Amid this latest trade for Rudy Gay, i wanted to elaborate on the situation for anyone who may not be fully aware of why this deal makes a ton of sense. I'm sure most do understand, but i'm sure there are some thinking, 'Gay is a chucker and we don't need him' but let me explain the different facets to this and how it benefits us:
1. Obtaining Gay was our best bet at picking up viable talent in wake of the 14' FA Class
This has been mentioned in one of the other threads. Outside of Lebron and Carmelo, both of which i believe will resign with their current teams, we have no realistic chance of signing any of the potential 'max' players that will be available. With that thought in mind, Petey D figured Gay is the best player we could obtain from a talent standpoint and at age 27, he still has a lot of tread on his tires. The other FAs of the upcoming summer outside of the big names are 'average' stars and probably wouldn't help us the way we'd like.
2. We got rid of MOST of our baggage!
I don't know about you guys, but Hayes and Salmons have been plaguing my enjoyment of our team these last few years. When we signed them i wasn't a fan of either, i gave them a chance and they stunk it up, and have continued to stink it up for a long while. Greivis Vasquez added firmly placed himself into this category as well after playing well in maybe 4 of his 18 starts. No thanks. Ppatt is a guy i was pulling for as he seems like a great guy and given his career shooting averages, i thought he would pull through and get out of his slump. This can still happen as we are barely 20 games into the season, and i know he is putting in the necessary work to contribute, but i guess this was just a casualty of war/business. Besides i'd rather he be the casualty than Isaiah. I say most because we still have Thornton, Thompson and Fredette but they will all be gone within the next season and a half so i can live with that.
3. Isaiah beats another 'Starting PG' to obtain his rightful position
First it was Aaron Brooks, then Grievis Vasquez. He had (in my opinion) great showings as our starting PG both season prior to obtaining these two, yet he was shunned to backup duty. In just 20 games, after grossly outperforming Vasquez, he takes the spot via trade which shows the front office's belief in him. I think that if Isaiah can continue to score efficiently, get to the free throw line, and set up his teammates, the FO will reward him with a contract. Good thing for us is that 5'9 PGs aren't in high demand and his market will presumably not be very high. (Think of JJ Barea and Nate Robinson). My gut tells me we are going after someone else in 2015 which ties into the other great benefits of this move.
4. Can Rudy Gay actually be the SF of our future?
For anyone that follow usage rates, Gay was at an absurd 30% usage rate with Toronto, on par with Kobe and Jordan when he clearly isn't that type of player. To put it into perspective, Demarcus is #1 in the league as far as usage is concerned at 32%. As a big man who gets the bulk of his shots around the rim on layups and hook shots, it makes sense for him to have a high usage rate since his shots will be a higher percentage. Isaiah Thomas is in the Top 10 as well at the 10th spot (I believe) as he has the ball in his hands a lot whether it be scoring or setting up the offense. Combining the 3 of them means all of their usages will go down naturally and probably increase their efficiency. Thomas has been incredibly efficient and Cousins has been pretty efficient, while Gay has been very inefficient. All of them on the floor at the same time will take the load off of one another and should lead to easier shots for each, which should in turn increase all of their percentages. Let's hope for the best as Gay is definitely Top 10 talentwise as far as SFs are concerned in the NBA today.
5. Gay got a bad rap because of his contract
Most of the animosity towards Rudy Gay is centered around his massive contract; while inefficient and viewed by many as a volume shooter and scorer, he is being paid as a bonafide number 1 player on a given team and as a top 5 player in the league. While this isn't true, it isn't because he isn't a talented player and hasn't proven anything. As a career 18 ppg, 6 rpg, 2 apg, 1.4 spg guy on 45% FG and 34% 3 PA, he has shown his scoring prowess, and has a multitude of game winners and big shots throughout his career. While i'm not a fan of his contract, his deal becomes an expiring one at the end of next season which is a HUGE trade chip before next season's deadline, or a HUGE cap space gainer come the summer of '15. There's also the sentiment that Malone coaches him up well enough to get him back to a 45% FG shooter, decreases his usage so that he isn't chucking up shots and is getting quality looks, so much to the point that we resign him. To this point, his agent doesn't have very much of an advantage from a negotiation standpoint and seemingly the entire league has it out for Gay. On a deal for 10-12 M a year, i'd gladly take him as our SF moving forward if he gets his crap together.
6. Free Agency of 2015
2015 has some very intriguing players who i think will help us in a humongous way. I think IT will have done enough to get his well deserved contract. As mentioned here on STR, if/when we trade JT, i think Isaiah will get a multiyear deal in the same ball park as what JT is getting so he will be locked up. With the signing of Vasquez in the summer and the seeming commitment to a pass first PG, i think we are secretly trying to assemble a team the Rajon Rondo would be a part of. I made a post about trading for him now, but after some convo back and forth, it makes sense to just try and sign him outright in 2015. This will allow IT to become a super sub once more with Rondo leading the team and setting up Cousins and the supporting cast with the easiest looks they'll have ever had. Not to take away from IT as most know im one of his biggest advocates, but Rondo gives us Championship experience and immediately makes the team better. I also feel that Isaiah would understand the situation and know that for us to make that quantum leap, that he would need to come off the bench if Rondo came over in FA. I could be wrong but i feel like IT is enough of a team player to accept this. Also an upcoming FA that year is Deandre Jordan, who in my opinion would be the PERFECT compliment to Cousins and would still be relatively young come 2015. I know the Clippers might look to bring him back, but he will be a UFA if i'm not mistaken. With Rondo, McLemore, Gay and Cousins, we would be a very attractive spot for FAs and i think we could make this happen. If Gay sticks around we'd probably have to go for a cheaper shot blocker, rebounder, defender etc. but if not, we will have a shit ton of money to spend as no one currently outside of JT and Cousins and a couple others are committed to after 2015.
So that pretty much wraps it up. Many comments i've seen on other sites such as RealGM just say that we are 'star struck' by Gay and we are still a terrible organization but that's the easy way for people to look at it. Like all successful small market teams, we have to start at the bottom and work our way to respectability, but everyone will see it in a few years including those of us with doubts. At the very least, our watchability just went through the roof and we will fill even more seats. We will probably destroy teams on some nights with our athleticism and lose a lot of close games as well as we try to put it all together. I'm down though and am thrilled with the movement and encouraged by our mentality. Next year we will literally have 2 guys making over 10M in a season; its been a long time since that happened. With all that said, please chime in on your thoughts and sentiments.