, to get a partial year rental of Gay, and high energy, very low skill Faried, to squeek into the playoffs? Yeah, they’d also give up extreme injury prone (31, 25, 25 games last 3 years) Andy V, because Denver really wants that, and Cavs are deep at C with Zeller and wonky kneed Bynum, who may or may not ever play a meaningful game for them.

          • A couple of things. First off, I’ve never proposed trading him for just expiring contracts. My whole point is getting either a pick or prospect for him while they can.

            And keeping him means the Raptors likely end up getting a lower draft pick, which hurts them in the long term.

            And who exactly are the Raptors going to sign with their cap room? A couple of things to remember. The best free agent signing, to date, might be Anthony Parker and there are going to be a dozen other teams with MORE cap room than the Raptors.

            The Raptors have more talent than when Bosh left, yes, but it’s still not enough to go anything. All it means is they won’t suck as much and will get a lower draft pick.

  • RaptorFan

    Im pretty sure Gay will be here after Christmas and this core will surprise some people. I say 50/50 probability. 🙂

  • Milesboyer

    I know those are all “examples of trades” but most of them are absolutely ridiculous, either for the Raptors or the team on the other side. Obviously at this point it’s all speculation but until the promising rookies (Giannis A., Anthony Bennett and Ben Mac) play some meaningful minutes no team is giving them away especially for Rudy Gay and his contract which is problematic in several ways. If he ops out, said team gets nothing and if he stays, it’s only for a year and half at a very hefty price. Negotiating an extension may be a possibility but now you’re getting into huge projection territory. And involving Derozan in any trade, at this point is stupid. Let’s see how he starts the season before giving him away for an unproven asset considering how good he’s looked recently.

    If the Raptors are well below .500 by Christmas then the problems have to be identified and yes, shipped out. Rudy Gay will likely be a strong candidate but the return will be nominal and it will probably be mostly a salary dump and a means of becoming less talented to……tank (fulfilling many people’s dream).

    • Milesboyer

      To stay on your theme, you’re giving the Raptors a 15%* chance of making the playoffs? Ouch. I’ve got it pegged much higher – more like 75% chance.

      *assuming you believe they’re not making the playoffs if they trade Rudy, which must be the case.

      • I think there’s an 85% chance that, after 20 games, they’ll be lucky to have 6 wins, which would be the catalyst for a trade. Ujiri can’t wait to see if they will make the playoffs to trade Gay, because by then it will be too late. He has to look at the situation in the first month or two and make a decision. Otherwise it will be too late.

        If Ujiri kept the core together for the entire season, I’d put the Raptor’s chances of making the playoffs at about 25%.

        As I said above, Gay will most likely opt out at the end of the season (when most of the league will have cap room and there won’t be a whole lot of high quality free agents), and Ujiri should get something for him now, rather than let him go for nothing this summer.

        • bballi

          vegas, or bodog rather, has these lines on wins, in the East playoff race (over unders)..

          1. Miami 61
          2. Chicago 56
          3. Indiana 54
          4. Bkn 52
          5. NY 49
          6. Cleveland 41
          7. Detroit 40
          8. Atlanta 39.5
          9. Washington 39
          10 Toronto 35…
          11. Mil 29

          Don’t know if the bookies there expect Gay to stay or not, but that line isn’t encouraging…

    • Trade proposals are always problematic because no one has any idea how much the GMs of the teams value any of the players. Does Joe Dumars value Gay and Dumars, because if so, then I can see him doing the deal. Gay and Lowry is a pertty good deal for Milwaukee when they give up below replacement level players, and basically a couple of mid-first round picks.

      And quite frankly, many of these would be starting bids, and there is always negotiation involved. Again, who really knows. There were a lot of people who thought Bargnani would have to be amnestied because no one would trade for him.

      I do state that the return for just Gay would be very little, which is why, in most of the trades, another player is traded with him.

      • sleepz

        MKG would not be a good building block imho. He has shown that playing the 4 at Kentucky and now trying to tranistion to the 3 in the NBA doesn’t suit him. He can defend and rebound but thats where the skill-set ends
        Milwaukee will not trade Giannis after what happened with Tobias Harris last year.
        I’d like to see Rudy elsewhere but his contract makes things quite difficult

  • c_bcm


  • One relaxed fella

    Interesting article, I always enjoy reading about possible trade scenarios. I don’t even know whether I would like to see Rudy traded or not, but the possibility itself is exciting. I think Ujiri is that type of GM who wants to have a better rotation, better bench depth. So not only Gay’s big contract or the fact that he doesn’t live up to expectations but also an idea that one star player is not that efficient as several decent players might cause a trade something similar to C. Anthony’s trade – no star player obtained, instead bunch of useful guys to fill both 1st and 2nd units + some picks. However, that kind of trade would mean that Raptors are rebuilding. Again. I think that Ujiri has a lot of exciting cards to play with – expiring Rudy’s (if he doesn’t pick his player option), Lowry’s, Tyler’s and Amir’s contracts (correct me if I’m wrong, but he has 1 year remaining with team option?), so I’d say everything from lets keep them all to lets trade them all can happen.

