Rudy Gay: Toronto Raptors Sacrificed Long-Term Success by Acquiring Forward

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2013

February 6, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Raptors forward Rudy Gay (22) goes to pass the ball against the Boston Celtics during the first half at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

By trading Rudy Gay, the Toronto Raptors chose to put a Band-Aid on a problem that requires major surgery.

So far, the results have been rather promising. Gay has scored a total of 74 points in the three games he's played as a Raptor, with Toronto picking up a victory over the Chris Paul-less Los Angeles Clippers.

It's still way too early to determine how successful Gay by himself will be in Toronto.

What does look to be the case, though, is that general manager Bryan Colangelo has no idea how to build a basketball team.

With Colangelo's contract expiring at the end of the season, he looks to have been trying to make the kind of move that would save his job, or at the very least, look good on his resume as he searches for a new job in the offseason.

Trading for Gay is just one of several rather odd moves made by Toronto.

First there was the five-year, $53 million contract to Hedo Turkoglu. He was a disaster and gone a year after signing the contract.

That same summer, Colangelo inked Andrea Bargnani to a five-year, $50 million extension. Despite playing well last year, Bargnani has failed to live up to being a No. 1 overall draft pick.

If that summer wasn't bad enough, Colangelo one-upped himself this year. He signed Landry Fields to a three-year, $18.75 million contract.

Then came the cherry on top in the form of a four-year, $40 million extension given to DeMar DeRozan at the beginning of the season. DeRozan isn't a bad player and could play a big role in the team's future.

What was particularly quizzical about the move was that no one was really bidding against the Raptors, and they could have waited until after the season and probably signed him for less.

And now comes the trade for Gay.

In terms of the trade, the Raptors can certainly be considered the winners of the trade with the Memphis Grizzlies. They got the best player in the deal; hence, they won the trade.

But where does Toronto go from here? The Raptors are 17-32 on the season and aren't a demonstrably better team with Gay. They could maybe earn a playoff spot, but it's not as if they have the capability to make a deep run.

DeRozan and Gay might be able to work, but regardless, Colangelo has so much money tied up in wing players when you throw Fields in as well.

In the process, he was willing to part with Ed Davis. While Davis might not become an elite power forward, he's only 23 years old and could very well become a dependable player for the Raptors down the line.

Gay would be a great addition had Colangelo built a solid core of young players. He could have given Toronto the push necessary to become a real threat in the Eastern Conference.

Instead, Gay joins a bunch of overpaid, average players who won't get the Raptors any further than the first round of the playoffs.

Rather than trying to blow the team up and start anew, Colangelo is perfectly happy to have this team limp along in the present with no view to the long term.