Mar 15, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Rudy Gay (22) carries the ball against the Charlotte Bobcats during the first half at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Rudy Gay: trade to Indiana for Danny Granger & Ian Mahinmi?

Apr 24, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George receives the Most Improved Player Award from injured player Danny Granger before playing against the Atlanta Hawks during game two of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Atlanta 113-98. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

“Your best player has to be your best player” - tiresome cliche, often mouthed by clueless colour commentators

“…unless he’s your most expensive player whose production can be replaced by kids.” - caveat I just invented

It’s early January 2014, and the Toronto Raptors have a .500 record. The team has been a pleasant surprise to this point in the season, particularly so because of the fine play of their youngsters. Terrence Ross is hitting enough 3-balls to be averaging over 10 PPG [points per game], as is Landry Fields, whose return to health has been a welcome bonus. Quincy Acy is helping out defensively on the wing, and so is Dwight Buycks in limited views. Through all this, Rudy Gay has pushed his scoring to over 20 PPG, and DeMar DeRozan has been solid. The only fly in this happy ointment? There aren’t enough minutes for 6 wing players, all of whom are contributing. (Is this scenario wildly optimistic, to the point of absurdity? I don’t believe so; I’m merely assuming the Raps’ young players will be better this season than last.)

In Indiana, Danny Granger has been pushed out of the spotlight by ongoing injuries and the emergence of Paul George, and has asked for a fresh start somewhere else. Ian Mahinmi is a tall, wide-bodied Frenchman with 5 years’ service in the NBA, who’s a rebounder and paint protector. The Raps are vulnerable to opponents who throw the ball to the low block, and have no “insurance” should Jonas Valanciunas be lost for an extended period. Trading the Pacers’ Mahinmi and Granger to the Raps for Rudy has almost no financial impact on either team. But it might be that rare deal that helps both sides on the court.

Raps do this deal because: All of a sudden, the team doesn’t need Rudy all that much. Danny can replace most of the points we’re giving up, and if he doesn’t work out, that’s a shame, but the kids will happily take his minutes. When Danny’s contract expires after the season, he can walk, and we’ve got nearly $15M in cap space. Ian is a relatively inexpensive ($4M) veteran big man who will always have value.

Pacers do this deal because: They are another team, like Chicago, with legitimate high hopes of competing for a Conference, or even a League, championship. Rudy is best as a complementary scorer; he’s too unreliable to be depended upon as your primary offensive option. Indiana has all kinds of scorers (George, David West, Luis Scola, Roy Hibbert) so Rudy would be able to step in and contribute immediately without being the Savior. A happy Rudy is a better Pacer than an unhappy Danny.

Verdict: Unlike the Charlotte trade I proposed, the announcement of this deal would bring a large smile to my face. We’d be out from under the last year of Rudy’s massive contract, and we’d have Rudy-lite and another big man to finish the season with. But remember – it’s all predicated on our kids proving themselves. I don’t advocate doing this deal today!

What do you think, Rapture Nation? Does this deal make sense? Let us know in the Comments.

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: Danny Granger Ian Mahinmi Indiana Pacers NBA Rudy Gay Toronto Raptors

  • Joshua Perez

    Don’t do this blankety-blank trade

  • GoingBig

    Is this building towards something for the 2014-15 Raptors? That cap room had better go for someone of lasting value. Who would be on the market? To attract someone, the Raptors need a showcase player – how good is JV? Can he be the “attractor”

    And what rank of player are we hoping to acquire?
    Currently ranked 16-20 by ESPN – this range – or higher – or lower?
    – Tim Duncan
    – LaMarcus Aldridge
    - Dwyane Wade
    – Al Horford
    - Deron Williams

    Also I don’t think MU would look at this deal without a draft pick to grow with the future. That’s just his style. And I think he’ll pull the trigger sooner if the Raptors are failing.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi GB:
      I’ll forward a list of 2014 free agents in my next reply. I wanted to respond to your other points.
      I didn’t mention JV in this trade proposal because it’s about the wings, and their improvement. If Terrence shows signs of becoming a star, he has to get the playing time to accelerate his development.
      I agree with you about how Masai loves draft picks – that said, I doubt he’d get the Pacers to throw a pick into this deal, but if they did, I’d buy him a beer!
      As for him pulling the trigger “sooner” – I have my doubts, largely because I doubt he’d find a trade partner until the deadline. GMs don’t like to make moves until the last possible moment.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • GoingBig

        JV comes in when we are talking about the 2014 free agents. This is a much bigger discussion than just a Rudy trade.
        With Rudy gone, you do have a bundle of cash. Those free agents are going to look at the cash AND the shape of the future team. A fully developed and possibly dominant JV would be a key in bumping up the quality of possible free agents.

        • Newmarket_Brian

          Hi GB:
          You are quite correct. Any in-demand free agent is going to be intensely interested in his potential team’s likelihood of winning, and JV’s growth will have a huge impact.
          I’m still working on the free agent list, but I need to get a post up about last night’s Memphis game. Stay tuned.
          Regards, Brian

  • Anuj Shah

    Hey Brian,

    This deal is more attractive then the Charlotte deal. But if things don’t work out with Rudy Gay (I really hope they do) I think id prefer the Charlotte deal instead and look forward to the offseason. I believe Danny Grangers best days are past him. He tried playing in this years preseason, didn’t perform well, and suffered a minor tweak of an injury that will force him to miss the rest of preseason. If the goal is to replace Rudy in some sense, I think Danny would not fit. I believe he’s just not the same.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Anuj:
      Danny’s health is very much in question. He may be finished as a pro, which is too bad. If he is done, then I wouldn’t make this trade either. However, if he’s contributing, I’d rather have him and Mahinmi than the Charlotte guys, who are both throwaways. Free agents are a dubious proposition, and I’d rather have at least one big man (Mahinmi) under contract next season to show for all this proposed busy-ness.
      Stay in touch, please. It’s always good to hear from you.