Rapture Nation, the deal I’m about to describe will only happen if the Raps find themselves in mid-January with a ghastly record, and no hope of a playoff spot. Should Masai Ujiri trade Rudy Gay for Ben Gordon and Ramon Sessions of the Charlotte Bobcats, you will know the Raps are officially entering the Andrew Wiggins Tank-a-Thon. Masai will aggressively strip the Raps of all but the most essential players from the Bryan Colangelo era, and commence a re-build based on free agents and a lucky roll of the Draft ping-pong balls. Trading Rudy for those guys will be just his first move (unless he’s already canned Dwane Casey).
Let’s discuss the trade quickly. Ben Gordon and Ramon Sessions have both been valuable NBA players in the past, but their contracts expire after this season, and I’d be astonished if either one is offered a new one by any team. The ‘Cats are pinning their hopes this season on a youthful core of promising players like Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and prize draft choice Cody Zeller. Whatever minutes Gordon and Sessions receive will be in blowouts, which will probably happen a lot to the Charlotte kids. If Gordon and Sessions arrive in Toronto, they are likely to perform the same role Linas Kleiza did last season – provide warm bodies for practices, and dress for games, giving the Raps the minimum number of players so as to not default. Final thought: the Trade Machine rates this deal as a virtual wash for both sides.
Raps do this deal because: They avoid paying Rudy nearly $20M next season (assuming he exercises his player option), money which can be allocated to free agents. The remainder of the ’13-’14 season is a loss-filled nightmare, thereby cementing the Raps’ position as a Draft Lottery team once again.
Bobcats do this deal because: Rudy is a still-young veteran who can act as a role model to their kids, while filling the scoresheet. Charlotte would certainly prefer giving him a tryout rather than paying Gordon and Sessions to watch games from the bench. The ‘Cats may actually like having Rudy for a second season, and could cough up the money on his option.
Verdict: I hate this deal, but I’m writing about it anyway. Why? Because there has to be a Plan B in place should the Raps find themselves in desperate straits. Masai Ujiri has indicated he’s willing to wait and see how the current roster coalesces, which I think is the correct position to take. But he showed in Denver he’s willing to make bold moves to improve a broken team.
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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