    Also, Tim W., what do you think about trading Demar since apparently there’re teams interested in him?

    • You can’t really compare the situation Ujiri had in Denver with the current one. Carmelo was a sought after asset, a perennial All Star, with two teams that were vying for him. Denver was already a perennial playoff team, and ownership wanted the Nuggets to remain a competitive team.

      So far the only offer we’ve heard for Gay were two below average players with expiring contracts. The Raptors are a borderline playoff team even with him. He’s also massively overpaid and is likely to opt out of his contract at the end of the season.

      I know a lot of fans don’t want to hear this talk right now, but the fact of the matter is the Raptors are in a very precarious position, right now. If Lowry and Gay leave at the end of the season, which is a very good possibility, then it puts the Raptors in a massive hole it will take years to dig out of. And I just don’t think the risk of sticking with what is basically a mediocre team is worth it.

      As for DeRozan, I think they should get what they can for him now, because I’m not sure his value is ever going to be higher.

      • Milesboyer

        I can’t imagine Gay will opt out if he has a bad year because his value would be at a low point. The only way he walks away from $19 mil is if he (or his agent rather) feel he can get a solid contract and that will only happen if he has a good/decent or obviously great year. And if he does have a good year, the chances of the Raptors making the playoffs are pretty high in my opinion. Then Ujiri can deal with it at the end of the year when the context becomes more clear. I would take him walking away for nothing (but a hefty amount of cap space) and a playoff birth then going through another dismantling. I don’t see Ujiri tearing this whole thing down, he’ll build as he goes and MSLE will finally pay into the luxury tax.

        • 2damkule

          i really can’t see gay’s value dropping substantially, even if he has a poor year; he’s got enough skill that he’s going to put up raw numbers without trying, and on a team that’s really kind of desperate for someone/anyone to step up & lead, the likelihood that he won’t have an opportunity (i.e. usage rate) to put the ball in the basket is very remote. unless his raw output drops by ~25% (very, very unlikely), or he’s injured (not as unlikely, but still, luck and all), he’ll be looking at a significant payday on a multi-year deal. no, it won’t be $19M/year, but it will be in the low- to mid-teens, and will be for ~4 years. so yeah, walking away from $19M on a one-year deal is tough, but not so tough when he’d be looking at $50-$60M total (say, avg annual of $13M-$15M over 4 years), perhaps in a location that’s a little friendlier tax-wise, especially at this stage of his career. if he opts out & signs a 4-yr deal, that would take him through his age 31 season; at 32, he’d still have enough in the tank (barring a disastrous slide or injury) for one more substantial contract.

          if he opts-in next year, yes, he’s getting a gargantuan salary for that year, but risking his future earning power by exposing himself to injury. further, the book is out on him – GMs know exactly what he is & what he isn’t, and – he’d have to step up his game incredibly to warrant a higher average annual salary on his next deal, so the chances that he plays so well and earns a crazy deal (i.e. similar to his current one) is remote.

        • That’s a pretty bad scenario either way. Making the playoffs will probably cause Gay to opt out, and the Raptors could lose him for nothing, making their trip back to the playoffs a blip. But if he has a poor year and the Raptors don’t make the playoffs, they’re stuck with him and his massive salary for another year.

          Seems to me the smartest thing to do is trade him before either of those things happen.

          • Milesboyer

            I disagree and I bet it plays out as I predict: doing well come Christmas and they don’t trade Gay, doing poorly with little hope of playoffs and they trade him for a marginal return.

      • One relaxed fella

        I didn’t compare Gay with Anthony or current Raptors situation with Denver’s back then. I just think that this is how Ujiri imagines the outcome of trading Rudy. Obviously you can’t get an all star player for him in return, so it’s either couple of decent players + picks, or players that nobody cares about (like Vilanueva) with big expiring contracts + picks. And I don’t think that Raptors will avoid this – trading Gay. Unless he improves significantly or agrees with much smaller contract while performing at current level. But I find both of these scenarios very unlikely. Probably the worst thing would be to let him walk without getting anything in return.

        Also, since I’m one of the few who’s not pissed off about Gay trade talks, I want to ask another question:
        Do you think that Gay should be traded alone or with some other players involved/ included (obviously you’ve included Ross, Acy, Lowry and Derozan in some trade scenarios)? I know that depends on situation, but adding someone else who’s trading value is good by that time would increase the interest of trade proposition and may result a better outcome for Raptors. On the other hand, that means more players lost (which would upset fan base, especially if someone like Amir or Demar would be traded).

