The Memphis Grizzles, Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons made a three-team deal that will send Rudy Gay and Hamed Haddadi to Toronto, Ed Davis, Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye and a second round draft pick (from Toronto) to Memphis and Jose Calderon to Detroit. This is a pretty massive shakeup with pretty massive implications. Questions? Answers. Featuring Noam Schiller, Sean Highkin, Brian Schroeder, Amin Vafa, Kyle Soppe, Derek James, and myself.
1. What do you think about this deal for the Grizzlies? Did they give up their last shot at a playoff run for salary cap reasons, or can they still make a go of it with the pieces they picked up?
Jared Dubin: If they were resigned to dealing Gay during the season, which it appears they were, this is a really nice deal. They save a boatload of money (somewhere around $25-30 million over the next two and a half seasons), which allows them to keep their Conley-Randolph-Gasol core together for a few more playoff runs. They pick up a nice piece for the future in Ed Davis, who can really learn a lot from both Randolph and Gasol while giving them solid minutes in the front court. And they replace Gay with a better defender in Prince (who should fit right into Memphis’ grit n’ grind ethos), who can also shoot and create a little bit. Add in a flyer on Austin Daye and a second rounder, and I think it’s a pretty clear win.
That said, they’re breaking up the chemistry of one of the most fun, tight-knit teams in the league. Rudy may not be a perfect player, but he was a big part of The Grindhouse for the last few years. You can see just in the way Tony Allen and Conley reacted to the deal on Twitter; they’re not happy he’s leaving. In dealing Gay, Memphis also really only has one off the dribble creator left on the roster now (Conley), and that’s a problem for a team that already has trouble scoring. More than ever, they’ll be depending on Gasol and Randolph in the post and Conley’s play in pick-and-rolls.
It’s a potentially delicate situation, but they’re still going to defend at an elite level, and if Prince, along with more minutes for Quincy Pondexter, Jerryd Bayless and Tony Wroten open up the floor a bit, they’ll be fine. They got good value here.
Noam Schiller: My biggest concern is that the 2010-2013 Grizzlies as we knew them were more dependent on chemistry since, oddly, Prince’s 2004 Championship Pistons, and messing with that could be a messy thing. However… Tayshaun Prince gives them a desperately needed long range shooter who can sop minutes at the 3 without compromising the defense, Ed Davis is a nice young big who will give them depth right away and might blossom into something more, and Austin Daye will either provide gravy by making threes or leave at the end of the year. I think this solidifies Memphis as the 4th best team in the West, glancing upwards.
Sean Highkin: I would have preferred it if the Grizzlies had waited to move Gay until this offseason, but if they were dead set on doing it now, I like this deal a lot. Prince is clearly worse than Gay, but he’s still a solid defender and it’s a good fit culturally. Plus, they got a nice young piece in Ed Davis, who will help make Zach Randolph more expendable whenever the time comes to trade him.
Brian Schroeder: I like this deal for the Grizzlies, but I don’t love it. I don’t think anyone really thought they’d be challenging for a title with Rudy Gay, but I’m not sure what they got in return is an improvement. Austin Daye might be able to help, considering he’s not playing like one of the worst players in the NBA this season.
Amin Vafa: HOW COULD YOU EVER TRADE HADDADI?
Kyle Soppe: The Grizzles aren’t as talented after the trade, but they are still a contender thanks to their front line. Swapping Prince for Gay will hurt them offensively this year, but Memphis was never a team built on their offensive prowess. The Grizzles are now the equivalent to an NFL team that relies heavily on its run game (points in the paint) and defense, and we’ve seen those type of teams do just fine. I’m not picking them to win the West, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they maintained their position as the 4/5 seed, won their opening playoff series, and gave an “elite” team (Spurs, Thunder, Clippers) all they wanted in the second round.
Derek James: I think they found away to strike a deal that helped them both shed some salary ($25-$30m, as Jared said.) and still stay competitive. Since they brought in the young pieces in Davis and Daye, it may limit their ceiling in the short-term, but gained some long-term flexibility as well as some, *gulp*, potential down the road, too.
2. What do you think about this deal for the Raptors? Is Gay a good enough centerpiece to justify what they gave up? How should they deal with their now very crowded wing rotation?
Jared Dubin: It really depends on what they plan to do with Gay. Is he going to play strictly the 3, where their rotation is already crowded? Is he going to play some small-ball 4? Gay’s not a franchise centerpiece you can add to your lineup and just automatically contend, but he can be incredibly useful if put into a position to succeed. Something like a Lowry-Ross-DeRozan-Gay-Valanciunas lineup sounds really intriguing to me.
All that said, they’re clearly not done building this team yet. Andrea Bargnani is likely out the door whenever they can find a willing suitor, and presumably there will be some answers within the wing rotation as well. Whether or not Bryan Colangelo is the right guy to finish building the roster is another story, but it’s hard to really judge this deal until we see what Toronto does next.
