Deal for Rudy Gay?

Deal for Rudy Gay?

This link isn't for a rumor, but for an idea of moving Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott to Sacramento for Rudy Gay.

Acquiring Rudy Gay might actually be the move we've all been referring to when using the term "trading for a wing" given how he, on paper at least, should fit in well under Fred Hoiberg and the cast of players currently present on the Bulls.

Now, Gay has been known as a chucker for years, but his career TS% of .530 isn't much below league average, and over the course of the last two seasons he's actually been above it. His 123-game tenure with Sacramento even saw him post it at .561 which would have ranked third on the Bulls last season. It seems that Gay is actually a lot better as the guy feeding off a star, than be the leading man himself. In Chicago, he'd be the second or third offensive option, depending on where Derrick Rose will position himself. Hell, you could even make Gay play off of Pau Gasol once in a while when the others sit, consistently creating circumstances in which it wouldn't be a necessity for Gay to be the primary scorer.

But that, of course, would be under the idea that Gibson and McDermott would be enough of a package for Sacramento. It very likely wouldn't be. Gay was a 21/6 player last year who even dialed up his assist numbers to the tune of 3.7, making him somewhat of a surprising all-around player. Given that his defensive interest can move anywhere from uninterested to highly intense, you're looking at a situation where you'd need to gamble on that side of the ball. If he likes Chicago, and fits in well offensively, there's a larger chance for defensive devotion on his part.

Realistically, what should the deal be?

You're probably looking at the aforementioned Gibson and McDermott, but with Tony Snell thrown in there as well as a draft pick of some sort. The Kings would undoubtedly request their pick back, but since that could actually become the 11th pick in the 2016 draft, you could argue that the Kings would have to choose between that or Snell and a future Top 20 protected pick, which could have a good chance of actually being converted to Sacramento.

Assuming that, you're looking at a team consisting of Rose, Butler, Gay, Mirotic, Gasol, Noah, Dunleavy, Brooks, Portis, Moore, Bairtstow, and Hinrich. That's five bigs, four wings, and three lead guards. More importantly, Gay becomes a solid known, as opposed to Snell and McDermott who are years from reaching his level, and likely will never achieve it.

In short, the Bulls sacrifice potential and some depth for quality.

In adding Gay, the Bulls would get yet another guy who can force himself to the line (5.8 attempts a game) and shoot a high percentage from there (85.8%), thus further increasing their already impressive free throw shooting from a year ago where they ranked third in makes, fourth in attempts, and third in percentage. A line-up of Rose, Butler, Gay, Mirotic, and Gasol would be impossible to foul late in games, and they'd generate a ridiculous amount of points every night just by getting fouled.

Additionally, Gay has begun choosing his shots a lot better in recent years. While he's always been a slasher of nature, Gay began moving slightly further away from the hoop to make room for DeMarcus Cousins, and it seemed to benefit him greatly. It was the first year of his career in which he took less than 20% of his shots from within three feet, thus making him less predictable when on the ball. He was still deadly around the rim, converting on 62.9% of his shots, but 27.2% of his shots came from the 3-10 feet area, and there's a "sophomore Rose"-esque quality to his game, where he attacks from the outside and in, but understands that an open shot from seven feet is better than a contested one at the rim in certain scenarios.

Coach Nick from BBallBreakdown took a look at Gay's 40-point outing against Portland last season, which shows the variety of how Gay scores close to the hoop. He posts up, uses screens to get into the paint, moves without the ball, and utilizes mis-matches.

That sort of versatility would be a welcomed addition to the Bulls where Rose and Butler are more or less the only on-ball creators, unless you want to include Aaron Brooks who can be night and day at creating his own. With three players able to score off their own dribble, and with all three of them capable of moving around off of it, the Bulls would no longer have to wait around for Dunleavy to clear multiple screens, as to present them with a third option. Here, teams would understand immediately that Gay can score in many different ways, and play him close right from the get-go. The same ideology would be applied to Butler and Rose, leaving plenty of space for both Mirotic and Gasol to operate.