        • I think if the Raptors want to get any value for Gay, he needs to be packaged with other players. I also don’t think Ujiri should worry about whether or not he upsets some fans. GMs that worry about that tend not to last very long, and don’t tend to build contenders.

          • One relaxed fella

            Tim W., thanks for your replies !

            • Thanks for the discussion.

              Oh, and to answer your other question, I don’t see any trades that would improve the team both short term and long term (as in help make them an eventual contender). It doesn’t mean it’s not out there, but I don’t see it.

  • Anahmille Zulu

    Why oh why would they trade Rudy Gay, like we’ve had strong wings over the years. He makes the Raptors undoubtedly better and more exciting.He guards the superstars from top teams and can hold his own. He is the biggest name that wanted to come here; who cares how much he costs,(a) it aint our money (b) MLSE has the bucks. Plus the way DeMar is playing we got him at a bargain. The team is full of young potential, its time to start rounding out the team with comparable vets.
    Those trade examples are ridiculous with the Raps receiving journeymen or potential from teams which are already giving up on their draft picks. We have the young (nearly proven) talent necessary, point guard is our weakest position that can be upgraded and as well as back up center.
    Instead of all this BS trade talk, the emphasis should be on how better the raps are playing overall without a II Mago cancer that didnt rebound, and was a defensive liability that lead to at least (minimum) 10 losses last year.

    • 2damkule

      those are some good points, but i think you’re only looking at the situation from a raptor fan-centric POV.

      gay does make the raptors better, esp. compared to previous SFs that have been trotted out, but HOW MUCH BETTER does he make them? does he lift them above mediocrity (i.e. a 6-8 seeding in the East)?

      yes, he ‘guards’ the superstars, at least those who play the wing, because, well, someone has to. ‘holds his own’ is damning with faint praise a bit, no?

      how do you know he ‘wanted to come here?’ he was traded to TO, remember, and i haven’t heard a whisper of a rumour about whether he’s leaning to opt-in or opt-out of his contract for next season.

      until/unless derozan becomes a legit threat from 3, develops to where he’s – at worst – an average defender, and becomes a better creator of offense for himself & teammates, he’s overpaid. sorry, but that is – as of this moment – the hard truth. true, it’s isn’t our money, but there’s this thing called the CBA, and it outlines how much teams are allowed to spend, and further details the penalties attached to going over certain limits. it also outlines neato little things like rules around trades, free agency stipulations & exceptions, etc. fascinating stuff. so yeah, who cares, it’s just money…the point is, there’s only so much of it to go around, and it doesn’t take long for team to find itself up shit creek without a paddle because they’ve allocated too much $$ to players who don’t provide a sufficient return on that investment.

      yes, some of the trade examples are ridiculous. newsflash: sometimes, actual trades are ridiculous. the reason the raps are getting, in your words, ‘journeymen’ is because the players going out from TO either have little long-term financial security (gay, lowry), or there is a long-term financial commitment that is onerous (derozan). the idea, if gay is being traded, is to tank and secure as high a pick as possible in this year’s draft; as such, you WANT to get back as much salary relief, prospects & picks as possible. you DON’T WANT equal value – in terms of bball ability – coming back.

      re. bargs – yeah, i got nothing. well, almost…my bet is that the knicks use him off the bench as an impact scorer & floor spacer, like how he should have been used in TO, and he sees a career resurgence of sorts. oh, and the notion that 10 losses were the direct result of his play is absurd (you know he only played in 35 games, right)?

  • pdjjw

    I’m afraid I don’t understand the point of this posting. You didn’t answer the question the title of your article asks. You attach an 85% probability that Rudy is gone by Christmas, provide a list of likely trade partners and then assess that the best case scenario is a 20% likelihood with Detroit. That suggests it probably isn’t happening. So to me the article just seemed like a vehicle to propose a number of trade scenarios for the pro-tank crowd.

    • 2damkule

      i thought he laid out the mindset rather clearly – that if the raptors struggle out of the gate, then MU would likely look at tossing this season & looking to rebuild via the draft; he based the idea that gay would be traded on the likelihood that the raps would have a certain record by xmas, and he estimated the odds of that record (or a worse one) being attained at 85%, meaning an 85% chance they trade gay by xmas. he then broke down what he feels are legit trade partners based on their need(s) and assets, and assigned a probability score to each based upon the factors involved in each scenario.

      you can argue that the record will be better than he expects, though looking at the schedule, there’s definitely some tough sledding there. historically, the raps have gotten up for tougher opponents, but often play down to the level of lesser opponents, which makes predicting games tricky, especially before we’ve seen any team play a meaningful game (and even then, we usually want to give a team 20-30 games before deciding on what they are).

      if we go by how they played in the 2nd half, or how they played after acquiring gay, we can assume that they should be able to sustain around a .500 record, but that’s ignoring a) the factors that went into those late-season wins, b) other teams improving. when i look at the schedule, i’m having a hard time seeing better than an 11-15 or 12-14 start, and that’s if everything pretty much breaks perfectly. that’s not a diss to the team, they’ve just got some really tough games the first couple months. if that’s the record at that time, it becomes a lot more difficult to make moves, as MU will likely want to wait and see what happens as they get closer to the deadline.

      regardless of what happens, it should certainly be an interesting year.

