Colangelo Brings Rudy Gay To The Raptors
In a move that has been rumored since the summer, Toronto Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo has finally managed to pry away the Memphis Grizzlies’ highly paid small forward Rudy Gay. Gay has been putting up borderline All-Star worthy numbers since his second season in Memphis and although he is currently having the worst year since he was a rookie, Gay is still averaging 17.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.3 steals. Raptors head coach Dwane Casey discussed what he could about the deal before the game in Atlanta.
“The names that have been mentioned in the trade probably won’t be available,” Casey said. “We will just have to see, everything happened so sudden.”
The 26-year-old Gay could be the missing piece of a Raptors rotation that has been weak down the middle since Jorge Garbajosa was injured back in March of 2007. Even the addition of the promising young wing Landry Fields was not the star-powered solution the team had hoped to make before this season started. The Raptors will now be able to feature a starting line with Kyle Lowry at point guard, DeMar DeRozan at shooting guard, Gay at small forward, Andrea Bargnani or Amir Johnson at power forward and Jonas Valanciunas at center. Fire power should not be an issue for the Raptors going forward.
Gay was one of the premier players of the 2006 NBA Draft and quickly developed into an elite talent at the NBA level. A legitimate 6’8 in shoes, Gay was blessed with a 7’3 wingspan and maximum vertical leap of 40.5 inches. Quick and strong, Gay was a 20-point-per-game player in his second NBA season. The decline in Gay’s shooting over the past couple of years can be attributed to the Grizzlies’ acquisition of Zach Randolph, which shifted Gay out of the go-to-guy slot in the team’s hierarchy. In Toronto, Gay will be the star of the team and the Raptors will be hoping he can quickly return to his career shooting averages.
It was widely assumed the small market Grizzlies would eventually try to move Gay and the $37 million he was owed over the next two seasons to acquire players with more manageable contracts. However, the recent trade with Cleveland moved Memphis out of luxury tax territory so the Grizzlies were not under any financial pressure to make a move now. As the Raptors are now owned by two of Canada’s biggest media conglomerates, taking on a player with a huge contract should no longer be of any concern.
The Raptors also acquired little used center Hamed Haddadi from the Grizzlies as part of the deal. Toronto sent out promising young power forward Ed Davis and veteran point guard Jose Calderon. Ed Davis was having a breakout season with Toronto and Calderon will go to Detroit, which will send Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to Memphis. The significantly more economical Prince will solidify the small forward spot for the Grizzlies going forward and Daye may finally get a chance to show what he can do on a new team.
In his eighth season, Calderon was the longest serving player on the Raptors and holds several of the team’s franchise records. A favorite of Casey, Calderon will be missed. Colangelo tried to trade Calderon two seasons ago to Charlotte in a deal for Tyson Chandler that was nixed at the last moment. Colangelo had identified Calderon’s expiring contract as one of his team’s best trade assets at the start of this season.