The Toronto Raptors made an aggressive, and risky, move to acquire an athletic wingman, giving up a point guard with an expiring contract and a promising young big man in the process.
Numbers Game looks at the deals made between Toronto, Memphis and Detroit.
The Raptors Get: SF Rudy Gay and C Hamed Haddadi.
Gay, 26, is a wing player that has teased with his athletic ability, enough to get paid like a star, but is currently in the midst of his worst season since his rookie year in terms of efficiency. His Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 14.39 is his lowest since 2006-2007, thanks to shooting a career-low 40.8% from the field.
Averaging 17.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game, with 0.7 blocks and 1.3 steals per game, Gay is a fine NBA small forward, but those numbers don't suggest a star, especially when considering that he takes 16.4 field goal attempts per game.
How that fits into the Raptors' rotation will be interesting to watch. Injured PF Andrea Bargnani (who GM Byran Colangelo is apparently shopping) takes a team-high 15.2 shots per game, followed by swingmen DeMar DeRozan (14.9) and Alan Anderson (11.1). Someone is going to lose looks because the Raptors are sending 16.3 attempts per game out with the trade, except that that total covers two spots in the rotation. The most likely scenario is that DeRozan moves to shooting guard and Anderson comes off the bench.
If Gay and DeRozan are going to be the starting wings and Anderson is coming off the bench, that doesn't necessarily leave a lot of minutes for rookie Terrence Ross or Landry Fields, unless there are more moves coming. Perhaps one of those others moves will net the Raptors a backup point guard because there isn't a lot of depth behind Lowry, with John Lucas III really the only one capable of handling the point, but he's a better number three option at the point.
Gay and Raptors PG Kyle Lowry were rookies together with the Grizzlies in 2006-2007, until Lowry was traded to Houston in 2008-2009, so there is familiarity there that the Raptors will have to rely on so that nebulous chemistry could make the acquisition better than the mere sum of the parts involved.
Earning $16.46-million this season, Gay has two years and more than $37-million remaining on his contract after this year; a monstrous financial commitment (potentially putting the Raptors over the luxury tax threshold) for a player who qualifies as an above-average small forward but, particularly with this year's declining production, isn't knocking on the door of stardom.
Haddadi is a 27-year-old, 7-foot-2 centre who hasn't played more than 36 games or seven minutes per game in an NBA season. He's expected to be waived.
The Grizzlies Get: SF Tayshaun Prince, PF Ed Davis, SF Austin Daye and a second-round pick (from Toronto).
Prince, a 32-year-old small forward has made his bones as a defender and remains effective at that end of the floor. He's averaging 11.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, with 0.5 steals and 0.3 blocks per game. Prince doesn't shoot a lot of threes, but is hitting a career-best 43.4% from beyond the arc this season and could thrive somewhat in that role with Memphis, since the Grizzlies have such a strong presence inside with C Marc Gasol and PF Zach Randolph.
With Gay departing from Memphis, there should be more touches available for Gasol and Randolph, both of whom are significantly more efficient offensively. Randolph, in particular, would figure to get more shots, since he's taking 13.6 per game this year, but averaged more than 16 per game in his first two years with the Grizzlies.
Prince is making a relatively modest $6.75-million this season and has two years at just under $15-million remaining on his deal. As a complementary player, particularly one with championship pedigree, Prince appears to be a nice fit for the Grizzlies.
A player that the Raptors could regret dealing, Ed Davis is a 23-year-old power forward/centre who had made significant progress in his third NBA season, averaging 9.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game on 54.9% shooting overall but, as a starter with Bargnani out, Davis has put up 12.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game, shooting 55.7% from the field.
Davis' minutes will be cut back with Gasol and Randolph starting in Memphis, but he's poised to be the first big off the bench.
On his entry-level deal, Davis is making just over $2.2-million this season and will make $3.15-million next season, after which Davis would be a restricted free agent if he receives a $4.36-million qualifying offer. All in all, if Davis gives the Grizzlies 24 minutes a night off the bench, between the four and the five, he's a veritable bargain.
If it turns out that Davis is worthy of a starting role by then, all the better for Memphis.
Daye, 24, is a long (6-foot-11) and lean (200 pounds) wing who can be a useful shooter off the bench. Daye is averaging 5.1 points, 2.2 rebounds and 0.9 assists per game, with 0.3 blocks and 0.2 steals, but what really stands out is his 52.5% on three-point attempts this season.
Considering the Grizzlies decimated their bench in last week's trade with Cleveland, adding Daye and Davis is a major upgrade to the second string.
Daye makes just under $2.96-million this season and will be a restricted free agent if he receives a qualifying offer of nearly $4.14-million.
The Pistons Get: PG Jose Calderon.
Calderon is a 31-year-old distributor who struggles at the defensive end, but has been a net positive throughout his career for the Raptors and this season has been no different. In fact, Calderon's PER of 19.37 is the second-highest of his career (his best was 20.77 in 2007-2008) as he's done so many things well. In 28 minutes a night, Calderon has averaged 11.1 points, 7.4 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 0.6 steals, but his shooting has been top notch -- 47.0% from the field, 90.4% from the line and 42.9% on threes.
In Detroit, Calderon will be a significant upgrade at the point, which can allow second-year guard Brandon Knight to play shooting guard and leave Rodney Stuckey to come off the bench. Kyle Singler figures to get the majority of small forward minutes created by Prince's departure.
While Calderon helps the Pistons in the short term, his value lies in the fact that the $10.56-million he's making this season is on an expiring contract, which will allow the Pistons to create maximum room under the cap in 2013-2014, when they have committed about $35-millon to salaries under a cap that could be in the neighbourhood of $69-million, leaving a lot of room for future roster improvement.
The upshot of the deal for the Pistons is that it was a low-risk move, giving up replaceable parts like Prince and Daye to get an expiring contract of a player that can help in the short term.
For the Grizzlies, they not only improved their bench and, likely, re-distributed their shots offensively, but they managed to improve their depth and got out from under a weighty contract.
That leaves Toronto, hoping that the light goes on for Rudy Gay in his new locale, because the only way to justify the money they're paying him -- to say nothing of the assets surrendered -- is for Gay to be the driving force that leads the Raptors to a playoff berth, soon. Otherwise, the loss of financial flexibility can't be justified for a player whose value is declining because it's becoming increasingly evident that he's not going to be anything more than a pretty good starting small forward.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.