It’s hard to figure out why the Toronto Raptors traded away their best player, Rudy Gay. The Raptors have struggled to find success as an NBA franchise, even when Chris Bosh was there, but after his departure they really hit rock bottom. Gay seemed like he could turn things around for Toronto as he has proven to be a scorer and can rebound the ball, but the two went their separate ways.
Toronto cited chemistry issues and below average production from Gay, but he is averaging 19 points and seven rebounds this season. I think the decision to trade Gay was based on salary cap space. According to HoopsHype.com, Toronto’s 2013-14 payroll is $70,914,043. The move will give the Raptors a payroll of $41,380,460 in 2014-15 and $13,250,000 the next year. Of course these numbers are based on contract options and qualifying offers, but it looks like Toronto is planning something big.
It only makes sense that Gay would be traded to free up cap space. Just look at what Toronto got from the Sacramento Kings: Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes. Besides Hayes, all of the contracts have options for next season. None of these individuals have the skill or stardom to build a team around, so Toronto must be throwing this season out the window and setting themselves up for the next two summers.
No one knows for sure what the Raptors are planning to do or who they are planning to sign, but this trade was a long-term move and may take a few seasons to reap the benefits. One thing is for sure; sending Gay to Sacramento was not about chemistry or production. It was about the salary cap and the future.