The Toronto Raptors and Sacramento Kings finalized a seven-player trade on Monday that both teams hope will be the key to turning around their long-struggling clubs.
The Kings will receive Rudy Gay, the Raptors’ second-leading scorer, along with reserves Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy, in exchange for Venezuelan point guard Greivis Vasquez and forwards Patrick Patterson, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes.
It was the second major move for Sacramento this season as they begin rebuilding under new owner Vivek Ranadive. The Kings also sent Luc Mbah a Moute to Minnesota for Derrick Williams on Nov. 26.
For the Raptors, parting ways with Gay gives them future financial flexibility. Gay is making US$17.8 million this season and holds a US$19.3 million player option for the 2014-2015 season, which he is widely expected to exercise.
It is just the kind of financial risk Ranadive, an India-born software mogul, has said he is willing to take to try to turn the Kings into a winner.
“We need players here in Sacramento and that’s just the bottom line,” said general manager Pete D’Alessandro, who praised the owner’s financial backing on the trade. “We’ve had a lot of really good backups for a long time and now we are acquiring starters. That’s the first step.”
Sacramento has a 6-13 record and had lost six straight until beating Utah and Dallas in back-to-back games. The Kings are hoping Gay can provide immediate help while building around him and DeMarcus Cousins, who received a four-year, US$62 million extension before the season.
Gay, who was traded from Memphis to Toronto last season, is in his eighth NBA season. He has averaged 18 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists in his career, but is shooting 38.8 percent this season, the lowest of his career.
The trade is also the biggest for first-year Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri. Toronto (7-12) had lost five straight before beating the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.