Noam Schiller: Ugh. This is gross. Calderon had to go, because Kyle Lowry is better and Dwane Casey wasn’t acknowledging it; that said, did it really have to come in a deal that costs one of Toronto’s best young players in Davis and compromises the minutes and touches of two others in DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross? Apologies to Hamed Haddadi, but the Raptors are still sorely lacking inside, depend on a combination of Lowry and inefficient wings to create their offense, and – incredibly – are in line to pay the luxury tax next season (at least until the inevitable Linas Kleiza amnesty).
Sean Highkin: I have mixed feelings about how the Raptors did here. On the plus side, trading Calderon puts an end to their point-guard tensions, as well as the idea that they were talking about trading Kyle Lowry instead of him, which was just insanity. But on the downside, Gay and DeRozan seem pretty redundant to me, and Bryan Colangelo is committing almost $30 million per year to the two of them…while they have Terrence Ross on a rookie contract. I’ll be interested to see how a Lowry/Ross/DeRozan/Gay/Valanciunas lineup looks when Jonas comes back, but this feels like a lateral move for Toronto.
Brian Schroeder: On the other hand, I’m not sure I understand the rationale behind this for Toronto. They’re supplementing the poor contract of DeMar DeRozan with another less than ideal contract, and for a player who’s ultimately an evolutionary version of DeMar. I understand Gay and Lowry are close, and it’ll certainly clear things up in the point guard rotation, but I feel like they could have gotten a big man in exchange for Jose (Haddadi aside, more on that later).
Amin Vafa: WHY WOULD YOU EVER TRADE HADDADI?
Kyle Soppe: As a Raptors fan, I very much welcome this move. Toronto is a team that rarely makes the big move, so from a PR perspective alone, this move was a step in the right direction. As far as an on the court impact, the Raptors are now loaded with athleticism, which isn’t a bad problem to have. Kyle Lowry (26 years old) is a legitimate point guard of the future, while the front line is loaded with upside. Is it a little crowded? Sure. But athletic wing players are always in demand, so it sets them up to potentially make another move. Even if they can’t make another move, I believe a healthy Lowry/Bargnani can spread the floor enough to make a Gay/DeRozan/Ross effective. As a realist, I don’t think this move allows Toronto to sneak into the playoffs this season, but their first playoff berth since 2008 seems likely next season.
Derek James: It’s not the worst thing that they gave up what they did for Gay since they weren’t going to win a title or anything, anyway. Still, I want to know just how far they think a core of Jonas-Lowry-Gay-DeRozan will take them. I mean, it could still get them to the fringe of the playoffs or as a surprise low seed, but they won’t get far with it. It kinda seems like Bryan Colangelo just built a bridge to mediocre town.
3. What do you think about this deal for the Pistons? Can Jose Calderon give them a playoff push at the surprisingly wide open bottom of the East? How will he impact Andre Drummond’s development?
Jared Dubin: If Lawrence Frank doesn’t start Calderon, move Brandon Knight to the bench to fulfill has manifest destiny as a scoring guard, and unleash Andre Drummond to run screen-and-roll after screen-and-roll with Jose, I give up on him forever.
Noam Schiller: I really like this for Detroit. The guard rotation makes much more sense now – Brandon Knight can start off ball, Rodney Stuckey gets his pre-destined 3rd guard role, and Will Bynum can be unleashed whenever he’s feeling it and hidden in a glass jar for emergencies when not. And the alley-oops – oh lord, the alley-oops! I’m excited about this Pistons team now, even if their small forward rotation might legitimately feature Corey Maggette.
Sean Highkin: This trade is a huge win for the Pistons. They got out of Prince’s contract (which I never understood them giving him in the first place), and they got the best available pick-and-roll partner for Andre Drummond. I wonder if they can find a taker for Jason Maxiell in the next three weeks, just to force Lawrence Frank’s hand in playing the Monroe/Drummond duo.
Brian Schroeder: The Pistons did nothing but improve with this trade. They’re more than a factor in the East playoff race (such as it is), and Jose Calderon will only help players like Drummond, Jerebko (who’s now a small forward, as he always should have been) and Monroe. Brandon Knight is probably not an ideal point guard, but playing next to Calderon, maybe in a bench role? He’s going to be very useful.
Amin Vafa: HOW COULD YOU PLAY HAMED HADDADI LIKE THAT, JOHN HOLLINGER?
Kyle Soppe: I like the move as far as the franchise is concerned, but I do not think they can wriggle their way into postseason play this year. The Pistons would need to jump over Boston/Philly and hold of the Raptors to make the postseason, and with only half of a season remaining, that is a lot to ask from a team that currently sits at 17-28. That being said, the addition of Calderon is a perfect fit for the current Pistons squad. His elite decision making (at one point he had 45 assists without a turnover during a six game stretch) should help the development of Brandon Knight (who had 31 points and 0 assists on Sunday) and Andre Drummond. The Pistons are a strong team of young talent, and the veteran point guard should fit in nicely. The other teams probably received more NBA talent, but the Pistons made a savvy move here, and will reap the benefits via accelerated player development.
Derek James: I like Calderon and what he can potentially bring. I imagine that with Brandon Knight also on the roster this means a lot more off-guard for Rodney Stuckey, but gives them another player capable of handling the ball at any given time. This also likely benefits Greg Monroe’s development, not just Drummond’s. A good point just makes all of his teammates better.
