As to the first bolded section, why can't you let him walk away? Because, we can't get another player of his talent level to sign here? I don't buy that argument, but some on this site do, but even if we accept that we can't get a replacement for him, does that mean we have to pay him a max contract? I'm not exactly sure how it works, but I assume that a max contract would be 100+x% of his current salary and probably puts us in the Joe Johnson salary range of 22 mill per season plus... Are you really okay with paying RUDY GAY 22+ million/season, basically paying him more than Lebron, or Durant? Really? I mean really, really?
As to the second bold, I agree, the raps have to over pay. But what is Rudy's value? Honestly, based on his play with Memphis and Toronto, I'd say he's worth 12 mill per season. I think that's absolutely fair. So I'm fine with overpaying 3 mill a season, but any deal over 15mil/season is going to be difficult to stomach, let alone paying Gay 22+ mill a season? That's overpaying by just about double and I am not okay with that. If a guy wants double of what he's worth, you have to let him go. Or let him try is luck elsewhere and then offer him a little bit more than what any other team is offering, and hope that the extra soothes his ego enough to justify signing with you even though you had the guts to NOT offer him what he thinks he's worth.
But I'm curious, what do you think is fair rate, and his market rate? For gay based on his production versus other people who are producing similar rates, I'd say a fair rate 12 mill/season, but his market rate is probably 14 mill. So I can stomach paying him 15, but if he wants more than that, I think you have to let him walk.
Have the Raptors ever been able to attract a player of his calibre in free agency, ever? Chances are if the trade with Memphis never presented itself we'd still be sitting here with cap space but no talented player willing take it. Not trying to argue, but the franchise history is proof that this is true, so I'm in the opinion that lacking flexibility is no big deal if we have talented player(s) to show for it.