      • pdjjw

        Fully agree that this is going to be an interesting year and I’m looking forward to how it all plays out.

        Just to clarify, my confusion had nothing to do with starts, schedules, projected wins or Masai’s plans. I’m not even challenging that Rudy will be traded at some point this season because the only person who knows that isn’t about to tell us. My confusion was that the article asked the question where would Rudy spend Christmas this year and that Tim’s analysis in the post indicated probably not Toronto but probably not anyplace else he mentioned. Without telling us where he actually thought Rudy would land, I didn’t think he’d addressed his basic proposition.

        • 2damkule

          ah, i see. so, you were expecting tim to answer the hypothetical question? i read it differently…if the title had been ‘where rudy gay will be spending xmas!’, then i would assume that the article would clearly pinpoint that location. to me, it was just an attempt to look at potential trade partners, and what a trade involving gay could potentially look like.

        • As I said in another comment, if you add all the numbers, they come out to 99, so I’m suggesting there’s a 99% chance he’ll end up on one of those teams. I’m guessing that my overall math is not correct, but that’s the gist of it.

    • watchyourtone

      i think rudy will spend christmas at home with his …

    • The point is that no one know WHERE Gay will be. We can only guess. If you add up all the numbers, they come out to 99, I believe. In other words, I’m suggesting there’s a 99% chance that he’ll end up one of those teams. Maybe that’s a big cheat, and doesn’t make sense, but it’s been a very long time since I took math.

  • 2damkule

    the 1st 26 games look tough, but IMO, how this season unfolds (i.e. whether they trade & tank, or whether they try to acquire help to make a push) will be determined by a stretch of games starting Dec 3rd & ending Jan 11th. 19 games, 12 on the road (8 against teams considered locks to make the playoffs), with just a few games that will/should be gimmies (in PHX, then home vs CHA & PHI).

    • If Ujiri waits until the middle of January to decide what to do, he’s really limiting his options, then.

    • Dr.Scooby

      This team is likely not making the playoffs, and to get talent you have to trade talent, but for conversation sake:
      How would they try to acquire help to make ‘a push’ I wonder..? They already have a thin bench, no cap space, against the luxury tax, so you have to assume they would have to trade a starter to get the talent required to ‘help’ this squad…which leaves us with the original question -who would you trade…the answer is probably Gay

      • 2damkule

        the key word in my comment was ‘try’ – they don’t have much in the way of assets that they’d want to move that would return an impact player; my guess is that if they’re legitimately in the playoff hunt, it will be because they’ve gotten solid production from their core group of players, and would be looking to solidify/strengthen their bench, or add a veteran with playoff experience, etc., only making fodder available in a deal.

  • youngjames

    I am so sick of these “when and where will Rudy Gay be traded” articles, especially on RaptorsRepublic – F^ck me bro!!! Is this all you all know??? Over talked about, bloated with useless graphs, stats and personal opinions from a group of staff writers who “think” they have a clue about the sport and how to build a winning team – when they don’t! This is an acual team nerds, not a fantasy team where you move players in and out on a daily basis, so why even discuss this crap? This city is ridiculous with this needless BS – one year ago, all this city talked about was how can we get Rudy Gay here, who do we have to give up to get him, conversations dominated these talk boards…now we have him (for 3 actual months of playing time) and the media drives nonsense into something where there should nothing. Jokes, simply jokes!

    • BlakeMurphy

      Believe this is only the 2nd Gay piece we’ve done. This one included 0 graphs and stats. The previous one included 0 graphs and stats. They sure did include personal opinions, because that’s the whole fucking point of a blog.

      Now, I don’t necessarily agree with this article, or even trading him if the return is poor (I’m firmly anti-tank), but your attack here is completely baseless.

