Winners and Losers of Rudy Gay to Toronto Raptors Trade

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2013

Winners and Losers of Rudy Gay to Toronto Raptors Trade

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    The Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to send Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Ed Davis and Jose Calderon. Memphis also roped the Detroit Pistons into the deal, as they will send Calderon to Detroit for Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye.

    Pistons sending Tayshaun Prince onto Memphis for Jose Calderon to complete 3-way deal with Toronto, sources tell Y!

    — Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 30, 2013

    Austin Daye will go to Memphis as part of package with Prince, sources tell Y! Sports. No draft picks.

    — Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 30, 2013


    Memphis has been trying to move either Gay, their leading scorer, or Zach Randolph in order to both save money (to avoid the impending luxury tax) and iron out their focus on offense.

    Toronto is using the trade to get a player who is of near-top-tier talent, while Detroit is looking to find some direction to their offense.

    It looks as if the Grizzlies will now focus their offense through the post with Randolph as the focal point, but we'll find that out as the days turn into weeks.

    For now, all we can do is speculate about who this works out best for, and which team got the better end of the deal. That is to say, who won and who lost?

Winner: Robert Pera and Memphis' Flexibility

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    Rather than paying Rudy Gay $54 million over the course of the next three seasons, the Grizzlies are now on the hook for just over $7 million of Tayshaun Prince's deal in each of the next two seasons, the remainder of Austin Daye's $3 million this year and $4 million of a qualifying offer should they want to re-sign him next season, plus a measly $3 million for Ed Davis next season.

    It also saves Grizzlies owner Robert Pera from having to dole out millions in luxury tax money over the course of the next three seasons.

    Rudy Gay trade saves Memphis $5.8M this season and $26.4M over three years -- actually, a multiple of that figure given luxury tax.

    — Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) January 30, 2013

    Grizzlies now $8M under tax, leaving room to take on short-term salary in other deals. Total savings in two trades: $37.2M over three years.

    — Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) January 30, 2013


    Memphis may have lost their leading scorer, but they have the ability to make even more moves building from this trade.

    They now have some very tradeable contracts with Prince, Daye and Davis should they decline to keep the guys on board, or they could build into an even bigger trade, potentially moving Zach Randolph and building around Marc Gasol.

    Nothing is on the table at this point, as the Grizzlies are likely done for the time being, but next season could turn out to be extremely intriguing for the franchise.

Winners: The Grizzlies Frontcourt

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    The Memphis Grizzlies have built themselves to be a solid defensive team, and their new acquisitions can only help in that regard.

    Obviously, Ed Davis is going to come off the bench for the Grizz, alongside equally solid defender Darrell Arthur, so his impact is going to continue to be as limited as it was coming off the bench behind Andrea Bargnani.

    However, the Grizzlies effectively upgraded from Hamed Haddadi and Marreese Speights to Ed Davis over the past week, and that's a pretty damn fine upgrade.

    Meanwhile, they also add a solid veteran in Tayshaun Prince, who is not only a good shooter, but a smart, long defender who hasn't fallen off nearly as much as it seems he should have over the years.

    Austin Daye is a work in progress, but he's long-armed and quick, so he could turn into something of a steal with a bit of toughening up in Memphis.

Winner: Tayshaun Prince

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    Tayshaun Prince has spent his entire career with the Detroit Pistons, and it makes sense that he would have little bad to say about the organization.

    He was always respected, and he won an NBA Championship with the organization back in 2004.

    Even though the team fell apart quickly after their attempted "rebuild" with Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon, he was one of the focal points of an otherwise depressing franchise.

    Here he stands, as a 32-year-old veteran who still has some game left in his body, ready to contribute to a playoff team in the Western Conference.

    They may not be on their way to a championship, but at least we get to see him play in some meaningful games for the first time since 2009.

    What's even better, he's got Austin Daye backing him up with Tony Allen and Quincy Pondexter capable of playing the small forward spot, so there isn't going to be a ton of pressure on him to start scoring 20 points a game.

Winners: The Eastern Conference Playoff Race

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    This trade effectively made the 10th- and 11th-best teams in the Eastern Conference good enough to make a playoff run seem possible, while the eighth-seeded Boston Celtics just lost their star player for the season and the Philadelphia 76ers, at No. 9, are constantly up-and-down and still waiting for the debut of Andrew Bynum.

    Needless to say, the slightest improvement from either team could lead to a bit of a race. Last season, the ninth- and 10th-place teams in the East were four and 10 games back of eighth place, respectively. 

    Over the last five seasons, the 10th-place team has been at least three games behind the eighth seed, and usually closer to seven or eight games back.

    The trade should make for a nice little run down the stretch, and hopefully a few meaningful games from these teams late in April.

Losers: Toronto's Flexibility

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    I wouldn't say this is a move by the Toronto Raptors that puts all their chips out onto the table, but it's definitely one that ties them up money-wise for the time being.

    However, with the long and troubled history Toronto has had in being able to lure free agents to Canada (Anthony Parker is likely their best pickup since 2006), it makes sense to go after a player of Gay's caliber via trade.

    Gay will put their payroll well over $70 million next season, which will mean luxury tax payments unless the likes of Andrea Bargnani and a few other fellows are moved.

    The Raptors will now have to find a way to do some fancy finagling with a trade here and there, and hope for improvement from young players and some solid future drafts in order to work their way up the ladder.

Losers: Oklahoma City Thunder

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    When the Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets for Kevin Martin, it netted them what looked like two solid young players and a draft pick that was going to land somewhere in the middle of the lottery this summer.

    That pick, of course, is the Toronto Raptors' first-round pick this year (top-three protected) that was sent to the Houston Rockets for Kyle Lowry.

    At one point that pick looked to be a slam dunk for a grab at seven or eight in the draft. Now, 13th or 14th seems a lot more likely, and there's even the possibility that the Raptors sneak their way into the playoffs if everything goes well.

    It's not clear yet whether the Thunder were looking to trade the pick for a solid player near the trade deadline, or if they were going to use it themselves, but it definitely got a lot less valuable after this latest trade.

Losers: Pistons Point Guards

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    The move for the Detroit Pistons says one thing (and dynamically): they want to run an actual offense.

    What Lawrence Frank has been running for the past two seasons is nothing like what he used to run with Jason Kidd at the point in New Jersey, but now he's got a point guard who can actually take control of an offense.

    Detroit's plan over the course of the first half of the season has been to either find an open shot and take it; let Brandon Knight or Rodney Stuckey try to penetrate; and then, if that's not working, dump it down into the post and let Greg Monroe try to score.

    Needless to say, their offense has fallen into the bottom-third in the league in terms of efficiency.

    Calderon gives them a high-assist, low-turnover point guard who is capable of working with spare parts and actually making it look like they're running an offense, just like he's done with the Toronto Raptors for a few years now.

    He's a terrible defender, but as long as he can help this offense click, he should end up rolling his way into the starting point guard spot (unless he's just there to cut cap space this summer).

Losers: Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers

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    The race for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference was presumed to be a two-team race between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers. As mentioned earlier, however, things no longer appear so clear-cut.

    Toronto finally has a go-to scorer and a wing player who can both penetrate and shoot, which should make DeMar DeRozan all the more dangerous as a complementary slasher.

    Couple that with the fact that Detroit may now be able to run an offense with some form of competency, and suddenly two teams who looked to be fighting for air in the race have each found an oxygen tank.

    The Celtics own a three-game lead over the 76ers, but the Pistons loom just 4.5 games back, and the Raptors just 5.5 back.