ESPN The Toronto Raptors have agreed in principle on a deal that will send Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings, multiple sources told ESPN. The deal is expected to be finalized on Monday. The proposed deal involves seven players, with the Kings sending John Salmons, Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes to Toronto in exchange for Gay, Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy. It was required to be a large trade to accommodate Gay’s salary, which is more than $17 million this season. Gay, Gray and Acy were all pulled from the Raptors’ lineup Sunday in Los Angeles before playing the Lakers. “We won’t have three guys tonight,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said when asked about the trade. “Until it’s official, I can’t comment on it.” However, Casey continued, saying, “I don’t think there’s ever a good time to lose a star player. But it’s something you have to roll with and live with. This is a business, this is the NBA.” Yahoo! Sports earlier reported the trade. The Raptors are giving up on Gay less than a year after trading for him and are essentially offloading his contract, which has another year and $20 million on it, for three players who will be free agents after this season. The Kings will get a high-volume scorer in Gay and can pair him with newly acquired forward Derrick Williams in the frontcourt along with DeMarcus Cousins. Sacramento has been very aggressive under new owner Vivek Ranadive, who has cleared additional spending to attempt to upgrade the roster. Gay, who was traded last January by the Memphis Grizzlies in a similar money dump, is one of the highest-paid players in the league. “Rudy is a prince of a guy,” Casey said. “He’s an athletic, dynamic wing player. Gets to the basket at will. Can shoot the ball. Handle the ball. We were using him more in a drive situation, pick-and-roll situation. He was growing into that roll, doing a better job because he can see over the defense. “That was a different role for him to do that, but he was warming to it. And doing a good job with it, bringing the ball down the floor and breaking pressure.” The trade for Gay was one of the last acts of former Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo, who resigned last summer. New general manager Masai Ujiri has been attempting to offload long-term contracts, and this move accomplishes that. Combined with the trade of Andrea Bargnani to the Knicks during the offseason, the Raptors will have cleared more than $20 million off their books for next season. Gay is second in scoring on the Raptors, averaging 19.4 points a game. However, he is shooting just 39 percent, which would be a career low. Acy and Gray are not rotation players in Toronto and have combined to score just 24 points this season. Vasquez has been the Kings’ starting point guard, but this move clears the way for successful backup Isaiah Thomas to move into that role. Salmons, Patterson and Hayes have mostly played as backups this season. Hayes is the only player with a guaranteed contract after this season.
This is an interesting trade for both teams, and I understand why each team made the deal, but it cones with questions for each team.
Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri did not want anything to do with Rudy Gay and his huge contract, he had made it known that the talented but grossly overpaid wing player was available, and he essentially shipped him out of town for nothing but expiring contracts. I am surprised that Ujiri did not get anything if value back for Gay, but I understand why he made the move, he wants to start from scratch and build around young center Jonas Valanciunas and whoever they select in the loaded 2014 NBA Draft. Officially expect the Raptors to tank to improve their draft position, I’m sure they would love to bring Canada native and Kansas freshman wing Andrew Wiggins back to Canada this spring.
The trade makes even less sense to me from the standpoint of the Sacramento Kings, they just traded for forward Derrick Williams, and it would be redundant to play the two at the same time. Rudy Gay is a more polished version of Williams, and I’m sure Williams’ minutes will decrease with the addition of Gay to the rotation, but I get why the Kings made this move. Gay gives the Kings an established scorer on the wing, and while he has not been playing well this season and is clearly overpaid, he should be a nice scoring option on a Kings offense that runs through talented but temperamental big man DeMarcus Cousins. The trade also got rid of several players who were basically just taking up space on the Kings bench and payroll, these players were unhappy, and it will allow the Kings to get more minutes to several of their young players.