ESPN Insider: Rudy Gay Trade Grades

The grades are out from ESPN Insider, here’s a brief excerpt from the in-depth article. You can sign-up for Insider here.

Toronto: A-

In trading Gay, Ujiri has undone the last big move by his predecessor, Bryan Colangelo. The players Toronto got in return weren’t as important as ensuring Gay’s $19.3 million option wouldn’t clutter the Raptors’ cap next summer. This deal reduces that commitment to Hayes’ $6 million salary and the $1 million guaranteed portion of Salmons’ contract, enabling Toronto to clear approximately $17.5 million in cap space.

This is only the start for the Raptors. Getting this trade done early will allow Ujiri to package Vasquez and Patterson as part of deals before the deadline. (Players acquired in trade can only be traded individually for two months, a restriction that will expire a little less than two weeks before the Feb. 20 deadline.) Both players should have some value as experienced starters in the final seasons of their contracts; whatever Toronto gets for them is a bonus on top of the cap relief the trade will provide. Point guard Kyle Lowry….

Sacramento: D

With Isaiah Thomas moving into the starting lineup at point guard and either Ben McLemore or Marcus Thornton at shooting guard, the Kings should be able to put more outside shooting around Gay than he has had in either of his previous two stops. In that sense, this might be the best situation he has ever enjoyed. But adding Gay to the mix presents other issues for Sacramento. He’ll have to share the ball with Thomas and Sacramento anchor DeMarcus Cousins, who have combined usage rates north of 60 percent of the team’s possessions. As much as possible, Kings coach Mike Malone will want to stagger his rotation so just two of the three players are on the court together.

There’s also the crucial matter of Gay’s $19.3 million player option for next season. If Gay opts in, the Kings are now committed to…

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