The Last Word on the Rudy Gay Trade

I’ve never written so much about one trade before. Of course, most of this post isn’t going to be my own words, but the words of others. If you disagree with me about the Rudy Gay trade, that’s obviously up to you. But I have found it interesting there seems to be an overwhelming number of people who seem to have the same opinion I do.

If you’re a Raptor fan, this will be disheartening. If you’re a Bryan Colangelo fan, then, well, if you’re still a Bryan Colangelo fan, nothing will dissuade you from that. It’s like people who still believe there’s no such thing as global warming, despite mountains of evidence.

We know why the Raptors want Rudy Gay. He looked like a real comer back in 2006, but he’s done absolutely nothing besides look the part of an All-Star while offering the production of an average player. When you factor in the history that suggests he’ll be taking shots away from players who do more productive things with the ball offensively, this average turn might trend down into the realm of the negative. Toss in his maximum contract and … another winner, Bryan Colangelo!

And Toronto? Again, we have no idea.

Once Aaron Gray and Linas Kleiza pick up their player options for next season, the Raptors will be over the luxury tax featuring a core of Gay, DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani. Three players that nobody seems to covet outside of the offices of Raptors GM Colangelo.

Kelly Dwyer, Ball Don’t Lie

And from Wages of Wins:

With this trade, Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo has once again shown that he does not know how to evaluate basketball players. The Raptors are now paying $34.4 million to four players — Gay, Andrea BargnaniDeMar DeRozan, and Linas Kleiza — who have produced a grand total of -0.6 wins so far this season. They will be paying these four players a grand total of $117.5 million over the next three years, and if we go by career averages, they will receive a paltry 9.6 wins over that time.

Colangelo is the person responsible for acquiring and deciding to pay each of these players. Bargnani –the worst starter in modern NBA history — and DeRozan have never been productive players, yet Colangelo signed them to huge contract extensions. Kleiza was a gamble that didn’t pay off. Memphis signed Gay to a max contract that he didn’t deserve, and by acquiring him through trade, Colangelo tacitly agrees with the amount of money Gay makes.

As long as Bryan Colangelo remains the GM, the Raptors will have a tough time making the playoffs. Under his leadership the team has wasted the performances of excellent players and squandered the affections of a loyal fanbase. This trade reverses a long-awaited promising upward trend in the team’s on-court fortunes. Canadian basketball fans can do nothing but hope that the Raptors’ new ownership realizes that Colangelo is the problem and replaces him when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Devin Dingam, Wages of Wins

From SBNation:

About the only good thing you can say about this deal from the Raptors’ perspective is that they got the most well-known player. Gay has declined this year — his scoring is down and his PER is just 14.3 — but one would think his shooting numbers will bounce back a bit, making him slightly above-average rather than below-average. A change of scenery should bump Gay’s numbers back up to where they used to be.

Still … what is the plan, here? The Raptors will pay a combined $50 million next season to Gay, Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson and Landry Fields next year. They’ll need a point guard, so you can tack on either Kyle Lowry‘s new contract (assuming he opts out) or someone else. They keep rookies Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross in the fold, but they don’t have their draft pick (it went to Houston and then Oklahoma City for Lowry). This is your team, basically, unless Bryan Colangelo can get something decent for Bargnani in a trade. Is that even a playoff team in the East? Is that team making any noise even if they get there?

Mike Prada, SBNation

From Sports Illustrated:

Colangelo, it seems, cannot be stopped — or at least can’t seem to stop himself once he gets on a roll. One move leads to another which justifies a third and which necessitates one more, all executed without the bother of spending discretion or patience. His managerial style simply strips a team of its brakes, which for a rebuilding franchise is more than a mere inconvenience. By racing through the roster-building process, Colangelo quickly smashes a mediocre roster into the salary-cap and luxury-tax lines, two thresholds that dramatically limit the means through which teams can get better. The very process of improvement requires a delicacy of timing that Colangelo just doesn’t seem to grasp, as he racks up the kinds of contracts that only seem to work against the Raptors’ best interests.

In that sense, the acquisition of Gay is only the latest in a long line of moves that began with a five-year, $50 million extension for Andrea Bargnani. That initial blunder was then exacerbated by Colangelo’s stubborn refusal to trade his perennial disappointment of a franchise centerpiece, and his rejection of a more thorough rebuild after Chris Bosh’s departure in free agency in 2010. From there, mid-level(ish) deals for Amir Johnson, Linas Kleiza and Landry Fields — which may have made sense independently, but together make up about 28 percent of the team’s room under the cap — only stacked atop Toronto’s other considerable salary commitments.

