Morning Coffee

Morning Coffee: December 9th Edition

Ujiri ships Gay to the Kings for Vasquez and fodder … Is Lowry next? … Raptors spoil a chubby-Kobe’s return to the lineup

Masai Ujiri Approval Rating – Dec 8 | RealGM

64% of 99 voters strongly approve

Toronto Raptors shed weight of Rudy Gay with trade to Sacramento Kings | National Post

In the end, the move amounts to nothing more than a salary dump. Of the four players that the Raptors are receiving, only Hayes, scheduled to make nearly US$6-million, has a fully guaranteed contract next year. John Salmons’ US$7-million can be bought out for US$1-million, while the other two players will either become restricted or unrestricted free agents, depending on whether the Raptors extend them qualifying offers. The Raptors believed Gay was very likely to exercise his US$19.3-million player option for next season, based on his marginal effectiveness and what similar talents received last year. If that is the case, the move clears as much as US$12-million of salary for next year.

Raptors Trade Rudy Gay to Kings in Exchange for Vasquez, Salmons, Hayes and Patterson – Raptors HQ

While there’s no player of Gay’s talent coming back to Toronto in the deal, the move give the club a ton more financial flexibility as well as one of the league’s top pick-and-roll point guards in Vasquez. The Raptors worked out Patrick Patterson in the draft where they selected Ed Davis, and he should give the club some needed depth up front. Salmons at one point was a do-it-all wing type and a solid perimeter defender but his stock has dropped in recent years and is likely viewed more as salary cap fodder. And finally Chuck Hayes, while undersized at the forward position, will replace a lot of what Quincy Acy provided in terms of hustle and rebounding.

Raptors opt to trade Rudy Gay instead of DeMar DeRozan | Toronto Sun

“One of my best friends (hello there, Ed Davis) got traded last year and I had to go out and play,” DeRozan said recalling that tough night in Atlanta late last January. “It’s just something you have to deal with. I mean we’re still friends at the end of the day. It’s not the end of the world. We’re just not teammates. You just go out and play.” DeRozan said he never allowed himself to think there was actually a possibility that it might be him on the move. “Nah, I don’t think about it like that,” DeRozan said. “I just go out there and do whatever I can and let my game speak for itself and leave it up to management.”

Lewenberg: Raptors send Gay to Kings, get four in return | TSN

Coming off a career year in New Orleans, where he averaged 13.9 points and 9.0 assists, Vasquez fills a need for the Raptors at the point guard position and also makes Kyle Lowry expendable in a subsequent trade. The 26-year-old Venezuelan excels in the pick-and-roll, a weak point for Casey’s Raptors and could help aid the continued development of Jonas Valanciunas.

Gay trade signifies start of true Raptors rebuild |

How off-the-radar was the Gay trade? Even 48 hours ago sources close to the Raptors and around the NBA were saying the same thing: moving the Raptors’ $19-million man was proving so difficult and the market for a fading, high-volume shooter who has shown no ability or aptitude for meshing in an offence that didn’t revolve around him that Ujiri had basically given up trying to move him.

Marc Stein: Raptors will most likely trade Kyle Lowry next | RealGM

Minnesota, Lowry for Barea/Shabazz Muhammad/2nd? Minny wants vets and Flip hates Shabazz, yet drafted him anyways.

Would you trade a 1st rounder for Kyle lowry? | Pro Sports Daily

yle lowry has been playing better ball as of late, averaging 14pts/7 ast with a good 3pt % and could def be a great asset to a team, contending. He has a cheap contract that expires at the end of the year of about 6mil. I think a mid to 20s pick is fair. would any teams do this?

Toronto Raptors, Sacramento Kings agree on Rudy Gay trade | ESPN

The trade for Gay was one of the last acts of former Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo, who resigned last summer. New general manager Masai Ujiri has been attempting to offload long-term contracts, and this move accomplishes that. Combined with the trade of Andrea Bargnani to the Knicks during the offseason, the Raptors will have cleared more than $20 million off their books for next season.

Once again, Ujiri trades a star and starts over

That’s called good business. Ujiri got the deal done with his former assistant from Denver, Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro, who gets an asset capable of taking some of the scoring burden off DeMarcus Cousins. If Gay decides to walk as a free agent, the Kings are no worse off.

Amir Johnson, Toronto Raptors spoil Kobe Bryant’s return from Achilles injury in win over Los Angeles Lakers | National Post

The Raptors had 11 players available after holding out Gay, centre Aaron Gray and forward Quincy Acy, all set to head to the Kings in exchange for Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes. That turned out to be plenty, thanks to two Los Angeles natives. Johnson, who attended nearby Westchester High School, went 14 for 17 and surpassed his previous career high early in the third quarter. Johnson didn’t take a shot in the fourth, but USC product DeRozan and Lowry held off the Lakers.

Raptors upset Lakers, spoiling Kobe Bryant’s return | Toronto Sun

“I really applaud our players and that’s what you can do when you really band together,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “No disrespect. It has nothing to do with the trade, but that’s the way you have to play — together and moving the ball.”

Raptors forward Tyler Hansbrough expects to return soon from shoulder injury | Toronto Sun

An MRI Saturday in Los Angeles showed the injury to be nothing more than a sprain. “I don’t think it’s going to be very long,” Hansbrough said Sunday before the game. “It’s already feeling better and it’s just a matter of me being able to play with it.” Hansbrough said his arm went sort of numb when it first happened.

Amir Johnson Leads Raptors Past Kobe’s Lakers | Pro Bball Report

While there was plenty of speculation about the impact of these 2 major changes to each teams’ lineup, no one really knew what to expect, but it was the 6-12 Toronto Raptors racing out to a 15-4 lead that the Lakers could never quite overcome. In the end it was a 106-94 win for the visiting Raptors.

Raps 106 – Los Angeles Lakers 94 – Farewell, Rudy & welcome back, Amir | Raptors Rapture

In a game marked by the presence of Kobe Bryant and the absence of Rudy Gay, the Toronto Raptors secured a much-needed win. The Raps have been bitterly disappointing lately due to their inability to maintain early leads, but that wasn’t the case on this night.

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