There’s too much Rudy Gay talk swirling (and have to get ready for my flight to Atlanta) to spend too much time hashing over this game.
- The Raptors were undermanned and tired, facing a solid (as in would be easily top 4 in East) team that was energized by the return of its second-best player (when healthy), Andrew Bogut. Still, as is usually the case, the team gave a good effort, was in it at the half behind unexpected contributions from Aaron Gray (this game goes up there with his monster near 20-20 effort as a Bull against the Raptors and his fine playoff game for New Orleans against the Lakers as his finest NBA moments).
- The Raptors ran out of gas after surprisingly mounting a comeback from double-digits. Many teams would have packed it in after going down by 10, considering, there was no Kyle Lowry and a lot of tired and flu-ridden guys on the court.
- I like this Warriors squad, assuming the nearly impossible can happen and they can stay healthy. Stephen Curry remains a fantastic player and seems to be improving, not crazy, considering how young he is. Bogut is a force at both ends when healthy and beside David Lee, gives the Warriors a ridiculous rebounding front court. He’ll make up for a lot of Lee’s defensive failings as well. Klay Thompson can fill it up and Harrison Barnes has a ton of talent. And a ton of athleticism, as his dunk over Gray illustrated.
- DeMar DeRozan had 9 assists. He’s been piling them up of late and that’s a good sign. It shows he’s making better decisions and is reading the game well. Opponents are swarming him because without Andrea Bargnani and Lowry, there aren’t many offensive threats around him.
- The Rudy Gay talk has picked up again. Even though Memphis got under the luxury tax by dumping players last week, the team still isn’t sold on Gay at his contract number. And they’re probably right, Gay isn’t worth $17 million or so a season. But once you’re as good as that team is, you should keep the core together. Gay’s still a very good player, even if he’s having a bad season.
The Raptors would have to surrender Ed Davis and Jose Calderon in a deal. Despite the leaks, it’s highly unlikely they’d have interest in Darrell Arthur. A straight 2-for-1 is most likely, though that could change. The trade isn’t happening for sure, but there’s a good chance it does, according to sources. Re: Gay’s big deal. I’d much rather overpay for above-average talent than for a bunch of bench performers (ie. Kleiza, Fields, Kapono, etc.)
I’ll have a lot of thoughts if it comes to pass, but in general, I’d be OK with it, even though I like Davis a lot as a player and as a person. The Raptors aren’t really going anywhere as is. Either way they’re going to lack high-end talent, the talent needed to win. Using Davis and Calderon’s expiring deal to get a solid player (not elite, but high-end non-all-star esque, like Lowry) would be a step in the right direction if a full tank isn’t happening (and it isn’t).
Lowry and Gay would both play better together. They are close, and both are being underutilized. Anybody that reads me knows I prefer Lowry as a building block to Calderon for many reasons. Davis still has more upside, but he’s always going to be thin. As effective as he is at finishing at running, the floor and at rebounding, he’s always going to give a lot back on defence against large big men, because he just isn’t physically equipped to stop them. If you stand pat and lose Calderon for nothing, where do you go from there? You’re still going to be an 7-10th place team in the East forever with no hope of bringing in top talent (too good to get a high draft choice unless you miss playoffs and win lottery, too bad to do damage, not a free agent destination).
There would be many repercussions to a deal. Many is probably understating it. Future deals would have to happen. Andrea Bargnani is gone as soon as he reestablishes value. Gay and DeMar DeRozan will never work because they are too similar and share many of the same weaknesses so DeRozan would likely be moved down the line, allowing Terrence Ross to step in.
There are many more off-court dominos that I won’t get into today. It’s all very interesting and intriguing stuff.