      • RaptorFan

        Now now Blake……I just included you as one of my favourite writers on here..*see above*…You have to admit the guy does have a point (speaking from the frustrations of an anti-tank fan).
        Does Tim W. have to keep reminding us how much our team sucks and WILL suck? How many optomistic articles are ever written around here?? Can someone start writing more positive articles? Everything Tim W. writes seems to be doom and gloom! Surprise us and write GOOD things about this team every once in a while. We are still Raptor fans here right?? Rudy is going nowhere before Christmas. Demar is a borderline all-star. JV holds his own in his 2nd year as a C. Lowry has a good year in his contract year. Raptors get the 7th seed in the east. Book it! 🙂

        • BlakeMurphy

          I don’t mind disagreeing with the point or even saying it’s too negative (again, I’m anti-tank and tend to disagree with Tim W on just about everything). My response was to his ‘graphs and stats’ comment, which was just dumb.

        • 2damkule

          actually, tim keeps reminding us how mediocre the raptors are, not how much they suck. there is a difference – if they actually sucked (as in, one of the 5 worst teams in the L), then he wouldn’t be writing what he’s writing, because they’d already be further along than they are now, which is mired in mediocrity, with little way of getting out of that situation that doesn’t involve making some significant moves…which was the point of this article.

        • Why do I need to write an “optimistic” article? To make fans feels good about themselves? Why do they need that? The articles I write are neither negative or positive. They just are what they are. I just finished 5 columns ranking the top 30 positions in the NBA that were neither negative or positive. Those qualities were just from the readers, not me. And this article is neither positive or negative. It’s just a detailed account of where Rudy Gay could end up, the way I see it.

          Besides, what if I don’t think DeRozan is a borderline All Star? Or that Gay isn’t going to get traded? It seems that some readers simply want us to write good things about the team whether we believe it or not, and whether it’s even realistic or not.

          What’s funny is that I wrote a glowing article about Valanciunas, a while back, and I got criticized for one comment that some perceived as negative. No mention of the rest of the article, just a criticism of one offhand comment about Jamario Moon also winning NBA Player of the Week honours. I’ve learned some people will never be happy, so I’m not going to even try.

      • watchyourtone


      • youngjames

        OK sure, there are no graphs today – who cares!??! It was a minor point about the whole body of work known as RR. I have seen many an article with pompous graphs and charts like we are business analysis, if your not a “chart and graphs” writer, then don’t worry about it Boss – the comment wasn’t for you…but I digress.
        “They sure did include personal opinions, because that’s the whole fucking point of a blog” – so why when I say what I feel, its an “attack” and not an opinion? I’m just stating that I’m sick of the “trade DD and RG” talk, it’s a bull shit conversation – and it seems to happen on here quite a bit with articles (there has been more then two on here) driven towards the topic like this one. It’s fun ONCE…now move on!

        • youngjames,

          Thanks for your input. Since Raptor’s Republic is here solely for your enjoyment, please let us know what types of articles YOU like, what opinions YOU want to read, and what players YOU want criticized. That will help us a whole lot.

          Much appreciated,

          Tim W.

          • youngjames

            Now your getting it – I know what cooks Chief…do what I do and you just might turn out to be somebody!

          • ItsAboutFun

            You preach about not being snarky, then have a hissy fit of snark yourself. Sheeeesh, and you’ll delete this, just as you’ve deleted several posts of mine whose only fault was calling you out on what you said, and you had no answer.

        • BlakeMurphy

          I’m always gonna stick up for my guys when the comment is against the author instead of the idea. You’d want the same thing on a basketball team.

          (“Is this all you all know??? Over talked about, bloated with useless graphs, stats and personal opinions from a group of staff writers who “think” they have a clue about the sport and how to build a winning team – when they don’t! This is an acual team nerds”)

          And for what it’s worth, graphs are hardly pompous/business analysis…used properly, it can show in 10 seconds what it’d take 100 words to describe (e.g. a player’s shot distribution).

          But I digress.

    • Anahmille Zulu

      My sentiments exactly….In the entire history of the Raps we’ve had so many under achieving over paid athletes that this over bloated contract isn’t over the top compared to ….lets say..Yogi Stewart, Turk, Ill Mago, Fields,or Kapono or even players like Gordon all of whom aren’t even close to top ten for their position. The fact that we lost so many close games last year and we are a better squad this year yet , I’m so surprised their isn’t more optimism.
      Forget about the CBA….that is for the number crunchers, if we had talent like Rose, Melo, LeBron, KD of the top, then I could see concern for the CBA. There are far worst teams in terms of salaries compared to talent in the league, not to mention the majority of the raptors are on 1 year deals with options…so what’s the problem.

      • 2damkule

        i dunno…if you had a ‘top’ talent like you’ve mentioned, wouldn’t you have less concern for the CBA, since it’s been pretty well documented that those top-tier players actually make less than what they should, even though they’re max players, based on the value they provide their teams? plus, if you’ve got one (or more) of those upper echelon star players, it increases your odds being a ch’ip contender, which increases your odds of attracting not only other star players, but the other critical components to a top-quality team (i.e. solid supporting cast, strong bench, etc.).

        and no, there really aren’t that many teams who’s team salary is as out of whack with the on-court production…this is a team that’s nosing right up against the luxury tax, yet will be in a fight just to earn the right to be swept in the playoffs. so yeah, no problem at all.

