The Sacramento Kings acquired Rudy Gay in what looks like a fairly bizarre deal on the surface. The Kings, whom aren't really going anywhere, made a win now move for a player who won't actually help them win.
Meanwhile, the Raptors unloaded Gay's contract just a year after acquiring him. Given the Raptors really didn't give up much to acquire Gay, unloading him doesn't look so bad as a change of direction move. However, you have to wonder what the Kings are thinking. Here's how the finances break down.
|Kings||Quincy Acy||788,872||915,243 (ng)|
|Raptors||John Salmons||7,583,000||7,000,000 (ng)|
Interestingly, the Kings are taking back more money this season as well as getting hosed in salary next season. I wonder if the Raptors had to send three million in cash to cover some extra salary. If I were the Kings, I'd demand it. Of course, if I were the Kings I'd laugh at this trade offer.
However, getting past the two teams Bulls fans don't really care about, the real question is what does this say about setting the trade market in terms of value?
I would have put Rudy Gay's value at similar to Carlos Boozer's. Probably even worse. He was owed quite a bit more money next season than Boozer, he plays a less valuable position, and his efficiency is even worse. I was shocked the Raptors were able to unload him.
I would have put Deng's value considerably higher than Gay's, though I can see why a team like the Kings would prefer Gay to Boozer because he's locked in for one additional year rather than viewing that as a negative [at least if you like Rudy Gay for some reason you might think the extra season is a positive].
The trade gives me some indication the Bulls could unload Boozer for expiring contracts. A move which might indicate they intend to keep Luol Deng around on a new contract. Contrary to popular opinion, the Bulls can't generate notable cap room even if they let Deng walk and amnesty Boozer. However, they'll likely look to move under the repeater tax and need to move at least one of them to do so.
Moving Deng is easy (simply do nothing and he's gone next season) while moving Boozer would seem more challenging. The Bulls could amnesty him, but they'd still likely be on the hook for at least 10 million of his actual salary next season which offsets that cash savings.
The fact that a team like the Kings were willing to trade for Gay reminds me that idiocy still exists in the GM ranks around the league, and the Chicago Bulls need to search it out and send our unwanted players there.
In a perfect world, the Bulls trade Deng for a 2014 mid round first and a little bit of salary relief, dump Boozer for expirings, and move Hinrich to a team with a trade exception for a 2nd round pick. Not only would they maximize their odds of a good draft pick this season without losing any assets that will be around in the future, but they'd also have a shot at getting under the luxury tax meaning they could pay later without a repeater penalty.
I expect the Bulls to take the more conservative route and keep everyone around and hope for a playoff run. I know Derrick Rose's comments will excite some hope of such a run for the fans, but quite frankly, Rose was playing pretty damn poorly when he got hurt. Even if he returned in April, the Bulls aren't going anywhere behind him unless he returned radically better than he was when injured which seems incredibly unlikely.
In the end, all we can do is wait. More trade opportunities will open up on Dec 15th when players signed this season become eligible for trades.