White Panther (fine…Aaron Gray)
Wondering what to think about this deal? Take it from someone who condemned Colangelo the second we acquired Gay (and took heat about it during Rudy’s mini hot streak following the deal), this is a good move for the franchise. While nothing surprises me when it comes to dealing with the ineptitude that is the Sacramento front office, the fact that the Kings were willing to go ahead and acquire Gay with the knowledge that he is likely to pick up his player option worth 19+ million dollars for next year is still shocking. Now, as for Raptor fans who may not recognize many of the names the Raptors will receive in return, I first ask you to exhale. The Rudy experiment is over, and hopefully we will never be asked to watch someone take so many ill-advised midrange jumpers again. Okay, aside from DeMar. Now, let’s go through the trade piece by piece to analyze the Raptors haul, and how this affects their direction.
John Salmons: Salmons is a microwave off the bench, albeit one who rarely turns on anymore. More importantly, he is due 7 million dollars next year, the final year of his contract, only ONE of which is guaranteed. The Raps can buy Salmons out for a million dollars after this year. John, I wouldn’t go ahead and buy a condo in Toronto…
Patrick Patterson: Patterson is still young, and has only this year remaining on his deal at 3 million dollars, before he sees Restricted Free Agency. Again, Patrick….you are not long for these shores. He’s a nice bench piece for the front court, although with Tyler and Amir on board already, Patrick should probably get a comfortable cushion for his bench chair.
Chuck Hayes: 6 million dollars left on his deal. Pretty much the LeBron James of the water cooler scene. Only one year left on his deal.
Greivis Vasquez: By far the most talented player of the bunch, Vasquez is a nice backup PG option who has a great assist/turnover ratio. Moreover, his rookie contract heads to Restricted Free Agency after this year at a little over 2 million dollars per year. He is a really nice trade chip, who comes at a low cost.
What does this mean for the Raptors:
Well, when looking at the haul Masai was content in receiving, this trade signifies Masai’s commitment to tanking (YES!) this year, and looking ahead to the draft. Most importantly, this trade (assuming Rudy picks up his absurd 19 million dollar option for next year) has the potential to save the Raptors roughly 11 million dollars next year in cap space, depending on how they use the players they recieved. This trade also hints at Masai’s next move, which revolves around the PG position. Having Vazquez and Lowry allows Ujiri to move one of the two trade chips, both of whom have some value around the league. Look for Lowry or Vazquez to be gone within the next month or so, as the team begins to spiral towards the coveted bottom of the standings. Also, look for DeMar to have more freedom within the offense, which has the potential to increase his trade value before the deadline. Unfortunately, this move will NOT fix Dwane Casey’s ineptitude, which should actually be cheered, as he helps steer us towards Andrew, Jabari, and Julius.
Folks, steady your hard-hats, this tank is about to roll.
(I’m hoping all my NBA contract research is correct, these things are actually quite complex).