      • I’m not sure I see how the CBA effects a team with a star any more than a team without one. Both have the same restrictions. And the Raptors are currently the 6th highest paid team, so they are severely restricted what they can do.

        And the fact that the Raptors have overpaid players in their past doesn’t mean it’s nothing to worry about. It means it’s DEFINITELY something to worry about considering the Raptors have a history of overpaying players AND not making the playoffs. Maybe those two things are related.

        And the problem with having so many players on one year deals is that they have less value. Expiring contracts only have value if a lot of teams need to dump salary, and since there are more than 20 teams projected to have cap room (that will change somewhat with extensions and options) the market for expiring contracts is probably at an all time low.

    • 2damkule

      translation: numbers make brain hurt. nerds ruin shit. i don’t have an understanding of how a winning team is built. i enjoy revisionist history.

    • RaptorFan

      I agree… my FAVOURITE writers from RR and the ones that i truly respect right now (because they are realistic and fair in their criticisms of players) is Zarar, Andrew, Garrett, Blake and Sam. You guys are awesome! Lou and Tim W. seem to write the same stuff over and over. Just my opinion!

      • To me, “realistic and fair” is just another way of saying an opinion I agree with. Just my opinion.

        • RaptorFan

          To be honest, I don’t always agree with the writers i listed above. The truth is that they at least appear to be fans of this team.
          You on the other hand i don’t get at all. Honestly, some days i wonder why you even follow this team!
          Look, most posters on here are fans of this team. Please keep that into consideration the next time you do a piece. I’m not asking you to sugar coat everything! We’ve missed the playoffs for about 5 years and running no? We’re well aware of the state of this team. I think it would be nice if you’d do a positive piece from time to time. For example – What could the Raptors do to make THIS team a playoff team? What players would you add to this core? Who knows…..maybe Ujiri might get some ideas.
          The truth is i know your a pretty smart guy. I can honestly say that you put a lot of effort into your articles. Sometimes i think its just too much negativity……a little positive every once in a while would certainly go a long way.
          Just a suggestion.

          • How is Blake or Zarar or any of the other writers any more a fan of the Raptors than I am? You seem to believe fans should all behave the same. It reminds me a little too much of what happened down in the US when Bush was president, and the whole Love It Or Leave It argument was thrown around. And that’s a little distasteful for my liking.

            Just because I’m a fan of a team doesn’t mean I have to like what I am seeing. And that seems to be what a lot of people want.

            Of the last 7 columns I’ve written (not quick Putbacks), 5 were positional rankings, which were neither positive or negative, one was a look at three separate scenarios one year from now, ranging from good to bad, and this one.

            I wrote a very positive column about Valanciunas, and got jumped on for one offhand comment about Jamario Moon also winning NBA Player of the Week honours.

            I don’t write to make fans feel better about themselves. I write to inform and start discussions.

    • watchyourtone

      bub, i don’t even think it’s the media just look over your picket fense and you will see that some of these guys aren’t even raptors fans.wink wink

      • 2damkule

        what does being a ‘fan’ mean?

  • Marz

    Tim, I agree with you that the schedule is pretty damn tough at the beginning. But then, doesn’t Ujiri know that too? Wouldn’t he take that into consideration when looking at our record this Christmas break? If anything, Ujiri won’t be pulling the trigger until after the team’s schedule lightens up next year. So I would look at the trade deadline, not Christmas.

    • 2damkule

      point is, if you wait too long to trade gay, the record may be too good by then, thereby negating the prime objective in trading him, which is to get as high a pick in the draft as possible. yeah yeah, let’s hear it from anti-tank nation…but i wonder how those leading that charge feel about how 2012 ended? i know i’d rather be going forward with a team that had harrison barnes (instead of ross), and had ed davis and not rudy gay.

      • Marz

        What if you’re able to trade him for better assets down the line, including a potentially high 2014 lotto pick? Or an already young up-and-coming talent?

        • 2damkule

          yes, that would be unfortunate, but that’s assuming that you know with any degree of certainty what ‘better assets’ will be available down the line. there are always variables in play, but if you’ve done a proper evaluation of a player’s worth and have a good idea of the return he’d bring, unless you’re making a deal that brings less than what you perceive to be good value, then you make the best move available, whenever that may be. waiting until closer to the TD has risks too…he could get injured, or other teams, with assets you covet, may make moves with other teams using those assets, leaving the cupboard somewhat bare.

