The Raptors' subsequent success and emergence as a playoff team have inclined the franchise's star to believe the move was a good one for both sides.
According to The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn, DeMar DeRozan has seen the benefits of trading someone with whom he's actually quite close:
The move was a good situation for both of us. We always hate to see our close friends get traded. I think he’s definitely going to help the Sacramento Kings out a lot, and we’re moving in the right direction, as well. I think it was a win-win situation. You can’t dwell on it too much. I know he’s happy to be in a new situation and get his career restarted. I’m happy for him.
For his part, Gay has played brilliantly with the Kings. He's averaging over 20 points per contest in Sacramento and shooting a career-best 49 percent from the field. That hardly sounds like the kind of production a team like Toronto would want to trade away, but the real impetus for the deal was putting DeRozan in a position to succeed.
Without Gay around, the Raptors have been more inclined to put the ball in DeRozan's hands on the perimeter, allowing the athletic slasher to create and find his shots without having to worry about deferring to a more experienced and established cohort.
The move has also created opportunities for second-year guard Terrence Ross, who's blossomed this season to the tune of 11 points per game and a 40-percent success rate from beyond the arc.
To be sure, this isn't the first endorsement of the trade that sent Gay packing. Sports Illustrated's Ben Golliver gave the Raptors an 'A' for the deal, albeit largely for salary-cap reasons:
[General manager Masai Ujiri] opened up $13 million of cap space and flexibility next summer if Gay picks up his option and all of the incoming pieces, save Hayes, are allowed to move on. Perhaps more important, he erased former executive Bryan Colangelo’s last disastrous act of desperation, thereby giving Raptors fans a little hope that he will spend a bit more wisely than his predecessor.
Fewer could have foreseen how well Toronto would play in the wake of this deal. Even if you liked it from an organizational standpoint, it remained to be seen how the Raptors would then gel.
That question has been resolutely answered with the Raptors rocketing to third place in the Eastern Conference and proving that less is indeed sometimes more.
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