Rudy Gay

Report: Raptors have talked about trading Rudy Gay, being patient


When the Toronto Raptors traded for Rudy Gay last year, some saw it as a bold and smart move for a franchise that needs a star. Others saw it as the last desperate gasp of Bryan Colangelo.

What we know is it wasn’t Masai Ujiri ‘s move, and he is the current general manager of the Raptors.

In a fantastic story on Ujiri in the National Post that looks at where he came from and how that and his basketball background influence where he might take the Raptors (you should read the entire thing), comes the tidbit Ujiri may move Gay

Sources say he has talked about moving Rudy Gay, but he has been patient. He dealt Andrea Bargnani, built a bench that may double as a self-destruct button, and prepared.

Gay will make $17.8 million this season and has a player option for next season ($19.3 million) — at age 27 he is expected to opt out, become a free agent and seek the security of a longer deal. The Raptors can offer five years, other teams four.

It’s unlikely the Raptors will offer anything near that high, and if Ujiri doesn’t want him or if he doesn’t think he can keep him, he may have to pull the trigger.

The other part of that equation is how the Raptors fair to start the season — the dynamic is different if they are in a playoff position or close to one than it does if the team is out of it and it’s time to go for lottery Ping-Pong balls.

How you feel about Gay likely says a lot about how you feel about the advanced stats movement in basketball. He is kind of the fault line. Gay’s fans will talk about the athletic guy who can create his own shot, make plays for others and has a career 18 points a game average. His detractors don’t think he’s terrible, they think he’s above average but a volume scorer — he’s averaged 15.3 shots a game to get those 18 points — who is not efficient.

Ujiri isn’t from the Daryl Morey school, but he does listen to his stats guys and he isn’t afraid to trade big names.

I have a feeling either Gay or DeMar DeRozan will get moved this season, just something for you to keep an eye on.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.