Assuming we build on Mark Karantzoulis' two pieces concerning Gasol's role, let me ask a question: With Butler and Gay lurking around the perimeter, would any defender dare letting Derrick Rose go to the hoop in a Rose/Gasol pick and pop, where Rose could just pass it out for when the defense collapses? Probably not. This means the superior choice in the eyes of a defense will be letting Gasol get that open 15 to 17-foot look so they can double on Rose's penetration. With Gasol hitting that baby at an elite level, and this time around would get that shot with more space, we could be looking at Gasol shooting at a 50% clip from that area, making it virtually impossible for defenses to choose right. You could even use Butler or Gay as the ball-handler, which would be additionally terrifying given their size and strength.

... And I didn't mention Mirotic yet.

Of the five players in that group, who will be the guy mostly left alone? The second-year stretch-four, obviously, and this is beautiful for at least two reasons:

1. Mirotic is perfectly capable of attacking off the dribble himself, as well as he is spotting up when receiving the kick-out. With space comes options, and Mirotic did well at reading those options and reacting to them (pump-faking notwithstanding). Teams would try to rush out to contest shots against him, and this is where his pump-faking might become an asset, as he could force defenders to fly into him, or go straight by them when they've left the ground. At 6'10 and cat-quick for someone his size, Mirotic can utilize driving lanes, even when starting from the three-point line. Reading his drive, Butler and Gay could move out further, as to provide Mirotic with more space.

Rinse, repeat.

2. As Mirotic develops, his shot is most likely to follow suit. With defenders draped all over Rose, Gay, Butler, and Gasol, a simple extra pass finding its way to Mirotic could become a ridiculously high-percentage shot if he's left with space. Pick and rolls aren't always the end-goal, but rather the beginning of a process of going into other sets. With Gasol working as the primary screen-setter, and all three of Rose, Butler, and Gay taking turns on the ball, you're going to have two of them moving around off of it at all times. There's no way teams are letting Butler move to the corners where he shot 44.7% last season, just as teams aren't likely to let Gay set up camp at the elbow so he can initialize a post-play, or let Rose lurk around the baseline where he can get his floater off. Therefore, as Rose, Butler, and Gay move around (depending on who isn't being the ball-handler), defenses are going to scramble. It's in that confusion Mirotic must take advantage. If his man is stuck on him at all times, Mirotic automatically buys the Bulls driving lanes. That, however, seems unlikely, especially if Gay camps out at the elbow on the side Mirotic is located. Niko's man will likely go to double on Gay after the catch, and from there, it's a simple quick pass out to Mirotic, who will have all day to get the jumper off.

Any sort of Rudy Gay acquisition would present Chicago with a myriad of options offensively, even if it does leave them with a somewhat untested bench. Thankfully, Gay is able to handle big minutes, and you could effectively make sure that two of Rose, Butler, and Gay share the floor at all times, eliminating all-bench line-ups.

You'd also lose the security of Taj Gibson, which is nothing to sneeze at. Gibson has routinely closed games for the Bulls over his six seasons in Chicago, and losing that two-way aspect is certainly not inspiring. You'd almost have to force Bobby Portis into playing big minutes, even if he might not be completely ready, to make sure you have a big who isn't entirely offensive inept, whom you can pair with Joakim Noah.

So yes, there is a trade-off. But the gain in offensively flexibility should outweigh it.


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  • I also wanted to repost this picture that I came across yesterday.

    They say a picture is worth 1000 words, this one is worth a million when best explaining the central failure of the past season, as well as the biggest decision that Hoiberg faces this upcoming season.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    That picture is hilarious, but that's how they really look when playing

  • Great article, I've been on the Rudy Gay beat for over a year now, since sometime after he signed his new deal for "only" 3yrs/$40 million, starting this year I believe. That deal looks exponentially better in light of the exploding cap which wasn't a given back when he signed his extension.

    The big problem with this deal is that Sacto really should not have any desire to trade Gay, especially with the new financial reality. Also, where there was an argument to be made that they had a "need" for Taj prior to this summer, they now appear well staffed up front with the additions of Cauley-Stein and Koufos. These moves appear to have been made because Cousins wants to move to PF, again negating any need for Taj. Would they go for McDNP, Snell and their pick back? Does how they start off this season have any bearing on their desire to even consider a Gay trade?

