I don't have the money to pay for a Getty Images account. Your donation is welcome.
I strongly advise you to read the posts I've linked to above, but if you really can't be bothered, I'll recap my list of grievances.
Gay produces at a league-average rate. He is extremely pricey (19 million this season, player option for 19 million for the following season), and was probably paid on the basis of his semi-gaudy raw per-game stats. However, his raw numbers are likely inflated by the volume of his minutes played and usage rate, both of which are astronomical. The problem extends beyond his price (which is universally renounced as egregious); he's just not that good. He's league average.
If you get beyond his price and his production, he's still a bad fit for the current starting five. His talents overlap with Derozan's (his talents actually include all of Derozan's), and their collective lack of efficient outside shooting grinds the offense to a halt. Again, just read my posts; it details the problem much more thoroughly than I do here.
So there's a problem; Gay's not that good, and his talents don't mix with the rest of the staff. What should the Raptors do?
The obvious solution is to trade Gay and recoup some assets (soldiers of tank nation are totally on-board now). The question is, who would take Gay, and what could they offer?
GAUGING GAY'S TRADE VALUE
GAUGING GAY'S TRADE VALUE
Last season, Toronto acquired him and his bloated contract for an expiring veteran in Calderon, and a young promising big in Ed Davis. Given that Gay's performance didn't depreciate in Toronto (save for dip in shooting percentages, which might be rationalized by him adapting to a new offense/small sample size), and that his mammoth contract is shorter by the good grace of the linearity of time, his value should realistically be no lower than what the Raptors paid for him. Throw in the fact that he will likely opt out of his contract and elect for free-agency, the Raptors have a serious trade-chip on their roster.
There's just one problem; his huge price-tag makes it extremely difficult to move him. The Raptors would either have to receive a few large contracts in return on any Gay deal, or deal him to a team with a tonne of cap space. Ujiri and his staff certainly have their work cut out for them.
Don't worry UM; I've got you covered. Here's the perfect trade for you:
The trade breaks down as follows:
2014/2015 1st round pick (Milwaukee can choose)
WHY MILWAUKEE WILL DO THIS DEAL:
The Bucks are trying to make the playoffs. They signed OJ Mayo for 32 million over 4 years, and inked Zaza Pachulia to 20 million over 4 years (nothing eaaassyyy!). You don't make those moves if you have
common sense no playoff aspirations.
However, take a look at their current lineup:
Now, I don't know about you, but I'm not sure that's a guaranteed playoff team (even in the weakened Eastern conference). Unfortunately, they've locked this roster in (Delfino, Ilyasova, Mayo, Pachulia and Sanders are guaranteed for the next 3 seasons), so they've got to play the hand they've been dealt.
The obvious hole is at point guard, but which quality point guard is available? None, right? And if they were to deal for a floor general, it would cost them an arm-and-a-Henson. Look at what Jarrett Jack got just to back up Irving, or consider the price for the ridiculously inefficient Jrue Holliday. Nobody wants to trade away their point guards, and they cost a fortune to acquire.
The next obvious issue is that the starting lineup lacks any slashing. There's a wealth of outside shooting in Ridnour, Mayo and Ilyasova, but none of them drive. They also feature two promising young bigs in Henson and Sanders, but Henson's young and Sanders is hilariously inept on offense. They need someone to initiate the action and to shift the defense. There's a disconnect between the bigs and the wings, and nobody on the roster is capable of bridging the gap.
Enter Rudy Gay. He can handle the ball, and he can certainly slash. He will command the opposing team's best wing defender and attack the basket. With able floor-spacers around him in Mayo and Ridnour, he will be afforded the room to operate, especially from the wing. He can also run pick-and-roll with either big-man. He's also one of the league's best isolation players (29th), scoring 0.94 points per play on isolation.
It also gives Milwaukee the added benefit of salary relief. Ilyasova's contract isn't bad, but it's long (32 million over 4 years), and it handcuffs the Bucks from making any moves in the future. The Bucks will spend to content, but they are a small market team (last in NBA franchise value), and they can't afford to exceed the salary cap. Gay will likely opt-out, leaving ~12 million dollars in their pockets for next summer's spending spree.
WHY TORONTO WILL DO THIS DEAL:
First, Ilyasova has the edge on Rudy in all of the advanced metrics. Their head-to-head advanced numbers are shown below:
Ilyasova will instantly resolve the redundancy on the wings. Ilyasova is an excellent three-point shooter (45%, 44% in the last two seasons), and a great rebounder (18%, 14% TRB% in the last two seasons). He also uses less possessions (~20 vs ~29 for Gay), freeing up more possessions for Jonas Valanciunas. His shooting chart is below (NBA Stats):
In one fell swoop, he would instantly solve all the Raptor's problems. He provides great rebounding for a team that ranked 28th in rebounds per game last season. He will space the floor with his excellent three-point shooting. He frees up more possessions for our star rookie. He's also on a reasonable deal (it's long, but it's manageable).
In addition, the Raptors also score a pick, and an expiring in Udoh (who might turn out; you never know). Plus, the Raptors have previously shown interest in Ilyasova (granted, this was under Colangelo's regime).
The deal makes a lot of sense for both teams. The Bucks gain flexibility and a slasher from the wing who should help them make the playoffs. The Raptors get a floor-spacer who rebounds well, and a first rounder for their troubles. Dare I say; it's a win-win for both teams?
What do you think? Do you think acquiring a Turkish shooter to play small-forward for the Raptors is a good idea? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading.
Thanks to hoopdata, basketball reference, ESPN stats, stats for the NBA, the NBA geek and NBA stats for the numbers used in this post.