The Raptors, Grizzlies and Pistons pulled off the NBA's first major trade leading up to the Feb. 21 deadline. Rudy Gay is now a Raptor. Ed Davis, Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye are now Grizzlies. Jose Calderon is a Piston. So who won and who lost in the trade? The Five-Man Weave weighs in.
Which team got the best of the Rudy Gay trade?
Chisholm: Toronto got the best player in the deal, but Memphis may have balanced their roster better with the move. The trick is to see if Rudy Gay can meaningfully improve his play in Toronto and if Tayshaun Prince can adequately space the floor in Memphis before rendering a final verdict on winners and losers.
Strickland: Not sure. On pure financial implications, the Pistons & Grizzlies won hands down. But let's talk about The Now! One of the top teams in the league trades away its most dynamic player, if he was in actuality maybe the 4th or 5th best player on the team (shout out to the Mad Dog Tony Allen!), for parts & expiring contracts yet someone wins? Ok... New Grizzlies owner Robert Para wins and loses! How? The win is in making Bryan Colangelo take on Rudy Gay's horrid albatross of a contract the same year he re-upped his other "dynamic" wing in DeMar DeRozan, you know, the one who plays the same position as Gay. The loss? This "splashy" move by Colangelo keeps him in town longer, even if the move was like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic!
Watson: Memphis. Personnel notwithstanding, they didn't radically change the course of the franchise, which wasn't expected to contend for the title, but they didn't make the team any worse. More importantly, it gave them significant financial flexibility for a small market team.
Ward: Tough to say. Nobody got creamed in this deal and everyone got something. Toronto got the most talented player in the trade in Gay. Memphis got a talented young big man in Davis and freed themselves up financially. I think the Pistons got the best deal though. Their big men will benefit from Calderon's presence and they can make a legitimate run at the playoffs. Long term, they have the a ton of financial freedom to rebuild around their young talent.
Lewenberg: Toronto. More often than not the team that gets the best player wins the deal. It's as simple as that. The Raps are 1-18 in games where they've trailed by five or less in the final three minutes. Among other things, chalk that up to a lack of high-end talent. Say what you want about Gay's contract and recent statistical decline, he is 26-years-old and a significant upgrade that makes this team better where games are won or lost… on the court!
Was this a good trade for the Raptors?
Chisholm: Yes and no. Yes in that they didn't give up a ton of talent to import the their new best player, but no in that Gay is vastly overpaid and has created redundancies on the wing. Gay and Kyle Lowry now form the backbone of this Raptors squad and they'll both have to play better than they have this season for that to be a positive development for Toronto.
Strickland: No. Dwane Casey is losing sleep trying to decide who is trying to get him fired first: Bryan Colangelo or NBA refs who keep apologizing for late game non-calls in the Raptors favour. Both seem to sending the coach home with nothing more than apologies.
Watson: No. Toronto gave up Calderon and Davis, for someone who will eat up cap space and is not a game changer. Furthermore he brings redundant skills as opposed to complimentary, to the key players on the roster. Almost half the Raptors payroll this season, ($27.9 million) is invested in the small forward position, Gay, Alan Anderson, Mickael Pietrus, Linas Kleiza & Landry Fields. The cheapest contract among those (Anderson at $885,120) is arguably performing the best.
Ward: This trade was okay. Not great, not bad, just okay. On the positive side, Rudy Gay immediately becomes the Raptors best player and is a major upgrade in the talent department. Better talent is always a good thing. On the downside, Gay makes way too much money and the Raptors lost a very effective point guard in Calderon and a player who two years from now could be a star in Davis. There is also a logjam of players on the wings now.
Lewenberg: Pending subsequent moves to balance out the roster, I'll say yes. I've long questioned Rudy's fit with this team and alongside DeMar DeRozan, a similar albeit less talented player (see January 11th Weave). However, chemistry can be built, game-changing talent is hard to come by. Bryan Colangelo sold high on a couple of assets he could afford to move, buying low on a player that has the ability to exceed his current worth (in terms of production, not debating his salary). Asset management, when sought out wisely, can be a beautiful thing in this business.
Was this a good trade for the Grizzlies?
Chisholm: Yes and no. Gay was not scoring efficiently for the Grizzlies, but he demanded defensive attention. If Tayshaun Prince can keep defenders from sagging into the paint then this is a pretty strong trade for Memphis, especially with the Grizzlies getting one more cheap year out of Ed Davis' rookie-scale contract. If Prince cannot command defensive attention, though, life will be harder for Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Memphis' anemic defence.
