Less than a year after helping facilitate the trade of Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors, the Detroit Pistons have offered the Raptors the expiring contracts of Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva for Gay, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst.
The Pistons have been looking to make a big splash this offseason, as they have been courting top free agents Josh Smith and Andre Iguodala among others. Now Detroit is attempting to make waves on the trade market with its pursuit of Gay.
The Raptors acquired Gay as part of a three-way deal with the Pistons and Memphis Grizzlies last year, trading Ed Davis to the Grizzlies and Jose Calderon to the Pistons in the process. On the surface, it seems kind of crazy to turn around and deal Gay after less than a year, but he's owed over $17 million next year and has a player option for over $19 million in 2014-15.
While Gay is talented, he has really struggled with his efficiency over the past couple of years and has been a lightning rod for criticism. Furthermore, the Raptors also recently signed DeMar DeRozan to a long-term deal and have Terrence Ross on the wing as well, so they may want to develop those players instead of paying Gay all that money.
Because of these factors, new Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri has to be delighted that somebody's willing to take Gay off his hands. However, the combination of Stuckey and Villanueva is likely not enough, and Ujiri is sure to attempt to pry some draft picks away from the Pistons in exchange for taking on those expiring deals.
Trading for Gay does make some sense for the Pistons, as Stuckey and Villanueva are not in the team's future plans and combine to make about $16.5 million, making the trade close to salary neutral. This means Detroit would still have all its cap space available and could then make a run at another big-name player.
Gay could bring some excitement to Detroit with his scoring ability, but there's also the question of fit. The Pistons have two talented young big men in Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, and with Gay being so ball-dominant, there could be some issues. But if things worked out and Gay returned to his form from a few years ago, perhaps the Pistons could make a run to the playoffs.
One final thing that must be noted is that the Pistons don't have a 2014 first-round pick, having traded it to the Charlotte Bobcats. This could have an effect on how both teams pursue this possible trade. For Detroit, it has no incentive to be bad this year and have a chance at a top pick in a loaded draft, so it might as well try and make a playoff run. For Toronto, perhaps not having a chance at getting one of those coveted 2014 first-round picks sways it away from a deal.
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