There are no easy outs, save one: With the Raptors’ momentum barreling out of control, might it be time for a new conductor?

Rob Mahoney, NBA/SI

From TSN:

All that said, though, something just feels off about this move. Looking up and down this roster I feel like I can already hit my head on their ceiling. Sure, with a few more roster tweaks you may have a consistent Playoff participant (and given Toronto’s issues getting there over the years that’s not nothing), but are they really building towards anything more substantial?

One shouldn’t sneeze at being a consistent Playoff club, I know. Dallas kept tweaking that formula until they won it all, and getting there consistently certainly changes the culture of the locker room – I guess the question just becomes whether or not this is a core you can build around or if it will need to be torn apart at some point before the team can really compete for the big prize.

Tim Chisolm, TSN

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Obviously, not everyone thinks it’s a bad trade for the Raptors, but those that do make a very good case that it’s time for the Raptors to part with Colangelo, sooner rather than later.

Colangelo is very good at making deals. Unfortunately, he’s just not very good at making good deals for his team. What he does seem to be good at is acquiring overpaid, overrated players who don’t actually help the team win, very much. He’s begun to collect so many bad contracts that whoever takes over from him will have a difficult task just trying to wipe up the mess.

In this way, Colangelo just seems to be repeating what Isiah Thomas did when he was in charge of the New York Knicks. The Knicks had the highest payroll in the league, but couldn’t make the playoffs. Does MLSE really want to be paying the luxury tax on a team that might be lucky to get the 7th or 8th seed?

The unfortunate thing, though, is that the timing couldn’t be worse. Chances are, Colangelo is going to be given a full season with his new roster, so trying to get a top pick in 2014 is most likely off the table. There are many who don’t like the idea of tanking, because the chance of getting the #1 pick isn’t very good. But in 2014, you won’t need the top pick in order to have a good shot at acquiring a potential franchise player. Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle and Andrew Harrison all look to have elite potential. In that way, it’s a lot like the 2003 draft, where Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade were taken after LeBron James. I was going to write a post about that, but I don’t know if I want to now.

If the Raptors sit out that draft, or at least aren’t trying to vie for a top pick, then it will severely hurt the long term prospects of the team. This overpriced, overrated roster will most likely go nowhere and just keep the franchise in the dangerous mediocre zone until a new GM cleans house. But, by then, it will be too late. The best time to clean house is this summer. Keep Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross, but otherwise, see what you can get for the rest of the roster. The chance of doing that now, though, is slim to none. And so are the chances of the Raptors becoming a legit team.

15 thoughts on “The Last Word on the Rudy Gay Trade

  1. Curiosity of your reaction gets the better of me.

    Last word on the subject? Really?

    Hate losing Davis, begrudgingly accept that Jose wouldn’t be back next season.

    What did these guys right about Nash and Howard joining the Lakers?

    • I wrote three posts on the trade and this was the last one. That’s why I entitled it “The Last Word”. I thought that was clear.

      And while I don’t like losing Davis or Calderon, I would gladly trade either of them (I even proposed a trade involving Calderon on Tuesday) if it meant improving the long term prospects of the team, which I don’t believe this does.

      As for what they wrote about Nash and Howard joining the Lakers, I have no idea, and I’m guessing you don’t either. A lot of people, including me, questioned whether it would work.

      Besides, I’m not sure how the two are related. Are you suggesting because everyone didn’t anticipate the trainwreck the Lakers would become that somehow these people’s opinions on the Rudy Gay trade are somehow irrelevant? How, exactly, does that logic work?

  2. What a biased review, all these articles are cherry-picked. There are many saying that the Raps did good on the trade, Kenny Smith said the Raps would be a 4th seed if they had started the season with Gay and stayed healthy. Many Grizz fans are mad. + Many more media types saying the Grizz traded him for practically nothing.

    Gay should be judged without the pircetag, seeing as the Raps would never use that money to sign Chris Paul or Dwight or an elite free agent anyways. Or hope for an elite player in the draft? Like who? Elite players Jrue Holiday, Deron Williams, Kyrie Irving, Batum, Harden, Cousins, Dwight and Kobe who are all leading their teams to where?? Let’s throw away a season to get a 25% chance (at best) to get a player that we hope can be LeBron or Durant. Not only are you delusional but biased as hell, the Raps got better in this trade yet you want them to become the Miami Heat. Another dumb biased post on the rickety fence.

