Toronto Raptors Have Strategy Decisions to Make Following Trade, Perhaps More to Come

By Craig Ballard
John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE

The Toronto Raptors have made a massive move with the Rudy Gay trade, and I have to think that there is more to come from Bryan Colangelo. Coach Dwane Casey was going to have to make adjustments anyway as Andrea Bargnani is about to return (Raps 12-12 since Bargs went out with an elbow issue) but this trade with the former Vancouver Grizzlies will force several changes immediately, plus I think there are still more player personnel changes coming.

In Gay the Raps acquire a guy who is surely their best small forward since Vince Carter, but some Raps fans are down on the trade as he makes a ton of money and is really struggling this season. The 6’8″ seventh year player is very athletic and he is a guy that can beat you off the dribble, plus he can operate in the post, but I can understand some people’s trepidation about him. I think that Gay is a very good player who does need to elevate his play to reach his potential (especially long-range shooting), but currently he is a mega-volume shooter who is missing the vast majority of shots he is chucking. Guys like DeMar DeRozan and Bargnani already play that (unhelpful) role so things in the short-term have potential to get really bogged down on offense. We may see a situation develop where the Raps only win games in which they shoot at a massively high percentage as they have several one-and-done players on offense who are going to look to get their shot off as soon as they feel the leather of the ball. Ed Davis is gone, and Jonas Valanciunas is not there currently so the only offensive rebounder that can clean up any misses is Amir Johnson.

There is a ton of money allocated on the wing to guys like Landry Fields, DeRozan, and now Gay, plus the Raps have a long-term commitment to Terrence Ross so I have to figure that Alan Anderson is the odd man out as he is an impending free-agent. The thing is, Casey seems to like Anderson so I am very interested to see the rotation that Casey comes up with. Mid-30 minutes for Gay and DeRozan, then what? Plus can these two be effective on the court at the same time? It will be interesting to watch going forward.

As per Colangelo the Raps have already cleared the idea of a trade with Bargnani and I have to think that is the sort of smoke which leads to fire. Why clear the idea of a trade with Bargs unless you were going to actively/aggressively pursue a deal so I think the question becomes what sort of return asset(s) can the seventh year seven footer fetch in return?

I suppose we could see a DeRozan trade, but A) are teams going to give up legit assets to acquire that contract and B) I still think that despite potentially selling low it is Bargnani who is the ineffective volume shooter that looks like he will be moved. I am in the minority as I like Bargnani, but I surely understand Raptors fans being underwhelmed overall with the big fella. It is very likely that the Raps will lose their 2013 first round draft pick (as part of the Kyle Lowry trade), plus they sent their 2013 second rounder to the Memphis Grizzlies in the Gay trade so I would think Colangelo will feel the need to get draft picks back in any transaction.

I think I am higher on the Gay trade than some, but surely there is another move(s) that needs to happen to further shape this roster and hopefully help provide an identity/direction for Canada’s team going forward.

Craig Ballard is a NFL/NBA/MLB writer for Follow  him on Twitter @craigballard77 

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