I hate being away from Basketball Twitter when trades go down. It's such a missed opportunity to see intense overreaction and self-preservation from people you're mildly interested in on the internet. You get a different kind of that at the NBA Draft -- at least then, you're prepared for your team to make a pick. I remember where I was when the Sixers traded for Chris Webber (living room, boxers) or Andrew Bynum (Ralph's grocery store, left groceries in car) or signed Kwame Brown (shaving, Tanner on my couch). All varying levels of hysteria that came out of nowhere.
Anyway, I missed the Rudy Gay trade when it happened. The rest of Twitter did not. I don't think this is quite as bad a trade for the Kings as most other people do. They got the best player while giving up only cap space next offseason and not much in the talent department (shhhh, Greivis). Really, who was going to sign with Sacramento anyway? That being said, a Danny Ferry-esque move from Masai Ujiri getting out from under that Gay contract only a few months after shedding Andrea Bargnani. Smart dudes north of the border.
Even though Rudy Gay is bad as a package -- contract, usage, efficiency -- he is not a bad basketball player. In a different role, perhaps, he can be useful. I think such will be the case in Sacramento. It looks like they'll run a lineup of Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay, Derrick Williams, and DeMarcus Cousins, which is dumb fun for the whole family. That could open things up for a Jimmer Fredette trade (which I'd love), since Marcus Thornton is still kind of just sitting there behind McLemore. And I love Quincy Acy, obviously. Hello, Johnny Salmons.
While I don't think this moves the needle for Sacramento's future -- Gay's contract will expire after next season and they'll go from there -- I do think it'll make them betterish in the short term. At least more betterish than the Sixers for tanking purposes.
The Raptors, meanwhile, get to play the abandoned Number Munchers game "Addition By Subtraction." More shots for Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson and Terrence Ross and even, hey, DeMar Derozan, is a good thing. They also get a legit backup guard in Vasquez. And Patrick Patterson is a nice fellow.
I doubt this means it's a total FIRE!..... sale in Toronto. We'll see if more moves happen, but I think there's too much talent on that team for them to truly tank. Plus, it'd be cool to have the Raptors back in the playoffs, right? They beat Kobe last night! Excellent.
So you can knock off two teams that could have potentially been worse than the Sixers. Toronto, if they kept letting Rudy Gay take a thousand terrible shots, and Sacramento, who, bless their hearts, are trying to win this year. I'm still not worried about the New York teams, so that leaves only Milwaukee, Orlando, and maybe Utah as teams I'm concerned about.
Less than a week until December 15th. Hinkie, your move.