Dec 1, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings power forward Chuck Hayes (42) shoots the ball against the Golden State Warriors during the third quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Golden State Warriors defeated the Sacramento Kings 115-113. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Does the Gay trade mean Raps are tanking?

Unsurprisingly, the 7-player trade between the Toronto Raptors and Sacramento Kings has generated a blizzard of commentary. The tone of much of the opinion seems to treat this move by General Manager Masai Ujiri as the first in a series which will result in a Raps’ roster stripped bare of all or most of its best talent. Reaching such a conclusion is a surprise, and one I don’t agree with.

Dec 3, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings small forward John Salmons (5) drives in against Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Derek Fisher (6) during the fourth quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Sacramento Kings 97-95. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Masai may have a teardown in mind, but the Gay trade is not proof of it. If the deal had returned promising youngsters and draft picks, then I would be of a different view, but the four new Raptors are all respectable NBA players. I’ve carried on a number of times about the threadbare nature of the Raps bench (in fact I had a post ready to go on the topic, which I’ll have to rewrite – thanks for nothing, Masai). None of our new guys is likely to grab a starting role, yet I’d be comfortable seeing any of them coming off the pine.

Adding Vasquez immediately improves our point guard situation [D.J. Augustin was waived last night; further proof that management believes we're solid now at the spot. I would have tossed Dwight Buycks off the Good Ship Raptor, but I've no problem with dumping D.J.]. I expect him to get a serious shot at the backup spot, nudging aside Buycks and Julyan Stone. Patterson, Salmons and Hayes will get some burn, perhaps as early as tonight.

The Raps defeated the Lakers in their first game without Rudy, and the offense looked sound. There was a lot of unselfish ball movement on display. We can’t expect huge games from Amir Johnson every night, but Landry Fields had no points in 30+ minutes, so it evens out.

I don’t expect any deals for some time, as Dwane Casey tries to figure out how he can best utilize his improved second unit. As of this moment, the Raps are not playing for ping-pong balls.

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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