Strickland: Yes. Despite Griz coach Lionel Hollins' misgivings about John Hollinger's Moneyball sabermetric-like approach to running the organization, something had to give. ZBo is the soul, Gasol the talent & Conley the leader. It was a numbers game to avoid serious luxury tax implications & owner Robert Para leads a savvy front office into Memphis' future without Rudy Gay.
Watson: Yes as mentioned above. The Grizzlies also get a better defensive small forward that shoots better from 3-point range. I'm sure Jerryd Bayless was happy Jose kept moving as he didn't want to have to back him up again.
Ward: Yes, a team like Memphis could afford to lose Gay, given the other talents they have. Prince should actually help the Grizzlies spread the floor better and Davis can provide solid rebounding and energy off the bench while learning from two very talented big men. Unloading Gay's monster contract also frees the Grizzlies up financially going forward.
Lewenberg: No. I understand the logic behind the salary dump but that doesn't mean I see the value in it. A team that's 14 games over .500 should be in the business of winning and improving the roster, not balancing their checkbook. Gay was the primary source of offence on a club that ranks 27th in scoring. They added some solid role players and a second-round pick to replace the solid role players and first-round pick that were sent to Cleveland two weeks ago. Explain that to your fans… and coach.
Was this a good trade for the Pistons?
Chisholm: Yes. Prince was not a part of their future and Daye has been a bust so far, so getting out from under those deals was a must. Calderon will be a great influence on this young team, as well, and if he can develop the kind of chemistry with Andre Drummond that he had with Amir Johnson, watch out!
Strickland: Yes. Joe Dumars can walk the streets of Detroit without fear of--WAIT! No one does that! At any rate, Dumars' newfound cap flexibility gives Detroit room in the chase for 2013 free agents to run with Brandon Knight, Greg Monroe and The Beast That Can Be Andre Drummond. Rent-A-Calderon will help Knight and the Pistons locker room. I have never been the biggest advocate of Jose Manuel, but I wish him well for always staying classy and being a true professional.
Watson: Yes. Greg Monroe stops being the Pistons best passer and players like himself, Kyle Singler and particularly Andre Drummond will benefit from Calderon's sharing-is-caring mentality. Joe Dumars is a bad guy for trading Prince who could have left this offseason, but wanted to stay in Detroit out of loyalty, but the idea of freeing up all that potential cap space was clearly too great to resist.
Ward: Yes. Short term, Calderon is a huge upgrade in the passing department and will fit in very nicely with the Pistons talented young bigs. Andre Drummond should be thrilled. In the longer term they get Jose's expiring contract and unload Prince's deal that still had three years left on it. This will give them a ton of cap space and allow them to be major players in free agency.
Lewenberg: Yes, but only because they've replaced Tayshaun Prince's contract (that runs through 2014-15) with Jose Calderon's expiring deal. Calderon will form a defensively inept backcourt with sophomore Brandon Knight while bringing stability and leadership for however long he's in Detroit. His true value will come from the lasting impact he's sure to make on the young, dynamic frontcourt duo of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.
What should Bryan Colangelo's next move be?
Chisholm: He needs a real backup point guard badly. John Lucas has not panned out this season and Lowry is too great an injury risk right now to leave him unprotected. After that, the team HAS to sever ties with Andrea Bargnani. The club is moving in a different direction and he in no way should be a part of that future.
Strickland: Move... Away... Far, Far Away...
Watson: Trade Andrea Bargnani and bring in a backup point guard. Then invest in some shamrocks, horseshoes and rabbits feet - to fuel his hopes that Kyle Lowry returns to the player that started the season, Jonas Valaciunas comes back from injury and picks up where he left off, and Terrence Ross keeps on an accelerated growth.
Ward: Take whatever he can get for Bargnani and close the book on that chapter of Raptors history.
Lewenberg: Seeing as he's declared Bargnani hunting season open to the public, it would seem the Primo donna may be the next to go. Alas, BC won't be rushed into a Bargnani deal and if the market for an injured, underachieving enigma isn't as plentiful as you would imagine, it might make sense to hold off until the summer. With only two point guards on the roster, Colangelo is likely to waive the newly acquired Hamed Haddadi to acquire a third ball-handler via trade or free agency.
The Five-Man Weave is made up of TSN.ca Raptors blogger Tim Chisholm ( @timpchisholm), TSN Radio 1050 Raptors reporter Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050), Duane Watson (@sweetswatson) and Will Strickland (@WallStrizzle1) from TSN Radio 1050's 1-on-1 with Will and Duane, and TSN.ca NBA Editor Mitch Ward (@jmitchw).