    • Of course it’s biased. What on earth do you think this site is? A news site? No, I write opinion pieces.

      Are the quotes cherry picked? Of course. Have you ever written an essay before? Did you include quotes that didn’t back up your argument? Hopefully not.

      And apparently you missed the part where I said, “Obviously, not everyone thinks it’s a bad trade for the Raptors”.

      I saw it when Kenny Smith said the Raptors had a chance to be a 4th seed next season. I disagree, hence my posts.

      As for not judging Gay based on his salary, it’s a nice idea, but the problem is that his salary effects a lot of things, including how the team can improve in the future. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that.

      And my criticism is not just Gay’s salary, but the fact that he’s overpaying the wrong players. And that means when the teams doesn’t do anything of note, it will be harder to clean up the mess.

      As for your last comment, I find it amazing that people like you can take an opinion that has absolutely nothing to do with you personally. Do you react this way to ANY opinion that you disagree with?

      • Good essay weighs both sides on the argument, and in the end you tell what you’re for and why. what you wrote is legitimate biased trash that has become a mainstay on the rickety fence and you even admit to your bias and won’t respond when called out on it. You have no legit solutions when it comes to this franchise except following another team. be prepared to respond to counterpoints buddy. You complain about his salary affecting other things, then you say that the Raps need to get a franchise guy through the draft as the only chance of winning, and a rookie scale contract is not affected by Gay’s contract. So who is this magical player you’d otherwise spend this money on? Chris Paul, Dwight? Learn to write an essay Timmy boy, or respond to all my points made against you instead of dismissing/ignoring them. I don’t take this personal, I just called you out on your biased subjective rubbish

        • Okay, I really have no idea where this attitude comes from. Do I know you? Have I insulted you in the past? You seem to have some strong personal feelings against me and I haven’t a clue why.

          As for your argument,I don’t consider Jrue Holiday, Batum or Cousins elite players, so really don’t understand your argument.

          And your comment about only having a 25% chance at getting an elite player in the draft is telling. Your reading comprehension skills need work. I suggest you read the post again and maybe try and form an argument that makes some sense.

          Again, I really have no clue WHO you are, but I’m not impressed the least bit by your immediate confrontational attitude towards someone who simply has a different opinion from yourself, and your nonsensical argument that completely ignores rather important points I already made.

          Thanks for reading, though.

          • It’s your reading comprehension skills that lack buddy. Did I ever insult you in my post, call you a name?? answer this for me pls. I insulted your work learn the difference pal, if you cant take the heat stay out of the kitchen. I have the right to insult a bad piece of work when I see it and your article fits the bill. Oh sorry about the 25% chance comment, its actually less because not every draft has a KD or lebron LOL. Again find where Ive supposedly insulted you and you can’t so youre basically switching topics and trying to make something out of nothing. Which is funny because this has become the norm on the rickety fence.

          • Your comments have been rude, immature and, quite frankly, not very intelligent. For that reason, I’m not approving any more. And my point about rereading my last post was in order to make you aware of the fact that I already stated the 2014 draft looks like it will have 3 or 4 potential franchise players, so the odds would be much greater than 25%.

            There have been a number of people that have disagreed with my arguments that have done so without behaving like a 12 year old. And since it’s my blog, I get to set the intelligence bar, and you don’t make it. Sorry.

      • Really? Someone makes a rather lame comment, ending in an immature insult, and you say that’s well played simply because you like when people disagree with me? Did you say you were done reading my blog, anyway?

  3. I guess it all depends on how good you think Ross and Valanciunas will be going forward. Personally I think they both have tremendous upside. (You criticized the Ross pick for not being a home run shot, but he seems like he could be one, he got athleticism and shoots 3’s instead of deep 2’s)

    If you can package Derozan + Bargnani for something like Pau Gasol suddenly you’re not such a shitty team. Of course Gay isn’t what you’d like, but I think a lot depends on what goes on after.

    • I haven’t seen anything from Ross to suggest he can be a home run. He can play defense, hit the three and dunk spectacularly, but he’s NEVER shown the ability to be able to be given the ball and create something out of nothing. He’s a complimentary player and could be a VERY good one.

      Valanciunas, I obviously really like, but I simply don’t think he will be dominant enough on offense or defense to be a franchise player. I see him more as a Robert Parish-type. A guy who is very good on both ends, but not dominant.

