Nov 29, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Miami Heat center-forward Chris Bosh (1) and Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) defend against Toronto Raptors forward Rudy Gay (22) during the first half at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Rudy Gay is traded - It's the true DAY ONE of the Masai Ujiri era

The Toronto Raptors and Sacramento Kings announced a trade yesterday which is likely to have a significant impact on both teams. Let’s get the facts on the table:

Dec 7, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Sacramento Kings point guard Greivis Vasquez (10) dribbles the ball during the first quarter against the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

To Sacramento

  • Rudy Gay
  • Quincy Acy
  • Aaron Gray

To Toronto

  • Greivis Vasquez
  • Patrick Patterson
  • John Salmons
  • Chuck Hayes

I view this deal as positive for the Raptors, largely because of the removal of the financial millstone which is Rudy’s contract. That said, I’m going to discuss the trade’s basketball implications. How do this four players fit?

Greivis Vasquez is probably the most valuable of this quartet. He’s a big point guard who was a nominee for Most Improved Player last season. One might question why Toronto is his third team in less than two seasons; apparently there are questions about his defense. However, that shouldn’t be a huge problem if he’s guarding the opponent’s second unit. I think he’s ahead of the disappointing bunch the Raps are peddling as their backups to Kyle Lowry.

Patrick Patterson’s career isn’t going to be marked by All-Star team appearances. He’s a slightly undersized power forward (or big small forward) who’s struggling with his shot. I’d be surprised if he gets much burn as a Rap.

John Salmons is a veteran swingman. He flirted briefly with stardom a few years ago, but couldn’t make the leap. He will be an upgrade at small forward from Landry Fields (who started last night in LA) but then so would my cat Mortimer.

Chuck Hayes is another smallish swingman who actually accumulated a significant number of votes for Defensive Player of the Year in ’10-’11. He’s been under the radar since, and probably welcomes a change of scene. Chuck might enjoy playing for coach Dwane Casey, who values defense.

In short, Masai Ujiri has donated a starter and two bench players to Sacramento for four rotation guys. If you believe the old saw about “the team which gets the best player wins the trade”, then Ujiri has made a faux pas. However, the cliche is wrong in this case. I think it’s more a case of addition by subtraction – Rudy’s play was suffocating our offense. Once coach Casey figures out how to use his suddenly much more capable bench, and promotes a small forward (Terrence Ross?), I don’t think we’ll miss Rudy in the least.

P.S.  Let’s wish Quincy and Aaron all the best.

P.P.S.  More to come on the implications of this trade, so check in again soon.

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: Dwane Casey Rudy Gay Sacramento Kings Toronto Raptors

  • AM

    Definitely addition through subtraction with this trade. This was a necessity, Gay was stagnating the offence.

    More moves to come. There’s no point in having 5 pg’s on a team. It’ll be interesting to look at the roster at the end of the year. Now that Gay is gone, I have no idea who might be next.

    Credit to Ujiri, I didn’t think anyone would want to take on Gay’s contract. Good luck to Mike Malone in Sacramento. I think ownership/management will need to give him a raise or incentives because he now has to deal with the mindsets of Cousins AND Gay.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi AM:
      I’m with you about the Sac-town coach. There won’t be enough touches for Cousins and Gay, and they are both likely to pout.
      Augustin has walked the plank, which I’m fine with. He needs to go overseas and rediscover his game.
      Can you see Vasquez at the 2, and Stone at the 1? Lots of interesting possibilities for Dwane Casey in the backcourt.
      Finally, I completely concur about Ujiri. Dumping both Bargnani and Gay’s contracts is a near-miracle. We’ve got huge flexibility now.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Guy

    This trade actually makes the team better. But I wouldn’t count on, nor do I want, John Salmons spending much time in TO. Salmons hasn’t been productive for 2 years. If Ujiri can’t package him off in another deal, I’d rather he was just bought out.

    All due respect to your cat Mortimer, but I think you’re selling Landry Fields far too short. He’s got a high B-ball IQ. His defense & rebounding are equally as good as Gay. He’ll shoot if a shot presents itself, but he doesn’t need shots. He’s great at moving without the ball & makes quick decisions when he has it. It’s for those reasons I had suggested a couple weeks ago(Sorry, on another site) that the starting unit would be better served with Fields instead of Gay. They looked good in LA.

    Vasquez is a great upgrade to the back-up Pg position & could spell the end of Lowry & his expiring contract. Likely just the start of several moves by Ujiri, some of these new guys may not be around very long. Should be interesting.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Guy:
      I should have made clear that I’m not in love with any of the four who’ve come over from the Kings. It’s not like there’s a diamond in the rough among them. Salmons has worn many sweaters in his NBA career, and I’d be surprised if ours was his last.
      The Lowry situation is extremely compelling, and I’ll probably write a post about his status soon, if I can figure out what it is. So many people think he’s gone, but I don’t see it.
      As for Fields – it’s hard to imagine playing 30 minutes in an NBA game and scoring no points. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on him.
      Thanks as always for commenting.