    One thing that you didn't mention about Gay is that he is also nearly the perfect type of SF to switch to PF in small ball lineups with his combination of size and athletic ability. So not only does he displace Dunleavy as the starting SF he also replaces Taj as the backup PF.

    While you make a great argument for an "offensive" starting lineup featuring Gasol at center, having Gay might add even more fuel to the argument for starting Noah at center, as somebody besides Butler has to play defense for the starting unit.

    I would trade any of the assets that you mentioned, however, all of them would seem like an awful lot. However, that may be what it would take to get Sacto to trade a guy who they appear to need every bit as much as we do.

    After we get Gay, the only thing left would be to steal Isaiah Thomas from the Celtics as our Vinnie the microwave bench scoring machine.

  • It might be great, so it probably won't happen.

    But what else is better to dig into at the moment? It's fun to play with these ideas.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    makes too much sense therefore the front office has no interest. They(the front office) has too much pride in admiting that McDermott is a bust and not the future small forward they were banking on. It's still too early but its not looking too good. Rudy Gay would make the Bulls a serious contender, right up there with GS, Lebron and San Antonio.

  • This is the exact type of deal that GarPax needs to make and the exact type of deal that they never make. Some are stupid enough to say “they don’t care as long as the team makes money” and some, even stupider, say “they don’t understand that the team has deficiencies” or “they’re too proud to admit mistakes to move forward.”

    They watch the games. Paxson knows that’s it’s all about championships, that’s what he played for in his career. Even Reinsdorf knows it’s the championships that made him rich far beyond the cost of attaining them. They want to win. They know what’s up better than any of us here. They know the team is deficient at SF. They want to do something about it.

    Knowing and doing, though, are very different, and their inability to execute in addressing the team’s deficiencies leaves fans thinking they don’t know or don’t care or both. I think they know and care, but there’s just some lack of charisma in these guys, some reason that other teams don’t want to trade with them, some reason teams under-value Bulls assets and over-value their own assets when dealing with the Bulls but not when dealing with other teams. Even though Paxson wanted to trade for Garnett and later for Gasol, both players ended up being traded for less than the Bulls were offering, from what I understand. It’s not complacency or stupidity, just some level of incompetence that frustrated fans mistake for complacency and/or stupidity.

    In this case, I agree with BigWay. Sacto has reasons not to do it, so they won’t. Many Bulls fans consider Taj a near-indispensable asset, a legit 2-way starting PF, yet there doesn’t appear to be a team in the league that sees Taj as the upgrade at starting PF that it needs, worth parting with an asset to get. I’ve written time and again that Taj needs to go because the frontcourt is over-crowded, but I’ve also written that I wouldn’t expect to get much of anything back for him, not with this FO, and I stick with it. This Gay trade is a very nice idea but will very likely never happen.

  • If the Bulls are serious about competing and they have a shot at Gay they should take it. He's the piece we're missing and I actually think he would be a better fit than Carmelo Anthony would've been. We have more than enough pieces to get a deal done and as far as I'm concerned everyone on this team is expendable except for Butler, Rose, and Niko.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    I would make that everyone is expendable - for the right price!

    However, some do feel that Gay would not be such a great fit in Chicago. Let's wait until midseason and see how McDermott and Snell are doing. If both of them do OK as SF backups, then maybe the position is good enough.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I'm hoping just like everyone else that Snell and McD don't turn out to be busts, but at least with Gay you know what your getting. I think that's the biggest difference between the Bulls and the Spurs. The Spurs see an opportunity and they go for it and they also fill out their roster with veteran players that know how to play the game. Their not afraid to give up potential for a quality player. With the Bulls they rely too heavily on the potential of their picks, often holding onto them longer than necessary even when it's obvious things may not work out. Obviously we've had some good picks over the years and some of them are still on the Bulls even now, around 10 years for Hinrich. But when a deal is out there that makes sense sometimes you have to take a risk if for nothing else to move the needle.

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