        • Who is going to trade a potentially high pick in 2014 for a guy who could leave in a few months? And it better be a high lottery pick they get because if they wait too long then their own pick will be too low to get an elite player. It’s basically cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    • It doesn’t matter WHY the record might be poor come Christmas. If the team is 7-19, the same record at the same time last season, then it doesn’t matter WHY their record is so poor. You’ve still got the same problem as last year where they have a huge hole to dig themselves out of. And if they’re 7-19 (or around there) isn’t that an indication that the team isn’t where it should be? If they can’t beat even half of those teams, then that’s all that really matters.

  • mountio

    Very good article. Agree with the thought that if we are anywhere near 7-19, we should blow this thing up asap. Im hoping we can be over 500 at that stage (dont think its a huge stretch) – but if we arent, there is no question this is the right thing to do.
    As for the trades, the DD ones are the toughest to evaluate, given its less of a Gay trade, more of a DD trade in terms of what the raps are giving up. I like the Chicago one .. in that it moves contracts AND looks to the future better than any of the others (the Cle one is pretty good too). Not sure Det plays ball moving Monroe .. but stranger things have happened.
    Unfortunately, I think the market for Gay will be more along the lines of the Minny/NO deals that you proposed. They are a marginal step forward for us .. but feel more like the AB deal to me (you hope that just moving Gay’s contract in and of itself is a positive).
    One other note on Gay – you have to remember how little we gave up for him in terms of what we might get back. Half a year of Jose plus Ed (who has really looked BAD in Memphis, albeit in limited playing time) – is not that high of a price.

  • consmap

    I just randomly imagined a GM singing “All I Want For Christmas Is You” to Rudy Gay.

  • Why

    I think your reasoning and anaysis are sound however I must say the wholenotion is depressing to me as a raps fan – a trade of Gay almost guarantees a lousy 2013-2014 seaon….

    • Matt52

      It might ensure a stellar 2015-16 through 2026-27 though.

  • Nilanka15

    What are the odds of the Raptors starting the season relatively well, catching a few heavyweights napping and stealing a few unexpected wins. The team develops some chemistry, defensive efficiency improves over the first 25 games, and the Raptors stand with a 13-12 record.

    The ultimate doomsday scenario, right? The playoffs are seemingly within reach, but a quick exit still seems likely. What does Ujiri do with Gay then?

    • 2damkule

      i don’t see it as doomsday scenario…IMO, starting 13-12 would be a step in the right direction, and likely means that they’re getting better than expected play from their key players, that they’ve stayed healthy, and that their young guys are developing and contributing….basically, that their trade assets are increasing their value in the eyes of GMs who would want to trade for them. those are good things.

      a start like that is a signal to push for the playoffs, keep the roster intact, and try to continue to improve.

      unless, y’know, teams start throwing controllable legit prospects, salary relief and unprotected picks at them for DD or gay.

      • Nilanka15

        Yertu, see Tim’s comment below. If the Raps get through their tough opening portion of the schedule playing .500 ball, can Ujiri really entertain the idea of moving Gay (or DeRozan or Lowry)?

        Having been so long since Toronto hosted a playoff game, I would think the majority of the fanbase would be outraged at the thought of Ujiri dismantling a playoff team.

        And as Tim mentioned, keeping the team in tact risks us losing Gay for nothing at season’s end. Seems like a lose-lose scenario for Ujiri.

        • 2damkule

          So, if NO decides they MUST trade Gordon, and offer up him, Davis and a pick (and filler to make salaries work) for gay and DD, that that wouldn’t assuage raptor fans? Obviously, that’s not happening, but to think that a .500 record makes someone untradeable seems a bit rash.

        • Milesboyer

          If everybody’s so sure Gay will opt out at season’s end then his trade value is really quite low – he becomes a “part of a season” rental. So loosing him for nothing as opposed to what? Acquiring another mediocre player that the critics will be clamouring to get rid of, or a 2nd round pick that will probably amount to nothing? The only reason to trade Gay is to make the team worse to follow the tanking strategy, forget about the return. Again this becomes a debate between the pro-tankers and those who would be happy with a little progress, ideally a playoff spot regardless if it involves a 1st round exit, and an open mind towards the future, as opposed to the all or nothing mentality of tanking.

          I agree with a previous poster, the pessimism often outweighs the optimism on this site, perhaps out of fear of being ridiculed. But the reality is, this could be the next Memphis Grizzlies, Indiana Pacers or Atlanta Hawks from a few years ago. No, none of those teams have or will win a championship but they’ve been a hell of a lot more entertaining than most of the teams not named the Thunder that have used the tanking strategy.

          • Phoenix just got a first round pick from Washington for the expiring contract of Gortat, so it’s not as if players with expiring contract are worthless. Especially to teams who are desperate to make the playoffs, of which there are a few.

