Rudy Gay got his closeup – now let’s turn our attention to what we’ve given him up to acquire him.
I don’t believe I can overstate the degree to which fans feel betrayed by the trade of Jose Calderon. He’s a player who was always going to be punted to the bench (or out the door) by the arrival of the Next Big Thing, whether it was T.J. Ford, Jarrett Jack or Kyle Lowry.
Yet year after year, there was Jose, the consummate professional, fending off another challenge to his position as starting point guard. Jose the brilliant passer, with his league-leading assist to turnover ratio. Jose the long-range bomber, shooting almost 43% from distance this season.
But Jose was so much more than cold statistics.
He was the beating heart of the offense, a player who knew precisely when his mates were capable of scoring, and when they were flagging and it was time to bury some jumpers to alleviate the pressure. Is it an overstatement to postulate that Jose made Amir Johnson’s career? Watching Amir slash to the bucket just in time to cram home another perfect pass from Jose was worth the price of admission.
Jose made everyone better, and that certainly includes Ed Davis. Ed had stumbled through his first 2 seasons as a Rap, looking woefully unprepared to be a pro. His jump shot was poor for a college player, and he had little to no post-up game. But he had a nose for the ball, and would present himself under the basket at the right time to receive another perfect pass from….surprise, surprise, Jose Calderon.
This year, Ed’s game improved exponentially, as he built a jumper over the summer, and lost his shyness about taking his defender one on one. He stepped into the starting lineup following Andrea Bargnani’s injury and was providing nearly a double-double each game – and for that, he’s rewarded with a trade.
Bryan Colangelo has been preaching patience and improvement through the draft to the increasingly frustrated Raps fan base for years. Good polite Toronto fans that we are, we bought it. Now he’s made a mockery of his own philosophy by trading away a blossoming homegrown star in Ed Davis, and added enormous insult to injury by moving out the beloved Calderon.
BC is all-in. Jose was the last vestige of the Rob Babcock era (is that why Colangelo always seemed to want Jose gone?) Unless Rudy Gay plays like an All-Star from the moment he arrives, this deal will haunt BC like no other he’s ever made.
Even fine play from Rudy may not be enough to woo Ed and Jose’s legions of fan back to the Raptors’ cause. They are hurting today, and will be for a long time.
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.