It’s a strange world when the best player on a basketball team has his name swirling around in trade rumors. That is the situation with Toronto Raptors‘ Rudy Gay currently. After his mid-year switch north of the border last season, Gay has established himself as the team’s leading scorer and go-to-guy down the stretch. So why on earth is he being talked about in the NBA rumor mill?
$17.89 million. That astronomical figure represents what the Raptors will pay Gay this season. That’s more than what Russell Westbrook will get this year, ditto Derrick Rose; heck, it’s more than what Kevin Durant will be paid. If Gay does not perform to the value of his contract, he’s out.
As cruel as it sounds, Raptors GM Masai Ujiri must think of the future, and that future does not involve tying up exorbitant amounts to underperforming players. If Gay and the Raptors do not have a strong start to the season, it could all be over as soon as Christmas. Coach Dwayne Casey is already on a short leash as it is, and a poor start to the schedule could result in his departure.
With Casey gone and Gay on the block, the Raptors would find themselves in limbo. Caught in between a playoff chase and another rebuilding phase, who would be next in the hot seat — Demar DeRozan?
He himself was given a substantial contract in hope that he would reach his full potential. Perhaps it is down to the recklessness and selfishness of former GM Bryan Colangelo. Where has the city of Toronto seen a similar character to Colangelo before?
Yes that’s right, J.P. Ricciardi. The former Toronto Blue Jays GM earned a reputation for carelessly handing out huge contracts to overachieving players that quickly became underachieving. Vernon Wells anybody?
2013-14 will be a critical year for many Raptors employees. If the Raptors have a poor start to the season, Gay must be at least be putting up All-Star caliber numbers, if anything else.