4. Which of the three teams is the biggest winner? Biggest loser?
Jared Dubin: Memphis is the clear winner, turning Gay into huge cap savings and a potential stud in Davis, while not getting much worse – if at all – in the short term by flipping Calderon for Prince and the other pieces. Toronto’s the big loser until we see what they do next, and with their crowded cap situation (they owe nearly $45 million to Gay, DeRozan, Landry Fields and Amir Johnson in 2014-15), they may be the loser no matter what they do anyway.
Noam Schiller: The Grizzlies. They’re deeper, slightly more balanced (though they still lack a second perimeter creator), and should have ample room to re-sign Tony Allen in the summer without venturing back into the luxury tax. I’m shocked that they pulled this off. As for the Raptors… sigh.
Sean Highkin: Detroit is the biggest winner, from the standpoint of finally cutting ties with the last remaining member of the ’04 title team and committing to a fresh start. The Rajon Rondo injury means the Celtics’ playoff spot is up for grabs, and this trade sends a clear message that the Pistons are going all-in for it. Toronto is the biggest loser, because even though Gay is a great talent who gets a bad rap for his contract, their wing rotation (and payroll) is kind of clogged now. I’d feel better about it if they were looking into shopping DeRozan elsewhere, but that doesn’t seem to be the case right now.
Brian Schroeder: I have to agree with Detroit being the biggest winner, clearing out the last vestiges of the “dynasty” team and getting younger in the process. Tayshaun was an institution there, but it was becoming painfully apparent that Joe Dumars thought he was a lot better than he was. Also, Jose Calderon is really good.
Amin Vafa: THIS BETTER NOT MESS UP HADDADI’S VISA STATUS. IT WOULD NOT BE COOL IF HE HAD TO GO BACK TO IRAN.
Kyle Soppe: I’ll show some faith in the Raptors organization and say they figure out how to maximize the production they receiver from their abundance of athletic swingmen. I think they are the only team who clearly increased their talent level, thus making them the best bet to “win” this trade. Of course, the Grizzles cut salary, which has long term value, but for this season, the Raptors gained the most. As far as a loser is concerned, I don’t believe there is one. The Pistons added a veteran who will help improve their young pieces and Memphis shed a contract that they had to. This is the rare 3 team deal that filled needs for everyone involved without changing their 2012-2013 outlook a whole lot.
Derek James: In order I like this most for Memphis, Detroit, and then Toronto. I’m not crazy about it now for the Raptors, but we’ll see how this plays out and if they make other moves, like Bargs.
5. Which player is the biggest winner in the deal? Biggest loser?
Jared Dubin: Drummond is the big winner. Seriously, just let the dude pick-and-rolls with Calderon til he drops dead. Big loser in the short term is Ed Davis, who goes from finally getting a starting gig to a war for the 3rd/4th spots in Memphis’ big man rotation. Long term, he gets to learn from ZBo and Gasol and be on what looks like a playoff team for at least the next few seasons, though, and that ain’t too bad. I guess Rudy Gay loses too, as he goes from Memphis to an afterthought Toronto squad.
Noam Schiller: I love this for Drummond. If you want to see the impact Calderon can have on a young big, look no further than Ed Davis, whose final Raptor half-season was a study case in just how dangerous an athletic big can be if he gets the ball where he can use it. Biggest loser is Terrence Ross, who just started getting consistent minutes and is now stuck behind a max-player who must be given everything he desires lest the franchise be exposed as a laughingstock.
Sean Highkin: Kyle Lowry is the clear winner of this trade. He doesn’t have to come off the bench anymore, and he’s probably off the trade block now. I’m not sure how thrilled Gay can be about going from Memphis, where he had a clear role without much competition, to Toronto, where there are two other athletic, shooting wings who are starting-caliber.
Brian Schroeder: Kyle Lowry, Jose Calderon and Austin Daye are all winners here, but I’m going to throw out Hamed Haddadi as a beneficiary. His per 36 numbers (11.8 points, 12.6 rebounds, 3.1 blocks for his career) are solid, and his lack of athleticism hardly a detriment on a team that plays Aaron Gray. Haddadi might be able to carve out something more than a garbage role for the Raptors. They could certainly use it. As for a loser? I have to go with Ed Davis, who went from a potential star in Toronto to a bench fixture in Memphis. I’m sure he won’t mind winning a few more games with his new team, but he’s now hovering around Derrick Favors territory, which is hardly the best position for a developing big man to find himself in.
Amin Vafa: Seriously, though, I hope Haddadi does stick in Toronto. Great city for an Iranian immigrant to North America.
Kyle Soppe: Kyle Lowry. He not only gets the backcourt in Toronto all to himself, he gets an improved front line to work with. If he can stay healthy, Lowry at 26 years of age could develop into an All Star caliber player sooner rather than later.
Derek James: I kinda wanna say Calderon, but I could see him embattled in another PG controversy down the road if Brandon Knight develops. Really, this is a good opportunity to bring Ed Davis along in a good lockerroom and also further his development. Ugh. That sounded like the “mentor” thing.