Is Jalen Rose correct in his belief that Rudy Gay will be moving from the Toronto Raptors sooner rather than later? If so, where does he go? I’ll attempt to answer that question in an occasional series over the next few weeks. We’ll start today by proposing a trade of Rudy Gay to the Chicago Bulls for Carlos Boozer.
Let’s deal with the fundamentals first. This trade works straight-up, meaning that the two players can be exchanged without needing to throw in washed-up veterans from either team to make the salaries work. Carlos Boozer is an 11-year NBA veteran who parlayed his slim opportunity as a second-round draft pick out of Duke into a successful pro career as a scoring power forward.
Raps do this deal because: Rudy’s contract is a giant millstone around GM Masai Ujiri’s neck. The player can opt in to the final year of his grossly overpaid contract next season, and he’d be a fool if he didn’t. Who is going to pay him $19.3M otherwise? Boozer’s contract is finished after next season [h/t: reader Guy for correction], and I’d rather try to trade Boozer for kids at the trade deadline than Rudy. If Boozer isn’t moved, Ujiri would go into the offseason with $4M more than with Rudy to sign free agents. [20-second timeout: Hoops fans are all in a tizzy over the potential collegiate superstars who are expected to declare for the draft in 2014, and rightly so. However, mid-tier NBA players aren't so thrilled - a lot of them will be looking for work as Andrew Wiggins and his unusually large and talented cohort turns pro. I think there will be a great deal of roster juggling which will occur prior to the '14-'15 season, and a GM with money to spend (like, say...Toronto's Masai Ujiri), will be in a wonderful position to sign some NBA veterans at a discount.] Oh…Carlos can still play. He would push Amir Johnson to the bench, which I think is better for our team. And I think having a respected veteran like Carlos on the Raps would be helpful for our kids.
Bulls do this deal because: They have legitimate championship aspirations, and Rudy will help them more than Carlos. If I’m Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, I’m licking my chops at the thought of putting on the floor a sharp-shooting lineup featuring former MVP Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Mike Dunleavy, Jimmy Butler, and now Rudy, with the tireless Joachim Noah to protect the rim. There would be no rest for the opposition defenders. I’d wager the Bulls would be one of the NBA’s top three teams in scoring. Rudy is often considered a ball-stopper on offense, but I don’t think he’s hard-wired that way (like Carmelo Anthony is, for instance); Rudy has had to shoot a lot with the teams he’s been on. That would not be the case in Chicago. Rudy is also a better defender than people realize, which he’ll need to be to play for a martinet like Thibodeau.
Verdict: In the short term, i.e., this season, the Bulls win this deal. Our small forward situation would be dismal – Landry Fields? GAG. But the cap relief Ujiri gets is worth it. Make it happen.
Brian Boake is Senior Editor 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.
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