Oct 16, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Rudy Gay (22) drives to the net against Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green (8) during the first half at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Rudy Gay: trade to Charlotte for Ben Gordon & Ramon Sessions?

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).

Jan 6, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Charlotte Bobcats point guard Ramon Sessions (7) talks to center Brendan Haywood (33) and shooting guard Ben Gordon (8) during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace. Bobcats won 108-101 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

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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Tags: Ben Gordon Bryan Colangelo Charlotte Bobcats Masai Ujiri Ramon Sessions Toronto Raptors

  • RyanMueller

    Although I disagreed with the Boozer trade, I would have to say this one makes more sense. I think that you reasoning behind the trade is sound. The Raptors will be competitive but if injuries happen their depth isn’t there, so the losses will pile up quickly. I am not in favour of turning the roster over again and again, eventually we are going to have to form a core and allow them to gel.

    • Justin

      Rudy’s talent, although enigmatic, should be enough to net the Raptors a prospect or a mid-to-late first round pick in any deal. I would rather include Terrence Ross and MKG or a future first to give this any value for the Raptors. A pure salary dump move was rumoured with Detroit (CV, Stuckey) in the summer and was apparently shot down by Ujiri.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Ryan:
      I’m pleased you find this trade more sensible. I agree the Raps are not in good shape depth-wise, one key reason why the second unit is getting so much PT in the pre-season. Coach Casey needs to figure out, and fast, who he wants in his rotation, who’s a practice player, and who heads to the D-League. I’m troubled that no second-unit guy has stepped up to the challenge.

      And I’m in violent agreement with you about the need to form a core. Let me go on record as saying I hope the Raps don’t make a single trade this season. If the roster stays healthy, and plays to its potential, we have a playoff team.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Anuj Shah

    Great article Brian. Just like how you mentioned during our chat today. The players we have today is all due to Brian Colangelo. This set of players is unknown to Masai and I agree with what you have said, he will wait some time to see how this core group of guys can do until he makes a move. Even if we are a poor team, I do not believe we are the top runners for the tank for Wiggins sweepstakes. But the players we have are young, athletic, talented, and most of them have great chemistry with each other. Rudy and Demar seem to be best friends, Kyle and Rudy have a great relationship. I believe with this group and some tweaks, we can maybe build for the future. But if not, luckily we have stock piled many assets which we can move around in order to make bigger moves in the off-season. This trade is much more appealing then the Boozer trade, we would have dumped Rudys large contract and would much more room financially to make some moves. But enough of rebuilding, lets hope Dwane Cas ey has installed the win every game attitude and the defensive emphasis we need in order to build and grow as a team. I hope to see this core group grow together, I see a lot of potential. Great talking to you today Brian, will be reading from now on!


    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Anuj:

      It’s terrific to hear from you. I enjoyed our conversation yesterday.
      You make a number of good points. In particular, I echo your sentiment “enough of rebuilding”. I think the Raps are just about out of excuses, and we as fans shouldn’t be satisfied with anything less than a playoff trip.
      I hope you are right about chemistry; I’m in favour of it, but it didn’t help us down the stretch last season, when there was a #8 seed available, and the team didn’t step up.
      You aren’t the only reader who prefers this deal to the Boozer one, but I hope it never happens. I want to win, now, not clear salary cap space.
      Finally, I’m glad you’ll be a regular “visitor”, and I hope our work continues to be a pleasure to read.
      Thanks for commenting, and I hope to hear from you again.