      • I think you’re a bit pessimistic on that side; Ross is in his first year and isn’t playing that whole lot.

        As for Valanciunas, a lot of good/great/franchise type players have had debuts like him with the 10 PTS, 5 RBD, on 20 minutes a night, If you cast away the exceptions like the Dream or Tim Duncan, there’s been a lot of those guys.

        Chris Bosh, Al Horford, Greg Monroe, Marc Gasol, Tyson Chandler, Roy Hibbert, Lamarcus Aldridge, David West, Z-Bo, Millsap, Garnett.

        I think at least half of these guys are or have been centerpieces of their team / franchise.

        For one I don’t think Derozan is as bad as guys who are more efficient than him really are in an elite category (Wade, Harden, Bryant, MAYO?!)

        Gay and Lowry aren’t really models of efficiency, but they’re not that bad off either.

        In all and all, I just think that even if it’s not really the trade you want, we don’t necessarily know if there was something better out there; having a constant logjam front court wasn’t ideal either. If either one of the young raptors get to an elite level or such a player is acquired they’l have a better chance.

        • I don’t consider most of the guys you mentioned to be elite players. Just because a player is a centerpiece to his team doesn’t make him elite. To me, there’s a difference between an elite player and even a perennial All Star. Some of the guys you mentioned aren’t even that.

          I’ve already talked about how much I like Valanciunas and even said I can see him becoming a perennial All Star, but to be an elite player, you need to be dominant, not just good, but dominant, in at least one area. Chris Bosh was a very good scorer and rebounder, but he wasn’t dominant.

          As for DeRozan, he is a good scorer. Not great, but good. He simply doesn’t have the skills to be able to score any time he wants. And scoring is his only above average skill.

          And no one is arguing that guys like DeRozan, Gay and Lowry are bad players. Gay, especially, is a good player and borderline All Star. But if Gay is your best player, you’re never going to be a contender. In fact, there’s no guarantee this team will even make the playoffs.

          Colangelo has acquired talent, but it’s not great talent and it’s rather overrated and extremely overpaid. If your team is in the luxury tax, which the Raptors might be, I would hope you’ve got a better team than they have, because there will be very little you can do to improve it.

  4. Very good article, as always your posts are very articulate and smart, too bad we don’t hear from you at the republic anymore. As per the Rudy trade I only agree with you to an extenct, in that:
    1. Raps have no financial freedom to sign free agents
    2. This trade will not make Raps contenders in the near future with the team as is
    That said, I do believe that this trade by itself is not bad and here is why:
    1. I think noone sane can argue that with this trade Raps became more talented. It will not get us over the hump, but we instantly become a playoff team.
    2. What you are indirectly pointing out in the article is that the only way to build a contender is through the draftand that may be the case for small-market teams, but this trade did nothing to ruin this – we gave up no round picks, and even without Gay I do not believe we were going to be a bottom 5 team in this league to have any shot of landing a franchise player in the draft. So unless you wanted the management to blow up the team altogether and tank this was not something realistic (and I do not think this was only something BC wouldn’t do, but MLSE as well, as you have to understand this is a business, and a tanking team is bad for business)
    3. As per the salary implications, chances of getting a max-type free agent signing were long gone before the Rudy trade, and the only thing this does is not being able to do smaller, mid-level type signings and I think we all agree it’s very doubtfull they would let us become contenders
    4. We gave up Jose and Ed in this trade. This again I think does nothing to hurt our future. Calderon was a great PG to run an offense, but is on the wrong side od 30, not your lockdown defender, and was in the final year of his contract. Both Lowry and Calderon will command 7-8 million per season, so realistically management had to make a choice who they will keep. Although this is debateable, I think they made the right choice. As per Ed I see him as a third big on a good team, not a franchise player. You can see this clearly when he is matched up with the likes of Cousins who destroyed him not long ago.
    5. One thing that you are missing is that for the first time I feel MLSE is ready to spend money for a contender. This trade, and even more what happened with the Jays proves this. In that case cap-management becomes secondary. If your owner is willing to spend any deal that gets you more talent is worth it, even if the player coming is overpayed.
    One thing we do agree is that this is not a championship team. But, I do think there is another way to build it apart from through the draft – do a couple of deals are needed such as trade Bargs, but only for a deal that makes sense, not just for the heck of it. Grow your core players Val, Ross, DeRozan and hope they become great players. And finally take advantage of small-market teams that can’t handle the tax to further enhance our roster.

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