4. Eastern Conference
In the days leading up to the Rudy Gay deal, which required Toronto to surrender Jose Calderon, there were rumbles emanating from the league's personnel grapevine suggesting that the Raptors were actually willing to trade both of their point guards -- Calderon and Kyle Lowry -- and not just one or the other.
Don't see that happening now, though.
Lowry has indeed clashed with Raptors coach Dwane Casey, just as he clashed with Kevin McHale in Houston, but there's also no denying that he's more of an all-around talent than the Spaniard and, in what would appear to be a bonus of sorts, ranks as one of Gay's closest friends in the league. If not the closest.
The Raptors can only hope that Gay's arrival brings out more of the good Lowry, especially since Toronto surrendered a quality first-round pick to acquire him from Houston last summer. It wouldn't be hard to trade Lowry when only $1 million of his salary next season is guaranteed, but what sort of value would the Raptors be able to get after Lowry's ups and downs this season? They'd have to get back a point guard good enough to justify the sell-off of the first-rounder to the Rockets.
Calderon's exit, meanwhile, should finally open up more minutes for reserve guard John Lucas, which was one of the Raptors' aims when they signed him away from Chicago last summer. Toronto came into the season convinced that Calderon's expiring contract would help them score a top talent like Gay and targeted Lucas to step into that void when the deal finally materialized.