            Now, the longer you keep a player like this, the more his value decreases, which is one reason I think we’ll know Rudy (and the Raptor’s) fate sooner rather than later. Trading Gay after Christmas does very little in the tanking effort and reduces his value, so what’s the point?

            As for the pessimism vs optimism argument, it really is just perception. This article is neither negative or positive. It really just depends on how you look at it.

            Lastly, being open-minded has nothing to do with being anti-tanking. Quite the opposite If you’re anti-tanking or pro-tanking, chances are not not being completely open minded. The open-minded people are the ones who are open to both strategies. So let’s not start throwing stones in glass houses, here.

            • Milesboyer

              Good point regarding Gortat but, his contract is much smaller, he’ll have a full season with his new team and the pick will probably be a mid-first rounder. Could you get a mid-first rounder for Gay by trading him in November/December? Maybe. I completely understand your opinion Tim, you’re in the pro tanking, let’s dismantle to build a contender mentality which would, by necessity require a trade of Rudy Gay and probably Derozan. But the fact is, that is not the direction Ujiri has decided to take. If it was, he wouldn’t have wasted time and resources over the summer the way he did. I’m on board with his plan and I see the possibilities.

              My comment about being open minded has to do with having an open mind regarding how things could play out. If you’re in the tanking camp, you’re not interested in being open minded on that front which is understandable.

              Regarding the pessimism vs. optimism, you’re right it’s a perception (more like an opinion but that’s just semantics), but certainly not a far fetched one. Of course it’s nothing personnal, I love this site and I enjoy the dialogue that it brings (other than the odd vendettas that some posters have).

              Keep writing, you’re a smart well informed dude.

              • At this point, we really have no idea WHAT direction Ujiri is going. For all we know, he may just be biding his time to get the best offer for Gay, DeRozan and Lowry and tank the season. I think that’s one of the more frustrating things, so far, is that Ujiri hasn’t showed his hand at all. It’s not a criticism of him, just a statement of the feeling, as a fan, wanting to know what the future will be.

                And thanks for the kudos. Much appreciated. I always enjoy your comments, even if I don’t always agree with them.

    • Ujiri might not have any choice. If Gay opts out, then he’s at the mercy of Gay’s decision. He might leave for nothing, putting the Raptors in a bad position (again).

  • Dr.Scooby

    I don’t think the Raps would be much worse if they didn’t have Rudy Gay playing for them.

    I like Rudy Gay, and he is talented and he is an inefficient scorer and he is grossly overpaid, but if you’re not trading him at what salary are you willing to pay to keep Gay on this team?

  • rapster

    You just saved me a grand Tim – I was looking for some reason not to lay down that money on a 36 season win – I have enough ammo now to sit wait and watch them burn as that seems to be whats going to happen.

  • youngjames

    85% chance that the Raptors trade Gay by Christmas because the team won’t win 6 games within the first 20…Ha! That was funny boss, you got jokes. I’m keeping this, just so I can re-post it come Christmas time. This is your prediction and evaluation on the Raptors/Rudy Gay/the schedule and the teams situation before any games have started. You’re starting to sound more and more like your boy – Steve Simmons!

    • Actually, I said they WOULD win 6 games in their first 20. And I have no idea who Steve Simmons is.

      • 2damkule

        Lucky bugger…

  • Bouncepass

    So, do you actually think that there is just as much likelihood that Gay is in Charlotte as in Toronto by Christmas? There’s more chance that he is in Detroit than in Toronto? That’s pretty bold.

    I tend agree that if the Raptors are struggling then they are more likely to trade Gay (or other players like Lowry). That seems fairly obvious. The gutsy move, and probably the best for the Raptors, is to trade Gay and/or Lowry if the Raptors are near .500 or have a winning record by Christmas and those players are having strong seasons. A fundamental rule is to sell high and buy low. If the Raptors are playing poorly, Gay and Lowry will probably have very low trade value, so the Raptors would get very little return in players, prospects or picks. However, if Masai is sure that this core is not going to cut it in the long-term, getting some good return for Gay and Lowry when their stock is high would be the best move. But it would take a lot of courage to do that.

    • I don’t know how bold it is. No matter what happens, I can say I said there was a chance it would happen. I even left a 1% chance of him going to one of the other teams.

      I think if the team is .500, it would be a MAJORLY gutsy move to trade Lowry and Gay, since he wouldn’t have much cover from the fans for doing it. If they have a losing record, at least he could say that he gave them a chance. If they have a .500 record and blows the team up, I can see a lot more fans reacting poorly.

      I don’t necessarily agree that if the Raptors have a losing record that Gay and Lowry are playing poorly. They can play well can the team can still lose.

  • isojoe

    All these trades are terrible man. Do u not watch any other team besides TO?